“The Home Teachers Who Wouldn’t Quit,” Ensign, Sept. 2002, 69–70
A year after my wife, Anthea, and I joined the Church in 1965, we were sealed with our two small daughters in the London England Temple.
At that time the Church in Britain had only one stake. Because there was a great need for priesthood leadership, I was soon called to serve as a branch president in a town 15 miles away from my home branch. I welcomed the challenge this new calling brought and eventually served in the district presidency and then in the bishopric when our branch became a ward.
As our family grew in the gospel, the sales management position I held became more and more demanding, often requiring me to be away from home two or three nights a week. The pressures of my life, combined with newfound friends not of our faith, caused me to start to have doubts regarding some aspects of Church doctrine.
I had received a good education and enjoyed deep discussions with these new intellectual friends. They tried to use the scriptures to prove that the Church was not following some basic concepts laid down as commandments since the time of Adam. I should have borne testimony to the truth of the restored gospel and turned away. Instead, I began to listen to them, and my little doubts about doctrine started to grow. Soon I stopped paying tithing and going to the temple. When I stopped attending church, my wife protested, as did our daughters when we ceased holding family home evening.
As this was happening, two people from the Church never gave up on me. Our home teachers invited me to church every Sunday, sometimes by a visit and other times by a phone call. They visited our home at least once and sometimes twice each month. They even knew when we needed something. I especially remember the time I ordered a garden shed that was delivered unassembled during my absence. Upon returning home, I found our home teachers had already assembled the shed.
I particularly admired our senior home teacher, Des Gorman, an Irish Canadian. He was a genuine person who truly cared for people. To me he represented the Church, so I felt that the Church must be a good organization, even if I wasn’t attending.
Eventually we were blessed with a baby boy. Our home teachers reminded me that it is a priesthood practice to name and bless a baby at fast and testimony meeting. I did not want to participate, though I finally agreed to allow our baby to be blessed by others.
Brother Gorman stood in my place and was the mouthpiece for a beautiful blessing on our son, Ronan. As I listened, I received a powerful witness from the Spirit. I had been proud. I had made some big mistakes. I had nearly lost my testimony of the truthfulness of the restored gospel. I still had my family, but I had almost lost the sweet peace the gospel brings. Many tears flowed as my wife, Brother Gorman, and the bishopric hugged me as I felt the sorrow that leads to repentance.
From that time on, I have been active in the Church, with our home teachers continuing to support me. Our baby boy is now a returned missionary, married in the temple, and raising a family of his own. I feel his life is a tribute to the man who gave him a name and a blessing.
I shall ever be grateful to two dedicated home teachers who took their assignment seriously. Although Brother Gorman has been deceased for some years, I know I won’t forget him for his patient consistence in inviting me back. He never gave up. Today I continue to seek to emulate his quiet and loving persistence in my own home teaching and Church callings.