Come Listen to a Prophet’s Voice

Reach Out to Others

From a devotional address given at Brigham Young University on November 13, 2007.

President Thomas S. Monson
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President Monson teaches that we can be happy when we reach out to others.

To find real happiness, we must focus outside ourselves. Many have come into the Church—or at least have come to know and respect the Church—because someone made the effort to reach outward. I share with you a treasured family experience which had its beginning back in 1959, when I was called to preside over the Canadian Mission in Toronto.

Our daughter, Ann, turned five shortly after we arrived in Canada. She saw the missionaries going about their work, and she too wanted to be a missionary. My wife demonstrated understanding by permitting Ann to take to class a few copies of the Children’s Friend [now called the Friend]. That wasn’t sufficient for Ann. She also wanted to take with her a copy of the Book of Mormon so that she might talk to her teacher, Miss Pepper, about the Church.

Just a few years ago, long years after our return from Toronto, we came home from a vacation and found in our mailbox a note from Miss Pepper which read:

Dear Ann:

Think back many years ago. I was your schoolteacher in Toronto, Canada. I was impressed by the copies of the Children’s Friend which you brought to school. I was impressed by your dedication to a book called the Book of Mormon.

I made a commitment that one day I would come to Salt Lake City and see why you talked as you did and why you believed in the manner you believed. Today I had the privilege of going through your visitors’ center on Temple Square. Thanks to a five-year-old girl who had an understanding of that which she believed, I now have a better understanding of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Miss Pepper died not too long after that visit to Salt Lake City. How happy Ann was when she attended the Jordan River Utah Temple and performed the temple work for her beloved teacher to whom she had reached out so many years ago.

President and Sister Monson in 1961 with Ann and her brothers, Tom (left) and Clark (middle).

Illustrations by Beth M. Whittaker