Friend to Friend


Elder Hugh W. Pinnock

“I was born in Salt Lake County and moved several times in my early years,” Elder Pinnock began. “During the Depression we lived in a very small apartment and later on with my mother’s parents. As a little boy I became acquainted with G. Homer Durham because he would come there visiting my uncle. Toward the beginning of World War II, when I was in kindergarten, we moved into our first house. We lived there for about seven years, then moved to a rural area where there were orchards, cows, and horses. We didn’t have carpeting or lawn or much furniture for a while, and I remember hoping that someday we would have those things.

“I had a little radish patch, and my first job was raising and selling radishes. Most people turned me down, but one kind lady always bought my radishes, though I’m sure she didn’t always need them. When I was about ten years old, I started mowing lawns. We had no power mowers back then, and many of the men in the neighborhood were in the War. So I went from door to door, and for twenty-five cents or a little more depending on how big the yard was, I mowed lawns. It seems as if I always had a business of some sort.

“I’m the oldest child in our family. I have a sister who is two years younger and a brother who is eight years younger than I am. Mother was on the General Board of the YWMIA for thirty-four years. They met in board meeting every Wednesday, and Mother would leave dinner for us. She always took good care of us, even though she couldn’t be with us. When she traveled, she sent us postcards. We always knew that she loved us, and we always knew that we, too, could serve in the Church and still be good parents because she had done it.

“Dad was my hero when I was growing up and my best friend when I became an adult. He was the ward clerk and the deacons quorum adviser. He taught us that we don’t need to receive credit from other people for what we do. To provide examples to us children, Dad would often talk about how businessmen were handling their affairs. He and Mother both taught us to be honest. And they both supported us by attending any athletic contest or event at school that we were in.

“My favorite babysitter was my grandaunt Bertha Irvine, my grandmother’s older sister. She was a personal secretary to Wilford Woodruff, Lorenzo Snow, Joseph F. Smith, Heber J. Grant, and George Albert Smith. Sometimes I went to her office in the Church Administration Building and sat at her feet while she worked. Or I would play outside and climb on the building and around its big pillars. We’ve had twelve prophets, and I’ve known and shaken hands with six of them. I never even dreamed that I would ever have an office in that very building, but I serve today with a number of men who knew Aunt Bertha well: President Kimball, President Benson, and President Hinckley. She worked with Elder Joseph Anderson for years in the office of our wonderful prophets.

“My experiences with Sunday School and Primary teachers were important to me as I was growing up. I remember the little red chairs we used to sit in and how church was always an exciting and pleasant place to go. I looked forward to summer Primary, when we would make things out of wood and out of paper. I loved that. As I think back and remember Sister Condie and Sister Anderson and Sister Barnes and some of the other lovely teachers I had, I can remember them more clearly than I can my school teachers. I won a copy of Huckleberry Finn because I had the best attendance record. I still have that book. I appreciate the teacher who gave it to me.

“I had a great experience when I graduated from Primary. Back in those days we each had a green bandalo. I had lost mine. I looked everywhere, including under my bed and through everything in the closet. Finally my mother said, ‘Why don’t you pray about it. Ask Heavenly Father to help you find it.’ So I went to my room and prayed. Even as I was praying, a voice seemed to say, ‘In the dresser, caught underneath the drawer.’ The dresser was in the hall because there wasn’t enough room in my tiny bedroom. When I pulled out the drawer and reached up inside, there it was, caught on a silver! That was the first direct answer to prayer that I can remember receiving. I was proud that I could wear my bandalo when I stood next to Bishop Rulon Sperry as he nominated me to graduate from Primary and to be ordained to the office of a deacon.

“Many summers my family went to Cedar City and stayed on my uncle’s farm. There was no electricity or water in the house, so we carried buckets of water into the house from outside. I experienced farm life as it really was in those days. Now my assignment is with the people in that very same area. It is special to go there—it’s like going home. Some of the people there remember my uncle and aunt and other families I knew.

“A special message that I give to all the children in the world is this: First, love Jesus. He especially loves children, and if children can learn to love Him, then when they are older, they will continue to love Him and understand Him. I think that little children sometimes understand Jesus better than older people do because children forgive so quickly and love so easily.

“Second, live the commandments. The people I know who are truly happy are those who live the commandments. Whatever Heavenly Father wants us to do—such as paying our tithing and going to church and being nice to our brothers and sisters and mothers and fathers—that’s what we should do.

“Third, obey Church leaders. When I was a Primary boy, my parents would always talk about our wonderful bishop, Bishop Sperry. When I was a deacon, my bishop was Rex C. Reeve, Sr., a man with whom I serve today. I have always loved those men. When I don’t have a Church assignment on Sunday, which isn’t very often, I attend my own ward. My bishop there is Ole Johnson, and I love him today just as I loved Bishop Sperry and Bishop Reeve when I was young. If we love our Church leaders and obey what they tell us to do, then we’ll never make serious mistakes.”