Tonight I’m sitting here in Palmyra. It has been a series of long days. On Saturday, we were packing, but a friend also took some nice pictures of our family. I picked that one of R, because I doubt most of us can remember the last time we were that happy and excited.
On Monday we were finishing up packing our house and trying to get on the road. Things took way longer than planned, so we drove until 2:00am on Monday to get to Cleveland, and then dr0ve a bunch more today. I’ll post about the trip more as I go along, but first I want to write this down. On Sunday, sacrament meeting went a little short. When that happened, Bonnie leaned over to me and said, “well, you’re up.”
At first I laughed and said, “yeah, right,” but sure enough Bishop Francis called on me and a few other people to share our testimonies. Sharing my testimony in sacrament meeting is my favorite. If by favorite you mean something I hate.
I really do enjoy talking in front of groups, but for some reason I don’t enjoy sharing my testimony in the big, formalized setting of sacrament meeting. Happily, I had been thinking about some worthwhile topics already, so I had some ideas of what to say. Here’s basically what I said:
[Disclaimer: I tell some stories that may or may not be strictly true. For me, that’s okay. Much like the scriptures, it’s sometimes more important to get what you’re supposed to get out of a story than to worry about if it happened exactly that way or not.]
I’ve been thinking about my first mission president a bit lately. His name was Walter J. Plumb III. He was a great man. He was a little crazy. And he was rich, so he could indulge some of the crazy, but he was also a fantastic person.
To help you understand the kind of person that he was, I’ll tell a few stories. First, he loved cars. His car of choice was a Porsche 911 Turbo. He saw a scene in some movie where a fast car went up a steep hill and got some air. He decided to try it, so he took one of his Porsches to a really steep hill in Salt Lake. He gunned the engine and got some air at the top, but when the car came down all the guts fell out of it and it was totaled. Seeing how wrecked his car was, he just called a tow service, took it to the dealer, and traded it in for a new one the same day.
He was also very generous with his money. One Christmas he took the mission van with the trailer hooked up and went to a toy store. He grabbed an associate and said, “just fill up the car with one or two of everything.”
After the car and trailer were filled with toys, he took the AP’s and said, “Elders, where are the children? Let’s go find them and give them some toys.” He then spent the rest of the day handing out toys to kids in Rochester.
He was also famous for having a bunch of sayings that he would repeat. For lack of a better word I’ll call them catch-phrases. “Elders, where’s a gym? Anywhere you are. Just do some push-ups on the sidewalk.”
Of course, the most important and famous saying of his was “The future is bright.” which sometimes got expanded to something like, “Elders, future is so bright it’s practically blinding.”
The further I’ve gotten from that experience, the more I’ve realized how true that statement is. The future is bright. No matter what happens to us, no matter what trials and hardships we face, the future is bright. Pain and sorrow will be healed. Wrongs will be righted. We will be made whole again, because of the Atonement of Christ. He suffered so that he would understand us and be able to comfort us in our trials. Christ is our future, and that future is bright.