Walking tall

I too would like to give a special thanks to Jamie Glenn and Rayna Jones for being “in tune” with the Spirit when they composed the beautiful “Walk Tall, You’re a Daughter of God,” which was published in the April 1979 New Era. This song contributed much happiness, serenity, and peace of mind to my dear friend Lorna Smith during the last year of her life.

In May of 1981 Lorna had her first operation for cancer. The family was told that life expectancy for this type of cancer was about four months. However, she was given chemotherapy and her health improved. One year later, in May 1982, she became very ill again. One Sunday morning before she was taken back to the hospital, I was visiting her when she told me about hearing this song at a Relief Society function. It had so touched her heart that she had asked Kris Taylor, the sister who had sung it, to record it for her so that she might listen to it at home. This had been done, and that Sunday the two of us listened to it and shed tears as we heard the words, “He’s closer than you know—reach up, He’ll take your hand.” Lorna sent a copy of the tape to Nebraska to be played to her 92-year-old mother and aged aunt who are not members of the Church. She also shared the song with her daughters whom she wanted to realize that they are truly daughters of God.

She had another operation that May 1982, and the new growth was found to be inoperable. She was again given about four months to live. Her treatment was changed and she lived another 13 months, during which she had the privilege of enjoying the arrival of two new grandchildren. Throughout this last year of her life she often listened to “her song.” The words gave her strength, hope, and courage. Her display of these qualities touched the lives of many.

In May of 1983 she again became so ill that her digestive system could not tolerate even water. Another operation disclosed several cancerous blockages in her intestines. During this lengthy stay at the hospital I took a tape to her on which the Gunderson sisters had recorded some special songs for her. One of them was “Walk Tall.” As it was playing there in the hospital room, a nurse came in singing the words. She told us that this song was also special to her. She had heard it and sung it on her mission. This seemed to create an understanding between her and Lorna.

The cancer spread to Lorna’s liver, and she died at home on June 28, 1983. As I stood there by her, in my mind I could hear and feel the impact of the words, “He’s closer than you know—reach up, He’ll take your hand.”

Her special song was sung beautifully at her funeral by the Gunderson sisters, and on her headstone, as a reminder to her children and grandchildren, is engraved “WALK TALL, YOU‘RE A DAUGHTER OF GOD.”

Dorothy M. Bolinder Grantsville, Utah

That word behind his name

I love the article by Sterling W. Sill, “On the Wrong Bus,” in the July 1983 issue. I have always loved Elder Sill. He has such a way with words. I am so glad that you didn’t let that word behind his name (emeritus) stop you from letting him share his talents with the younger generation who might not remember his pre-emeritus years. I’d love to hear more from him.

Anita Hewett Hahn Delta, Colorado

Those brown-bricked walls

I just finished reading the article “The Language of the Spirit” in the October 1983 New Era. I thank you so much for bringing back those beautiful experiences that I shared with my MTC district 17 months ago. As I read that article, I felt again that joy, that sweet feeling, that special spirit that is found only there in those brown-bricked walls of the Missionary Training Center. Thank you for the extra supply of spirit.

Elder Darrel Mosier Quito Ecuador Mission

My life was turned around

I wish to express my deepest heartfelt thanks to the New Era, the members of my ward, and my best friend, Shirley Beo, for showing me the way to Heavenly Father.

I live in Myrtle Creek, Oregon, and met Shirley in the seventh grade. Neither of us really fit in at school. She had just moved to Oregon from England, and I was a social outcast. My life up to then had been rough, but Shirley seemed to turn me around. It wasn’t until five years later that I asked Shirley to pick me up for church.

I must tell you how shocked I was to feel Heavenly Father’s Spirit so strong. The members of the Myrtle Creek Ward accepted me as one of their family, and I have never met a bishop as terrific as the bishop of our ward, David Antis, Sr. Two months later my parents, both of whom are nonmembers, allowed me to be baptized. My life was turned around from then on.

I am now assistant to the president in our priests quorum, and the oldest and one of the most active youth in our ward. I play Church basketball and volleyball and am in top form for school. Last quarter I pulled my first 4.00 report card.

I wish to thank all the people who have helped me, and also the New Era for all the encouraging articles.

Robert Russell Myrtle Creek, Oregon