“Strengthen Thy Brethren”

(Adapted from an October 1972 general conference address. See Ensign, January 1973, pages 86–87.)
Therefore, strengthen your brethren in all your conversation, in all your prayers, in all your exhortations, and in all your doings. (D&C 108:7).
Elder Paul H. Dunn

Some time ago when my youngest daughter was faced with the reality of attending a different school, she looked forward to the new experience with the usual anxieties and concerns.

Before the long-awaited day arrived, a special evening was planned to help give her spiritual comfort and guidance. As she retired to her bed, seemingly all was well. But about an hour later she appeared at my study and said, “Dad, I don’t feel well.”

I went back and rested on the bed with her and gave what fatherly counsel I could to reassure her. Finally she fell asleep.

The next morning she appeared at breakfast and said, “Dad, I don’t think I had better go to school today.”

I said, “Why not?”

She said, “I think I am going to get sick.”

Somewhat reluctantly, she later agreed to have me drive her to school. As we got in front of the school building, tears started to come into her eyes. After we had gotten out of the car and walked about ten feet, she grabbed hold of my leg. She looked up at me and said, “Dad, if you really love me, don’t send me in there.”

I said, “Honey, this may be beyond your comprehension, but it’s because I do love you that I am taking you in there.”

Inside the building, she grabbed hold of my other leg and held on. Numerous students came and went, and suddenly the little miracle happened that changed everything: There came a delightful, wonderful friendshipper, a fellowshipper who knew how to lose herself in serving others, who would act upon the admonishment of the Savior to strengthen her friends. With the exuberance of youth, this little girl said, “Kellie, how are you?”


“Which is your homeroom?”

Kellie told her.

“Tremendous, I had that homeroom last year. Come on, I’ll take you to it.”

And before Kellie knew it, she had let go of my leg and walked about ten paces away. Then she realized what she had done. She looked back and said, “Oh, Dad, you can go now; I don’t need you anymore.”

Thank God for the little people as well as the big people who know how to friendship and fellowship.

[illustration] Illustrated by Phyllis Luch