Stake President's Personal Experience

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Story About Judging

A woman came to him when he was a stake president for a blessing.  He said:  "I had known this sister for years and in my judgment she had made some very poor life choices.  She had married a handsome, charming young man who initially wasn't a member of the Church but joined the church for her.  She waited a year to marry him and then went to the temple.  It was the last time he ever went to the temple.  I knew he was a flake from the beginning.  It didn't surprise me that he soon returned to many of his pre-church habits.

There was a great pain for this woman.  A good, good woman, she kept in the church; she kept in the kingdom; she suffered enormous pain because her husband went back to gambling and drinking and other things that were unhappy and unwholesome.  But, the greater pain came when her children, having these two models before them, began to follow him.  They gradually seemed to adopt his lifestyle, values, and attitude toward the Church and toward sacred things.  Although she never wavered from her own faith, her family was slipping away from her.

As she asked me for a blessing to sustain her in what to do with this awful situation in which she found herself, my thoughts were,  "Didn't you ask for this?  You married a guy who really didn't have any depth to him and raised your kids too permissively.  You should have fought harder to keep them in church rather than letting them run off to racetracks." 

I had all those judgments in my head when I laid my hands on her head.  The Lord told her of his love and his tender concern for her.  He acknowledged that he had given her (and that she had volunteered for) a far, far harder task than He would like.  (And, as he put in my mind, a harder task than I had had.)  I have eight good kids, the last of whom just went to the temple.  All would have been good if they had been orphans. 

She, however, had signed up for hard children, for children who had rebellious spirits but who were valuable; for a hard husband who had a rebellious spirit but who was valuable.  The Lord alluded to events in her life that I hadn't known about, but which she confirmed afterwards. 

Twice Heavenly Father had given her the choice between life and death, whether to come home and be relieved of her responsibilities, which weren't going very well, or whether to stay to see if she could work them through.  Twice on death's bed she had sent the messenger away and gone back to that hard task.   She stayed with it.

I repented.  I realized I was in the presence of one of the Lord's great noble spirits, who had chosen not a safe place behind the lines punching out the ordinances to the people in the front lines as I was doing, but somebody who chose to live out in the trenches where the Lord's work was being done, where there was risk, where you could be hurt, where you could lose, where you could be destroyed by your love. 

That's the way she had chosen to labor.  Then the thought,  "I am unworthy to lay my hands on her head; if our sexes were reversed, she should have had her hands on mine."