The Message:

Oklahoma City Experience

by Elder James A. Cullimore

Assistant to the Council of the Twelve

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    I believe sincerely that our lives are guided by the Lord as we serve him, keep his commandments, and do what we can to help build up the Church and kingdom of God on earth. President Joseph Fielding Smith said in his opening talk at the April 1972 conference of the Church, “There is no cure for the ills of the world except in the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ. Our hope for peace, for temporal and spiritual prosperity, and for an eventual inheritance in the kingdom of God is found only in and through the restored gospel. To those who have received the gospel we say, Keep the commandments. Walk in the light. Endure to the end. Be true to every covenant and obligation and the Lord will bless you beyond your fondest dreams.”

    It is important to keep our lives in tune with the Holy Spirit at all times that we might be assured of the promptings of the Spirit and that we might be able to recognize those promptings. I believe as well that the Lord expects us to make many decisions on our own, as we feel directed by the Spirit. He has said, “… it is not meet that I should command in all things; for he that is compelled in all things, the same is a slothful and not a wise servant … men should … do many things of their own free will … For the power is in them, wherein they are agents unto themselves. And inasmuch as men do good they shall in nowise lose their reward.” (D&C 58:26–28.)

    As I look back over my life I can see the guiding hand of the Lord in many things. Let me relate just one such instance. Sister Cullimore and I have lived most of our married life in the missions of the Church. At one time, when we lived in Oklahoma City, we were concerned that our teenage children were not able to have proper association with other children of their age who were members of the Church. Their association was almost entirely with nonmembers, and although they were wonderful young people we worried about them being able to marry in the temple without proper association with members of the Church. Our concern was so great we were considering leaving my employment and moving to an area where they would have this association.

    About this time Elder Joseph F. Merrill of the Council of the Twelve was traveling through the mission with the mission president, and he stayed overnight with us. Sister Cullimore poured her heart out to Brother Merrill about our concern over the children. Elder Merrill said, “Don’t be concerned about it; this is where the Lord wants you. I promise you that if you teach your children the gospel, see to it that they attend their meetings in the Church, set a proper example for them in your home, and then when they are ready, see that they attend a Church school, they will marry in the temple.”

    I had already made some rather serious commitments in reference to a change in employment that would have necessitated a move from the area. The next morning, after the conversation with Elder Merrill, I coincidently met a real estate dealer who told me of a building available that would be suitable for a furniture business. (I had previously asked him to watch for such a building for me.) In three days I had signed the lease on the building and given notice to my employer that I was leaving. Within thirty days our business was opened.

    The Lord blessed us abundantly in the business. We saw the Church grow in the area. Our children have each married in the temple and are all active and involved in the Church.

    Illustrated by Ralph Reynolds