A Special Type of Soldier

A Special Type of Soldier

by Hugh B. Brown

At the request of the First Presidency, I had gone to England as coordinator for the LDS servicemen. One Saturday afternoon in 1944, I sent a telegram from London to the base chaplain near Liverpool letting him know that I would be in camp the next morning to conduct Mormon church services at 10:00 a.m.

A special kind of soldier - Hugh B. Brown was a member of the Canadian forces during World War I. Deseret News

A special kind of soldier – Hugh B. Brown was a member of the Canadian forces during World War I. Deseret News

When I arrived at the camp, there were 75 Mormon boys, all in uniform and quite a number in battle dress.  The chaplain to whom I had sent the wire proved to be a Baptist minister from the southern U. S.  He, too, was waiting for my arrival. As these young men ran out to greet me not because it was I, but because of what I represented, and as they literally threw their arms around me, knowing I was representing their parents as well as the Church, the minister said, “Please tell me how you do it.”

“Do what?”

Why,” he said, “I did not get your wire until late this morning.  I made a hurried search I found there were 76 Mormon boys in this camp. I got word to them. 75 of them are here. The other is in the  hospital. I have more than 600 Baptist in this camp, and if I gave them 6 months notice, I could not get a response like that.”

And then he repeated, “How do you do it?”

I said, “Sir, if you will come inside, perhaps you will see.”

President Hugh B. Brown (1883-1975) shares a lighter moment with Elder Boyd K. Packer. President Brown served as a counselor in several First Presidencies and also in the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles.

President Hugh B. Brown (1883-1975) shares a lighter moment with Elder Boyd K. Packer. President Brown served as a counselor in several First Presidencies and also in the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles.

We went in to the little chapel.  The boys sat down.  I asked, “How many here have been on missions?” I think a full 50% raised their hands.

I said, “Will you and you and you” and I pointed to six of them “please come and administer the sacrament?  And will you and you and you” and I pointed to six others “please come and sit here and be prepared to speak.

Then I said, “who can lead the music?” A number of hands were raised. “Will you come and lead the music?  And who can play this portable organ?”  There were several more hands, and one was selected.

Then I said, “What would you like to sing, fellows?”  With one voice they replied, “Come, Come Ye Saints!”

We had no hymnbook.  The boy sounded the chord:  they all arose. I have heard “Come, Come Ye Saints” sung in many lands and by many choirs and congregations.  Without reflecting adversely on what we usually hear I think I have only heard “Come, Come Ye Saints” sung that once when every heart seemed to be bursting.  They sounded every verse without books.

When they came to the last verse, they didn’t mute it; they didn’t sing it like a dirge but throwing back their shoulders, they sang out until I was fearful the walls would burst.  “And should we die before our journey’s through, happy day, all is well”; I looked at my minister friend and found him weeping.

Then one of the boys who had been asked to administer the sacrament knelt at the table, bowed his head, and said, “Oh, God, the Eternal Father.”  He paused for what seemed to be a full minute, and then he proceeded with the rest of the blessing on the bread.  At the close of that meeting, I sought that boy out.  I put my arm around his shoulders, and said, “Son, what’s the matter?

Why was it so difficult for you to ask the blessing on the bread?”

He paused for a minute and said, rather apologetically, “Well, Brother Brown, it hasn’t been two hours since I was over the continent on a bombing mission.  As we started to return, I discovered that my tail assembly was partly shot away, that one of my engines was out, that three of my crew were wounded, and that it appeared absolutely impossible that we could reach the shore of England.

Brother Brown, up there I remembered Primary and Sunday School and MIA, and home and church, and up there when it seemed all hope was lost, I said, “Oh, God the eternal Father, please support this plane until we reach a landing field.”  He did just that, and when we landed, I learned of this meeting and I had to run all the way to get here.

I didn’t have time to change my battle dress, and when I knelt there and again addressed the Lord, I was reminded that I hadn’t stopped to say thanks.

Brother Brown, I had to pause a little while to tell God how grateful I was.”

Well, we went on with the meeting.  We sang.  Prayers were offered, and these young men, with only a moment’s notice, each stood and spoke, preached the gospel of Jesus Christ to their comrades, bore their testimonies, and again I say with due respect to the various ones with whom I have associated and labored-they were among the finest sermons I have ever heard.

