President Benson Visited My Home


Through My Home Teachers

Arriving home after a hard day’s work, I discovered that my wife had gone to visit some of our children who lived in a city some seventy-five kilometers away; she left me a note saying she would be back later in the evening.

I prepared something to eat and was just sitting down when, through the window, I saw my home teachers, Sven Jensen and L. D. Meyers, coming to the door. I greeted them without any real enthusiasm, explaining that I was sitting down to eat. Could they come back in a few minutes? They cheerfully replied, “We tried to call for an appointment, George, but there was no answer. So we took a chance on finding you home. We’ll visit another family and then come back.”

Half an hour later, they returned. After a few pleasant words of greeting, Sven smiled, and said, “George, we would like to read through an article written by President Benson.” It sounded interesting, but I was tired and my interest quickly faded when he added: “We will go over each of his twelve points on how to overcome depression.” (See “Do Not Despair,” Tambuli, March 1987.) I realized I was going to be there for quite a while.

“Number one,” Sven said, then he paused and looked up from the text into my eyes. At that instant we exchanged a wonderful, yet silent, communication. I thought of the many times I had met this faithful man at church. Sven would look for me, shake my hand, and say, “George, do you still know the gospel’s true?” Knowing the question was coming, I’d stand as straight and tall as I could and reply with all the dignity I could, “Yes, Sven, I know with all my heart that the gospel is true.”

He would smile as he seemed to look into my soul and say, “That’s good, George.”

As Sven began covering point number one in the article on how to overcome depression, he explained, “First, George, if you’re depressed you have to repent.”

Then he asked, “Why is it we have to repent?” I said, “Well, I remember the Book of Mormon says that ‘despair cometh because of iniquity.’” (Moro. 10:22.)

As Sven read each point in the article, he looked up from the magazine and right at me, saying, “This sounds just like you, George.” He continually made me feel good about myself with sincere compliments. As he got to point ten, I found myself no longer wanting him to finish. There was a comforting spirit in the room.

After Sven made the twelfth point, he closed the magazine and smiled at me. “What do you think of that, George?” I could scarcely speak. What I thought—what it seemed like—was that President Ezra Taft Benson had just come to my home and visited me. But because he couldn’t come himself, he had sent a special messenger to represent him. I knew I had heard the words of the prophet spoken by the mouth of my home teacher, and I knew the message had touched my heart.

Later, as we walked toward the front door, Sven sensed that something had happened during the visit, and his eyes were moist as we shook hands. Then my home teachers were gone, but their message was still with me. I had been a little depressed when they came, but not now. Now I had been spiritually refreshed and was ready to return to my duty.

Later that night, I decided there was a thirteenth way to overcome depression—and that way was to have home teachers come to love, teach, and bless you.

George Durrant, president of the Missionary Training Center in Provo, Utah, is a member of the Park Ward in the Provo Utah Central Stake.