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)

‘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.

Seth Adam Smith Tells of His Recovery from Attempted Suicide

This comes from SethAdamSmith.com, a blog that started with a suicide attempt in 2006:

I’m Editor-in-Chief of ForwardWalking.com, a website dedicated to helping people move forward in life.  Throughout my life, I have struggled with depression, culminating in a suicide attempt in 2006. Since working as a TrailWalker at the ANASAZI Foundation, I have come to know the healing power of walking “the path of WE,” that is, reaching out to others. Truly, walking “the path of WE” is what saved my life—and what has made life worth living.

About Seth

My name is Seth Adam Smith. I was born in Alaska and raised in the American West. My travels have taken me all over the world—from the Arizona desert to the Siberian wilderness—only to lead me back home, to marry Kim, the girl of my dreams.

Strangely enough, you might already know me as a direct result of my marriage to Kim. In November 2013, I wrote an article called “Marriage Isn’t For You.” It was a simple blogpost that shared some advice my dad had given me prior to getting engaged to Kim. 30 million views (and dozens of translations later), Kim and I are still shocked (and humbled) by it’s world-wide success.

That article has launched my literary career. Now I’m on a “literal” odyssey to publish and market three books—this year. Two of my books have already been accepted for publication (one through Berrett-Koehler Publishers, and another throughShadow Mountain Publishing). Authoring a book is something that I’ve wanted to do since I was ten, so the fact that it’s all happening is almost unbelievable. But I’m just a lover of literature and I’m constantly amazed by the power of words and the ability they have to shape and heal our souls.

As part of that, I created TheAlaskanMuse.com to share “the Northern Lights of Literature.” I also love being able to tell stories through video. Since 2004, I’ve produced hundreds of videos and articles for businesses, non-profits, artists, and political causes.

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

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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.