Then the time was up and I said, “Fellows, it’s time for chow.  We must dismiss now, or you will miss your dinner.”  With almost one voice they cried, “We can eat grub any time. Let’s have a testimony meeting!”

So we stayed another hour and a half while every man bore witness to the truthfulness of the restored gospel of Jesus Christ.  Each one in turn, and in his own way, said, “I know that God lives. I know that the gospel is restored.  I know that Joseph was a prophet of God.”

Again I looked at my friend, and he was weeping unashamedly.

At the close of that meeting, this minister said, “I have been a minister for more than 21 years, and this has been the greatest spiritual  experience of my life.

(Elder Hugh B. Brown, a member of the Council of the Twelve since 1958, and a former member of the First Presidency, died December 2, 1975)

Lindsey Stirling’s Top 10 YouTube Videos: The Best Social Media Missionary Ever!

At last count, Lindsey Stirling had 675 million views of the dancing violinist and her amazing YouTube videos.

Lindsey Stirling may be the most prolific digital and social media missionary for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints - at last count she had 587 Million Views just on her YouTube Channel

Lindsey Stirling may be the most prolific digital and social media missionary for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints – at last count she had 675 Million Views just on her YouTube Channel –

Here are her top 10 most recent YouTube videos with dates and views:

YouTube Video Date Views
Crystallize 23 Feb, 2012 101,594,516
Elements 18 Sep, 2012 46,783,355
Shadows 9 Jan, 2012 41,581,935
Skyrim  3 Apr, 2012 38,640,725
We Found Love 7 May, 2012 23,896,725
Moon Trance 23 Oct, 2012 22,646,918
Lord of the Rings Medley 2 Feb, 2012 22,031,426
Phantom of the Opera 31 Jul, 2011 19.099,950
Zelda Medley 26 Nov, 2011 18,170,168
Spontaneous Me 18 May, 2011 17,622,733

Lindsey has performed well known numbers that include everything from What Child is This? to Star Wars Medley, Assassins’s Creed III, Zelda, Halo, Game of Thrones, Mission Impossible, Violin Rock, Pokemon, to Silent Night.

Her tours take her to Europe and her filming as far as Kenya.

Her collaborators have included Pentatonix for the Covery of Imagine Dragons, Peter Hollens, to Tyler Ward, to Alex Boye & the Salt Lake Pops, to Kuha’o Case, to William Joseph, to Megan Nicole, to the Mormon Tabernacle Choir.

Her first YouTube video called Violin Rock and playing at an NBA Halftime Show soon got her on America’s Got Talent only to be told by Piers Morgan that the world had no place for a dancing dubstep violinist.


“But being voted off 2010’s “America’s Got Talent” at the quarterfinals turned out to be the best thing that’s ever happened to her. Rejection simply strengthened Stirling’s resolve to be herself. “The same reasons I was told I wouldn’t succeed are the reasons people travel hundreds of miles to see me now,” she laughs. “Because it’s different. Because it’s something you haven’t seen before…” Since the show, Lindsey has flourished as an artist.”

She is one of the biggest artist development breakthrough stories in recent years. A classically trained violinist from Gilbert, AZ, Lindsey has entered a futurist world of electronic big beats and animation, leaping through the music industry with over 675 million views on YouTube, Billboard chart-topping hits and sold out tours worldwide.

Lindsey Stirling already served an LDS mission in NYC but may be the most prolific digital and social media missionary for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints – at last count she had 675 Million Views just on her YouTube Channel alone.

She isn’t afraid to share her testimony either,

“I am so comforted that there is a living Prophet today. In biblical times, there were prophets such as Moses, Noah, and so on. God loves us every bit as much as he loved people in those times so it makes sense to me that of course he would have a prophet in our times too. The world is constantly changing; everything from politics and social norms, to weather patters and and health tips. It is very comforting for me to know that God has always called prophets to direct his children. As the world changes, this allows for Christ’s Gospel to stay the same. Yes, we can all receive our own individual answers to pray but a Prophet is God’s mouthpiece to the world.”

