A Valedictory Testimony
But I’m here to witness that, at some times and under some circumstances within my experience, the Lord’s response has needed no qualification, no metaphor, no patience, no imagination, no interpretation. Somebody may be smart enough to define those times and circumstances and to distinguish them in advance from the other, more muddled kind; I won’t try. I’ll just declare to you, soberly and joyfully, that He has responded instantly, affirmatively, totally, unmistakably, and (thus far) permanently to specific recent prayers of mine. In which I’ve asked him to apply the atoning blood of His Son, Jesus Christ,
  • to take away bitterness from my heart;
  • to heal disabling feelings of ill-will and enmity; and
  • to grant relief from specific bodily pains.
In these instances, He has not made me wait; He has not made me beg; He has not cloaked His response in any sort of darkness nor fuzziness. He has responded simply, immediately, and lovingly, and I praise His Holy Name for it.

Many of our Protestant cousins love an unsophisticated hymn that we don’t sing,* but for which I’ve gained new respect and appreciation. If you can find any of Ralph Stanley’s renditions, I recommend them. It goes,
“What a Friend we have in Jesus, all our sins and griefs to bear.
What a privilege to carry everything to God in prayer.
Oh what joy we often forfeit! Oh what needless pains we bear!
All because we do not carry everything to God in prayer.”
I thank the Lord for much precious, celestial knowledge that I have by virtue of the Restoration, and which Mr. Stanley lacks in his tradition. At the same time, I’m often humbled by the example of many outside the Restored Kingdom, as they walk straighter by their lesser light than I do by the greater.

Again and ever, I pray that you’ll do better, and be wiser, than I.

Be well.

*We do borrow its usual tune for our “Israel, Israel, God is calling.”
Kent Bowen
Were you to ask me about Harvey Kent Bowen’s line of vocational endeavor, I’d be a trifle embarrassed by my leaky memory, but would venture that he came to Cambridge to study materials science at MIT. I was already an alumnus, and we knew Kent and Kathy primarily as fellow members of the Cambridge and successor congregations. Professionally, he has migrated into the academic field of business management, with a very long list of scholarly publications and many years of faculty service at both MIT and Harvard. But it was as President Bowen, probably by then in the presidency of the Cambridge Stake, that he asked me to write a few words of farewell and send them back from the mountains. I seem to have completed the assignment a couple of months later.
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