Sharing the Gospel with Granny


(Adapted from an October 1991 conference address. See Ensign, November 1991, page 12.)
Sweet is the peace the gospel brings To seeking minds and true (Hymns, 1985, no. 14).

Archibald Stewart and his wife, Esther Lyle, are my great-great-grandparents. Archibald’s ancestors had been forced to flee from Scotland to Northern Ireland, where they had been promised protection. Instead, they again became victims of persecution.

Their love and devotion and deep religious faith made them receptive to the gospel. When the Mormon missionaries went to their house, Elizabeth, their third child, immediately felt the truthfulness of the gospel message. She began to study and search for more assurance for the things she felt within. She spent many hours telling Granny about the new prophet of God, Joseph Smith, who had brought back to earth the simple, direct message that Christ was alive and had appeared to man. Her feelings and study stirred a response in her old granny, who was the head of the Stewart household.

Elizabeth asked permission to be baptized, but because of the persecution, her parents objected. Then Granny came to her rescue: “Let the child alone. I have read all her books, and I do believe the child is right.”

As Elizabeth went to her baptism, Granny was at her side. They walked to the river, where the elders had broken a hole in the ice that wintry March day. When the elders came toward Elizabeth to baptize her, Granny stepped up and said, “Watch your manners, child; never step in front of your elders.”

The elders baptized Granny in her street clothes. She had brought no extra things to wear, so she had to walk home in her wet, frozen clothes. She said nothing about her baptism to the family but went about her usual tasks as if nothing had happened. After the others had gone to bed, she hung her clothing around the fireplace.

In the morning, when Archibald saw the clothes drying, he joked with the others about Granny having been “dipped” in the river along with Elizabeth. Granny listened to their fun, then said, “Archibald, if you don’t want people to hear, stop shouting so loudly. You can’t talk about Granny now, for she can hear better than any of you.”

Granny had been virtually deaf for twenty years, but not only had she not caught a cold in the icy river but her hearing had been miraculously restored. From that day until her death, she could hear distinctly.

Most of the other family members were soon baptized too.

[illustration] Illustrated by Larry Winborg