She also shares her story of battling anorexia, “There was a time in my life when I lost all my ambition, I had no purpose, and I began to hate myself. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints was an essential light in my life that helped my love myself again. I always believed that God had a plan for me but through the scriptures, through personal revelation and through the words of a living Prophet, I was able to come to know that I am a daughter of God, and that God’s plan is a plan of happiness. This changed everything; I was able to discover my passions, I regained a desire, a desire to do… anything again, and I found the happiness that I had forgotten I could feel.”

Living her faith on the road has been a challenge, “The music industry has a set of standards of its own. I cannot count the number of times I have been offered drugs backstage, or invited to participate in a number of other activities that could harm me or others. I live the gospel every day as I make decisions that help me stay true to my standards. I am a touring musician and I love that there is a clean, drug free, respectful and safe atmosphere on my tour bus. I’ve heard horror stories about the touring life and the awful drama that automatically is incurred. However, because the standards that have been set for my tour, there is no drama, and we have all become best friends that are having the time of our lives.”

“Where ever I am at in the world, I can find an LDS Church to attend on Sunday and it makes me feel like I am back home.”

Thanks for the great example Lindsey!

‘Meet the Mormons’ announced by LDS Church as first feature length documentary

‘Meet the Mormons’ will feature the lives of six everyday members.

See the Deseret News for the full article

Producer Jeff Roberts, center back, with Carolina Muñoz Marin and her family in Costa Rica. Marin has fought her way to the top of women's amateur kickboxing in Costa Rica, challenging the traditional stereotypes of a Mormon woman.  Photo courtesy IRI - Deseret News Aug 19, 2014

Producer Jeff Roberts, center back, with Carolina Muñoz Marin and her family in Costa Rica. Marin has fought her way to the top of women’s amateur kickboxing in Costa Rica, challenging the traditional stereotypes of a Mormon woman.
Photo courtesy IRI – Deseret News Aug 19, 2014

For the first time in its history, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints will release a feature-length documentary commercially on Oct. 10.

The new feature-length film, “Meet the Mormons,” highlights the lives of six Latter-day Saints spanning from the Himalayan mountains of Nepal, to the rain forests of Costa Rica, to the Salt Lake Valley.

The film was financed by the church but net proceeds will be donated to charity.

“The intent of the film is to help people understand what our members are really like,” said producer Jeff Roberts.

Featured in the film are Retired Col. Gail Halvorsen, who was known as “The Candy Bomber” during the 1940s Berlin Airlift; Ken Niumatalolo, head football coach of the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland; Bishnu Adhikari, a humanitarian and engineer in Nepal; Carolina Muñoz Marin, an amateur kickboxer in Costa Rica; Jermaine Sullivan, a LDS bishop in Atlanta, Georgia; and Dawn Armstrong, a mother living in the Salt Lake Valley.

Ken Niumatalolo, head football coach of the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis

Ken Niumatalolo, head football coach of the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis

“How did we find them? Any way we could,” said the film’s writer and director, Blair Treu.

Charged with producing the film for the Legacy Theater in Salt Lake City and for visitors’ centers across the globe, Treu pitched the project to the LDS Church’s First Presidency in late 2010. After the project was finished, church leaders decided to expand the films release due to the positive response from both LDS and non-LDS sample audiences.

Treu said the objective was to give the film broader reach, making it available to members and their friends on the big screen — in their own cities and towns — and then on cable TV, Internet streaming and in the Legacy Theater and visitors’ centers.

Church leaders have a lot of confidence in their membership, he said. “They never once, not once, ever told us who or where or what to shoot,” he said. “We were tasked with one thing: ‘Try to capture, as best you can, who we really are.’ That is it.”

Gail "Hal" Halvorsen, known to the world as the World War II Candy Bomber,

Gail “Hal” Halvorsen, known to the world as the World War II Candy Bomber,

Gail Halvorsen, who will turn 94 on the day the film opens, said participating in the project was the experience of a lifetime.

Jermaine Sullivan, who was a bishop at the time of filming and now serves as president of the Atlanta Georgia Stake, said he was nervous to begin filming.

I have never had this type of attention focused on me like this,” he said. “I hope that people learn a bit more about who we are, what we believe, what we do to serve and minister and help others.”

Dawn Armstrong, a young single mother who had hit rock bottom when she met the Mormon missionaries herself, is featured in the film helping her son — now older — prepare for full-time missionary service.

