06 September 2015

Maintaining Trust When God’s Ways Seem Inscrutable, Part 1: Understanding the Meaning of Revelations

While a student at Brigham Young University, my husband had a very intriguing personal experience with President Hugh B. Brown (an apostle and a counselor in the First Presidency of the LDS church at the time), his wife, and one of their granddaughters who was a good friend of David’s. The four of them had lunch together in a restaurant in Salt Lake City sometime in 1963 or 1964.

Considering himself a lowly university student, David remembered feeling very much in awe of President Brown. One part of the conversation in particular stuck in his mind, and he told me about it after we were married in 1966, because it raised such interesting questions and possibilities regarding the policy of Priesthood ordination not being available to men of black African ancestry at the time.

As I remember the story, President Brown mentioned that he had recently returned from meeting with church members in South Africa. After one meeting, he was approached by three young adult single women, who asked if they could meet with him privately. He agreed to do so. They told him that they were officially classified as “White” by the South African government, but in doing their genealogy, they had all discovered that they had black African ancestry. They asked Pres. Brown whom they should marry, taking into account that they were considered “white.” Pres. Brown asked them to allow him to consider the matter overnight. He prayed fervently for guidance in how to deal with this sensitive situation. The next day, he again met with the three women. He told them to marry young men in the same situation as they were in, and promised them “their sons would hold the priesthood.”

While Pres. Brown was relating this experience, David recalled thinking that such a promise might only be fulfilled in the Millennium. He also recalled having the impression that although Pres. Brown definitely felt inspired to make that promise, even he might have believed it would not be realized until far in the future.

When the revelation granting the Priesthood to all worthy men came in early June of 1978, David remembered what President Brown had told him, and then did the math that revealed what a glorious and amazing revelation President Brown had received. From then on, when David spoke of what President Brown was inspired to tell those three young women, he would add, that if you allowed a year or so for the women to get married, and another year for them to give birth to a son, a son of theirs might have turned 12 in 1978, and he would indeed have been eligible to be ordained a Deacon in the Aaronic priesthood.

I hope I have learned to trust in the Lord enough to believe that although some of His ways still remain inscrutable to me, in His own due time--perhaps much sooner than I may now imagine--all will become clear.

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