Friend to Friend

From a personal interview by Joleen Meredith with the children of a General Authority.

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    “My father is a Tom Sawyer-type person; he recruits people. One day his mother asked him where he was going. He said, ‘I’m going to make a new friend.’ That’s just how he is—he loves people!”

    “Dad is creative in many ways. He’s a good cake decorator and he decorates our birthday cakes with baseballs, clowns, or whatever the occasion calls for. He also designs our Christmas cards each year and enjoys drawing cartoons. Sometimes he helps me write clever, anonymous letters to my friends just for fun.”

    “He not only enjoys being creative himself, but he appreciates all art. He has collected most of the beautiful art pieces in our living room.”

    “One of his favorite subjects is that of being a good neighbor and friend to people. When he was younger he was particularly kind to a girl who was especially sad. Later the girl told him she had anticipated taking her own life; but since Dad had been so kind to her, she had decided life seemed worthwhile after all. He likes people and likes to help them.” His wife added that he is always pleasant and willing to help even if someone calls him in the middle of the night.

    “When Dad works he never stops until a job is done. On Saturday when we work together in the yard, we’re often there the entire day. Sometimes we ask, ‘Dad, can we sleep in tomorrow morning?’

    “‘Yes,’ he replies, ‘until 7:00 A.M.’”

    “While he was mission president in Pennsylvania, he encouraged the missionaries to work hard.”

    The wife of this General Authority invited me to see their rock wall—an attractive piece of work that bordered their backyard. She told me that as parents she and her husband believed in their children learning to work hard. This rock wall had been a family project, from which two merit badges were also earned.

    “Dad loves to make up wild tales,” a son said. “Many a priest quorum has been held spellbound by stories such as the one about the Bear Lake Monster.”

    “One of the best ways to describe my dad is to say he cares. He clips out articles and encourages us in our talents. The reason he makes us work at home is that he really cares, and he appreciates what we do.”

    “He believes in goal setting. His expectations for us are high. He expects us to get good grades in school; he expects us to follow through; he believes in the value of persistence; and he watches out for us because he’s interested in our progress.”

    “I don’t know anyone who reads more than Dad. He also helps people develop their qualities of leadership and motivates others to climb from the bottom to the top. He pulls things together and can organize a simplified program for a stake he’s visiting so that they can feel the joy of accomplishment in what they do and not be discouraged over what they can’t do.”

    The children’s mother stated that their father believes in obedience to the Lord. She related a story about one of the children who almost died at birth and how this General Authority promised the Lord that if the baby lived, he would always be grateful and obedient.

    The baby girl did live and was healthy, normal, and smart, and the father kept his promise.

    “Dad shows us his love in many ways. I remember one time when he couldn’t take me to a daddy-daughter party because he had to be out of town. He felt so sad that he took me out to dinner the next week to make up for it. I have a doll collection, and wherever he travels he tries to bring a doll back to me.”

    “Dad takes the time to talk to me. We come first with him.”

    Show References

    • This General Authority is Elder Hugh W. Pinnock of the First Quorum of the Seventy.