It surprised them to run in to Elder Holland at the Smith Farm. Some tourist were visiting when eyes got real big and one exclaimed, “That’s Elder Holland!” Yes, it indeed was Elder Holland.
I met up with Elder Holland, the mission presidents and others at the Smith Farm to capture some candid shots for the church. Sisters Sumpsion and Rosemore were selected to give the first group their tour. In that group was, yes, you guessed it, Elder Holland. These two sisters did a marvelous job giving the tour.
After the tour of the frame and log homes, they group retired to the Gathering Place for a meeting. I will preface my feelings about the meeting with this…
I woke this morning with the worse bout of depression I have ever had. I cannot describe how awful I felt. All of the self-talk in the world wasn’t helping. I reminded myself that last night I was in the company of an Apostle of Jesus Christ — Elder Holland. I was taking pictures of mission presidents, members of various quorums of the seventy, and an apostle. What reason would I have to feel this way.
It took all my mental strength to go to the Smith Farm and take photos. I was doing my best to mask it. I do not believe in wearing it on my sleeve.
When they got to the Gathering Place, I almost turned and went home. Something said, “Stay”.
I thought, “I don’t want to stay.”
Again, a prompting came, “Stay. You’ll only feel worse if you leave now.”
Lingering at the edge of the Gathering Place, I took a few photos. Manners taught me not to leave during someone’s presentation or talk, so I politely waited.
When Elder Holland stood to talk, there came a point in his testimony that this cloud of darkness and depression lifted. It became evident to me that the adversary is very real and aware that I would benefit from his words. While not appropriate to go in to details, a question I for weeks was answered. While the answer wasn’t critical to my wellbeing, I figure it will come in handy in the future in helping someone else understand this particular point of doctrine.
It is amazing to me how the Spirit works. Elder Holland had no personal knowledge of my question. In fact, nobody did. It was one of those things where I wanted to have the answer if anybody ever asked. Don’t ask my why, but that’s just the way I am when it comes to the gospel. When someone who is not a member of the church asks me a question, I like having the answer. So, there I stood, and when he gave the answer I was thinking, “This is why I was supposed to stay.”
The same is true for General Conference. If you have a doctrinal question, pray about it, and do your scripture reading like you normally wood, but comes time for General Conference, and you haven’t received your answer, pray it will be answered in conference. My experience has been my questions always get answered. In this case, the question arose after General Conference (early this month), and I had over 5 months to wait. (Hmmmm… I wonder if that means someone is going to ask me about this topic. But, more likely, it was God’s way of telling me, “Be still and know that I am God.”
The group left to go tour the Grandin Building, and I headed to Hill Cumorah to set up for a group shot. John did not assign another FM employee, but took the task himself to help me with the ladder. We got all set up, and lots of tourist began to ask, “Why the ladder?”
The group arrived, the tourist watched with amazement, and I got my shot from atop a 14′ ladder. As I was getting ready, one of the mission president’s wife asked, “Are you going to climb that to take the picture?”
Now, I will add, that the winds were quite strong — probably about 50 mph up on the ladder top.
I said, “Yes.”
To which she replied, “Thank you for risking your life to take our picture.”
Thanks to John and a couple other FM employees, the ladder was solid as can be.
I spent the remainder of the evening talking with Elder and Sister Veach, a visitor and a couple of young sister missionaries in the Hill Cumorah Visitors’ Center.
This day didn’t get off to the greatest start, but by the end of the day, I was wishing it didn’t have to end.