“In a world that seems so quick to tear down, I hope that people will choose to lift up, and most importantly, to look up,” she said. “Let love and understanding be a driving force in your life. I think that is the sincere message of the movie.”

“For more information about “Meet the Mormons” go to www.meetthemormons.com.

Meg Johnson | Paralyzed and Powerful

Meg Johnson is a motivational speaker, author, artist, teacher, non-profit founder, and extreme tuna fish eater. She always wanted to be a motivational speaker but after taking a few courses in college she dropped out because she simply “wasn’t passionate enough about anything” to speak about it. Her blog is called MegJohnsonSpeaks.com. – This video posted by Seth Adam Smith.

Fast forward a few years, Meg found herself at the bottom of a 40 foot cliff in St. George, Utah after jumping for what seemed to be a boulder right in front of her (in subsequent returns to this area, Meg wonders how she could have ever mistaken this rugged area for anything but what it actually looked like). Meg broke her femurs, arms, collar bone, and neck in the landing. The arms and legs healed, but Meg’s broken neck rendered her a C-7 quadriplegic, paralyzed from the chest down and without the use of her hands. Though Meg lost most of her abilities, she found her passion as she struggles to keep moving forward despite her inability to walk. Meg now speaks on her motto, which, she says, is applicable for people of all abilities: When life gets too hard to stand, just keep on rollin’!

Without the use of her legs, back, stomach, or hands, Meg refuses to sit still. She started out her time in a wheelchair by playing rugby with the Utah Scorpions. After realizing that sports aren’t really her thing, Meg craved something more feminine, which, she says, “isn’t really a part of the wheelchair world.” But when Meg found out about the national Ms. Wheelchair America Pageant, she jumped at the opportunity. “I never did pageants before I was paralyzed,” she says. “But I just wanted something – anything – girly.” Utah didn’t have a Ms. Wheelchair program so Meg competed as an independent delegate at Nationals in New York – 16 months after breaking her neck. She won the “Spirit Award.”

After returning home from Ms. Wheelchair America, Meg and her boyfriend (now her husband) founded Ms. Wheelchair Utah. With many contestants and an audience exceeding 1300. This state pageant has grown to include three age groups and has become one of the largest in the nation.

Meet Meg


Meg finished her college degree at Weber State University in Communications and minored in English. She met her husband in college before she was paralyzed and he visited her while she was in the hospital. They were married four years later on February 29th in the Salt Lake Temple. Meg’s husband, Whit, is a finance analyst for Weber State University by day and a half-time performer by night. They enjoy doing business and home projects together and riding bikes (well, Meg rides her hand-cycle and Whit rides his unicycle. Together, they have four wheels and many strange looks). They have one daughter, Zula Mae, who was born in 2013.

By word of mouth, Meg’s popularity as a motivational speaker has grown and during the “busy season” (March – June) she averages 12-14 speeches each month. This website is a relatively recent addition and it allows people across the globe become inspired by Meg’s newsletter, Meg’s Monthly Message, her videos, and her blog. Read about Meg in the news.

Sistas in Zion | Hilarity Never Faileth

Are Mormons funny? (from the blog www.SistasInZion.com)

Oh, Heavens Yes! This is all about our point of view on all things MORMON. We’re just two Sistas with testimones in the gospel of Jesus Christ. We love to laugh and we think Mormons are hilarious, if we do say so ourselves. We don’t always agree with one another, but we always “Love One Another.” We are truly blessed to have one another as sisters, friends and SISTAS IN ZION.

Sista Beehive and Sista Laurel are Multimedia Personalties and founders of Sistas in Zion. They started their blog in 2009 as a way to keep in contact when they were no longer living in the same state. Being members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints the ladies decided to write on matters of faith. Their hope was to create a place where their friends and family of all faiths could openly converse and also share humorous aspects of Mormon culture. The plan to keep the convo between family and friends was instantly obliterated as people started to share their posts, now these women are a major part of the faith-based scene. Their media entity Sistas in Zion, has grown into much more than a blog, they now co-host Sistas in Zion Radio, speak to live audiences and have authored their first book due out April 2014.

What Not to say to General Authorities

Kickin It!

1. Do not grab their hand, place it on your heart (bosom) and “say bless my heart!” ‘Cause that’s real inappropriate and the wives don’t appreciate it either!

