Messengers from the Prophet


Somewhat weary after a day’s work, I journeyed home, intent on recovering my spiritual breath. At home, I discovered that my wife, Marilyn, had gone to visit some of our children who lived in a city fifty miles away; she would be back later. Left to my own devices, I made a quick dinner and was just sitting down to eat when, through the window, I saw my home teachers coming up the walk. I opened the door and awkwardly greeted them, explaining that I was about to have a bite to eat. Could they come back in a few minutes? They cheerfully replied, “We tried to call for an appointment, George, but there was no answer. So we took a chance on finding you home. We’ll visit your neighbor and then come back.” I was relieved to see them retreat.

Half an hour later, Sven Jensen and his partner, L. D. Meyers, returned. After a few pleasant greetings, Sven smiled, opened the Ensign magazine, and said, “George, we would like to review with you an article written by President Benson.” Through my fatigue, I smiled. This sounded interesting. My enthusiasm waned, however, at his next statement: “We will go over each of his twelve points on how to overcome depression.” (See Ensign, Oct. 1986, p. 2.) I realized I was going to be there for quite a while.

“Number one,” Sven said in his Danish English. Then he paused and looked up from his text into my eyes. At that instant we exchanged a wonderful, yet silent, communication. My mind wandered, briefly, to the multitude of times I had met this faithful man at church. Sven would seek me out, shake my hand, and say (I wish I could write it with his Danish accent), “George, do you still know the gospel’s true?” Knowing the question was coming, I’d stand as straight and tall as I could and reply with all the dignity I could muster, “Yes, Sven, I know with all my heart that the gospel is true.”

He would chuckle as he seemed to look into my soul and say, “That’s good, George.”

As Sven began covering point number one on how to overcome depression, he explained, “First, George, if you’re depressed you have to repent.”

Then he asked, “Why is it we have to repent?” I said, “Well, I remember the Book of Mormon says that ‘despair cometh because of iniquity.’” (Moro. 10:22.)

As Sven made each point, he looked up from the words and right at me, saying something such as, “This one fits you, George.” He was constantly making me feel good about myself with sincere compliments. As he got to point ten, I found myself no longer wanting him to finish. There was a comforting spirit in the room.

After Sven made the twelfth point, he closed the magazine and smiled at me. “What do you think of that, George?” I could scarcely speak. What I thought—what it seemed like—was that President Ezra Taft Benson had just come to my home and visited me. But because he couldn’t come himself, he had sent a special messenger to represent him. I knew I had heard the words of my prophet spoken in a wonderful Danish accent through the mouth of my home teacher, and I knew the message had touched my heart.

Later, as we walked toward the front door, Sven sensed that something had happened during the visit, and his eyes were moist as we shook hands. Then my home teachers were gone, but their message was still with me. I had been a little depressed when they came, but not now. Now I had caught my spiritual breath and was ready to return to my duty.

Later that night, I decided there was a thirteenth way to overcome depression—and that was to have home teachers come to love, teach, and bless you.

[illustration] Illustrated by Cary Henrie

George D. Durrant, president of the Missionary Training Center in Provo, Utah, is a member of the Park Ward in the Provo Utah Central Stake.