Wednesday, May 6, 2009


When I grow up, if that is ever possible, I want to be the male version of my amazing daughter, Jenna Lynn. She has the gift of static cling for everything in the good category. She flies through life like a spiritual Electrolux, drawing faith, knowledge, charity, optimism, kindliness, and personal power from the carpets of mortality with exceptional grace, despite unrelenting opposition. It is humbling and inspiring to be a witness of her victories. I think only a few of her closest friends know how much adversity she suffers. She conquers through her faith. The six children in her care, fortunate children!, will learn the true meaning of love from her. One day, they will read her journals and understand how the Lord refined and purified her in a real cauldron of trials. She refuses by sheer spiritual will and perseverance to allow a bushel to fall over her light.

On November 22, 1976, I recorded a sacred incident in my journal, involving my Jenna Lynn. Concerning the previous Sabbath, I wrote: "Now, Jenna had not been in the best of spirits in the morning. In fact, she seemed over the past couple of months to be very insecure. She would cry over the least of things and argue and complain continually. Candy and I both have spoken quite harshly to her lately, which has not contributed to peace in the home. Anyway, yesterday at Sacrament Meeting, Jenna began carrying on again and being upset. I decided to take her home before the meeting ended. So, I and she marched home, and I put her to bed. Candy came home a short time later, and we began to talk about Jenna, and why it was that she was acting this way. We searched hard. Candy began to cry, and she said that she felt that she was ruining Jenna, and perhaps another family should have her instead of us. We felt unsure as to exactly what we needed to do for her and uncertain as to why Jenna was so insecure. Then I went upstairs to pray... When Jenna awoke from her sleep, I told her that I wanted to have an interview with her, which confused her, since we had never had such a thing. She consented and brought her little brown chair into my room to sit in as we talked. I sat on the floor, so that my eyes were level with hers, and I apologized for being so nasty to her that day, and I promised that I would try harder to be a good father. Then I told her how much I love her and how much she means to me. I related to her about her birth, how I had driven her mother to the hospital, shaking all over with expectation when the time came. I told her how beautifully white and radiant her mother appeared after Jenna had been sent down from Heavenly Father. And I told her how I had covenanted with the Lord, upon receiving the good news of her birth from the nurse, that I would strive to be a good father to her. Then I asked Jenna if she would like me to give her a blessing. She said, "Well, I guess you could give me a blessing, if you wanted to." And so I did. I laid my hands upon her head and touched my forehead to hers, as I knelt next to her little chair. A warm, peaceful spirit descended, and I pronounced words of blessing. A surge of spiritual feeling poured through me to a degree that I had not experienced before. Jenna began to be a little frightened, because she felt the same influence." In that time, there was no time. Our minds and spirits met as one, and we were ageless. I was more than a father; I was her eternal brother, and she was my eternal sister. I could and did communicate with her, spirit to spirit. I learned more about the truth of our eternal beings and about the power of the Holy Priesthood in those minutes than I have in the 33 years since. Moreover, the behavior that prompted our concern as young parents never returned. I hope it is not inappropriate for me to recount this sacred experience here on this happy occasion. Jenna is very wonderful. I have not been able to give her everything she deserves and would receive from a better father. I love her dearly. Happy birthday, little Jenna!