2. Don’t confess your childhood (or any other) sins to them. Unless that is the reason you’ve been summoned to meet with them. If that is the case “bless your heart!”

3. Don’t tell them that you did your genealogy and found their great grandparent on your family tree! Then immediately start referring to them as “Cuz!” Unless they say it first, this, of course would be really shocking!

4. Don’t confess to nothing that doesn’t involve you! Meaning don’t confess anyone else’s sin(s) (Yes, we did need to tell y’all that!!).

5. Don’t expect them to give you a life time layout of which choices will best suit you in life. “Who should I marry? What is the best career choice for me? Should I buy this house or that one?”

6. Asking an apostle to tell you something spiritual can only result in said apostle calling you to repentance… So, don’t ask and they certainly won’t tell!

7. Don’t ask “‘why Brother X got called to be the Stake President instead of Brother XYZ? ‘Cause Brother X isn’t even that spiritual.”

8. You may or may not know this but the LDS church doesn’t have a suggestion box. So, when someone is called into a position you can be upset, you can talk to the Bishop or Stake president, you can even oppose the call, you can do all that! What you shouldn’t do is tell any of the church leaders that they should call Sista Jones to be the next Relief Society President ’cause she is the best dressed person in the stake! ‘Cause your testimony will/shall stand as a testimony against her! Just saying…

9. Rapidly blinking your eyes to try to prevent G.As from piercing into the windows of your soul doesn’t work. Don’t ask us how we know, we just know!

10. Asking “Can you “autograph” my temple recommend?” Will only result in you getting your temple recommend confiscated, with the quickness!

11. Saying “when I found out that you were Sara’s grandfather I was so shocked! Because she don’t EVEN act like she is related to a General Authority! May result in one or two General Authorities acting real unchristian toward you. You can’t just be talkin ’bout folks grand-babies… Even if it is true!

13.  Don’t say to “Elder X, I LOVE your talks so much! Your so much better then Elder XYZ, he really bores err’body to death!”

14.  What not to say to them or their wives: “Hey Elder X, I think your pretty awesome! Will you tell Elder Urcthdorf that I think he’s foxy!” Don’t even try it, ’cause Sista Harriet don’t look like she plays that!!

15.  The single saintly Brotha’s get so tired of hearing  “Sorry your wife passed away, do you want to meet my grandma”? That ain’t cute! And, chances are they already know your grandma…

16. Saying to Elder X  “Your last conference talk wasn’t really my favorite!” (while making “sour face”) Could result in you being the topic of  a future conference talk!

17. It’s not really a compliment to tell anyone especially a GA, “seeing you in person, ummm, you look so regular! Wow! Um! You look much more spiritual on television.”

18.  Don’t ever ask them or anyone else for that matter “Do you really keep ALL the commandments?”

19.  When you say things to GAs like “So, most of the stories in the bible are metaphors right? You don’t really believe Moses parted the Red Sea, do you?”  Alerts them to the fact that you prolly dropped out of seminary, don’t attend anybody’s Christian God fearing church. And, that you and the Holy Spirit ain’t really all that tight.

20. You do not want to be the reason the Sista’s are up in arms! The wives (one wife for one man, we know we got some non-LDS folks joining us from time to time, just clarifying) of the Apostals are not only spiritual, they are savvy. They don’t need nobody stirring the pot! You might be tempted to say, “Sista X, do you have to follow him around wherever he goes? What do you do to keep yourself entertained?Don’t you get tired of ALL this??!?” When in reality the only thing you need to say is “Girl, I love those shoes, they look REAL comfortable! I hope Elder X realizes what a wonderful wife he has!” Like we said they are smart and savvy, the wives of General Authorities are readers, they can even read between the lines well enough to know that you know when they are bored and tired….

What do y’all got? What would you like to add to the list?

**This post is LOVINGLY dedicated to those  of you who are inspired to lead us. It was/is our sincere desire to get you take a break from whatever might be causing you stress at this time and enjoy the rainbow called life.**

Still Mad, Still Black, & Still Mormon!

Sista Beehive & Sista Laurel

About Us


DIARY OF TWO MAD BLACK MORMONS authors, Tamu Smith and Zandra Vranes, discuss their new book and a few personal stories that helped inspire it.