That’s My Dad


Maybe Dad isn’t ready to join the Church. But Mom’s letter helped me see him for who he really is.

“Why doesn’t that happen to my dad?”

I found myself asking this question over and over again as I listened to teachers and new missionaries at the Missionary Training Center tell about family members who had been converted to the gospel. These missionaries and returned missionaries had received the promise—just as I had—that as they served the Lord, their families would be strengthened.

From the first time I prayed by myself as a child, I beseeched my Heavenly Father daily, “Please bless Dad that he’ll want to go to church.” But he hadn’t gone. My older brother had served a mission, but it didn’t seem to change Dad.

I really loved my father, and I knew he would do anything for me. I had always been his little girl. He had supported me in every good thing I had ever done, including my mission. But I was always sorry we didn’t have family scripture study or family prayer. I had never received a father’s blessing. I always felt I was being left out when teachers gave lessons on eternal families and the blessings of being together forever.

During my stay at the MTC, my parents went on vacation. When they returned home, my mom wrote a letter to me. Most of the letter described their trip home. As they were driving, they passed two teenagers standing by a car on the side of the highway. Dad immediately turned around and went back to see if they needed help. He recognized the problem quickly. They had a flat, and a regular lug wrench would not fit the car’s custom wheels. Dad pulled a spark plug wrench out of his trunk and solved the problem.

But he didn’t stop at that. He discovered that two of the car’s passengers had walked to the nearest town to find help, and that neither of the teenagers who were left behind knew how to drive the car, which had a manual transmission. So Dad drove them into the town and helped them find their friends.

After showing them how to repair their next flat tire, Dad and Mom went on their way without accepting any kind of compensation.

I was not surprised to read about Dad’s kind act. He did, and still does, that kind of thing all the time. As I tried to finish reading the letter, tears blurred my vision. I began to understand that the Lord had blessed my family in ways I had always chosen to ignore. Perhaps Dad didn’t perform all the outward actions of an “active” Latter-day Saint, but long ago he had been converted to many core principles of the gospel of Jesus Christ. It was through his example that I learned about true service, charity, and love. I realized that while I was preaching the gospel in a strange place, my dad would quietly live it at home.

[illustration] Illustrated by Bryan Lee Shaw