Friend to Friend

From a personal interview by Janet Peterson with Bishop Glenn L. Pace, Second Counselor in the Presiding Bishopric

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    Bishop Glenn L. Pace

    Bishop Glenn L. Pace remembers from his childhood the mountains to the east of Provo, Utah, his hometown. “I fell in love with the mountains,” he said, “and haven’t gotten over it yet. As a child, I lived within a half mile of the base of the mountains and climbed them often. In fact, at age four I took off unannounced for a hike with a four-year-old friend. I was gone for two or three hours, and my parents couldn’t find me. They called the police, and many people started looking for me. It so happened that someone asked my parents, ‘Do you know where your son is? I saw him and a friend partway up the mountain.’ When my parents found me, I had a rope in my hand because I was planning to catch a bear.”

    As a boy, Bishop Pace had a bad ear problem for years. The doctors worried that he would eventually be deaf because infection kept building up in his ears. “Finally,” he said, “I was administered to, and within a few days the infection was gone and there were no scars. That was my first personal experience with the priesthood.

    “A miraculous, but longer-term, experience happened on a trip to see the old Church museum in Salt Lake City. I thought it was neat to see a lock of Joseph Smith’s hair and the mummies, but afterward, when Mother and Dad went shopping, I chose to stay in the car. I was sitting there kind of bored and happened to see some pamphlets we’d picked up on Temple Square. One of them was the Joseph Smith story. I didn’t have anything to do, so I picked it up and read it. It was a wonderful experience. I had heard the Joseph Smith story before at home and at Primary, and I had believed it. But as I sat there in the car alone and read it, I had a spiritual experience as powerful as any I’ve had as an adult. The Spirit testified to me that what Joseph Smith was telling was true, and I had a greater love for Joseph. I wished that I had lived when Joseph Smith lived because I wanted to help him. I wouldn’t have apostatized, as some of his friends did.

    “For most of my life I wished I had lived during Joseph Smith’s earthly life. Then, when I read the History of the Church completely through about ten years ago, the Spirit touched me again. I said to myself, ‘Glenn, if the Lord had wanted you to be alive when Joseph Smith was a prophet, that’s when you would have been alive. You were sent here now. If you aren’t valiant in defending the truth and the gospel now, you would not have been as valiant as you think you would have been with Joseph.’ I do have a testimony that we are all brought forth when we are for a reason.”

    Bishop Pace relates that he had a special relationship with his Grandma and Grandpa Pace, who lived in the little town of Hoytsville in Summit County. “I spent two or three weeks a year on the farm with them from the time I was five or six years old. By the time I was eleven or twelve, I was spending most of the summer there. I spent my thirteenth through sixteenth summers working for my uncle but living at Grandma and Grandpa’s. My grandfather had a great sense of humor, and he was a tease. I loved to be around him, and I would walk with him, holding hands, to get the cows.

    “The last year that he lived, he took me into the living room and showed me a picture that had appeared in the Church News. The picture showed him and Grandma and their eleven children with their spouses in front of the Salt Lake Temple. They had all gone through a temple session together for my grandparent’s fiftieth wedding anniversary. Before the session had begun, a temple worker had introduced my grandfather to the rest of the people who were there. This had been the happiest day of Grandpa’s life. Seeing how happy it made him to have everyone together in the temple helped me to see how important temple work is.

    “I’ve thought a lot about my childhood, and I’m amazed at how much I do remember. I remember ‘Little Purple Pansies’ and ‘Give Said the Little Stream,’ and many other Primary songs. When I became a General Authority, I remembered memorizing the Articles of Faith in Primary and learning what they mean. I remember memorizing the names of the Quorum of the Twelve, when they were born, and when each became an Apostle.

    “Realize how important Primary is. You don’t need to wait to gain a testimony until you are older. By praying to Heavenly Father, you can have experiences now that will be as powerful as experiences that you will have as an adult; in some cases, they may be more powerful because you are humble and teachable and pure.

    “Don’t underestimate how important the present is; enjoy and love your life now. Don’t wish it away until you are a teenager. Listen to your teachers.

    “I love children. I can really understand what the Lord meant when He said to become as little children:

    “‘And Jesus called a little child unto him, and set him in the midst of them,

    “‘And said, Verily I say unto you, Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven.

    “‘Whosoever therefore shall humble himself as this little child, the same is greatest in the kingdom of heaven.’” (Matt. 18:2–4.)