One of my favorite
stories from President Monson is the account of receiving an
impression to visit a friend at a hospital. The impression led him to
quit what he was doing, swimming laps, and immediately go visit the
man. The man had left his room in his wheelchair and was alone at the
edge of a pool used for physical therapy. President Monson found him
and visited briefly. President Monson took him back to his room and
gave him a priesthood blessing, then departed. It seemed to be a
minor event, but later he would learn that his friend at the edge of
the pool was preparing to fall into the pool to commit suicide. The
visit came at just the right time to help the man realize, reconsider
and move forward with his life.
There are many lessons
one can draw in contemplating this story, including the reality of
God’s love, the importance of staying in tune and responding
quickly to distinct impressions we received through the Spirit, and
the great things that can be accomplished through small acts of
kindness and service.
As I reflected upon
this story at General Conference, I recalled a related event in my
own life. It’s a story I think I can
share, without giving too many details, given the passage of time.
Many years ago, we had an early model cell phone that we used for a
while, but it then died. I didn't rely on it much and had taken my
time in getting it replaced. After a few weeks, I finally took it in
to be repaired and we got it back a couple of weeks later. On the
evening of the day that we received it, as the freshly recharged
phone was sitting idle on our kitchen countertop still unused and
untouched by me, I had an unusual call on our landline (our “normal”
phone). It was a woman in distress, a friend of ours and a fairly
young mother in a very tough situation,
who said, "Tell my family I love them." That was all she
wanted to say initially. I was puzzled and asked more about what she
meant, and asked if that meant she was suicidal.
was surprisingly calm and collected, resolved I think, as she said
that she was going to make it look like an automobile accident, and
gave me enough details about where and how she was going to do this
(just a couple of minutes away on the highway) that I realized she
was serious and might be moments away from death. I prayed in my
heart to know what to do, and the image of our newly repaired cell
phone came into my mind. And instantly I knew what I had to do.
went downstairs and picked up the cell phone from the kitchen counter
top as I continued to speak to her on our wireless handset. I dialed
911 on the cell phone and, while muting the other phone, explained
that I had a suicidal person on the line and would need their help
ASAP to rescue her. Thank God I had a savvy operator on the 911 line
who knew what to do. With two phones, one on each side of my face, I
began asking the distressed woman some questions and repeating
information to the 911 worker. "So you're calling me from a payphone at the
station on [such and such] street? And you're planning to do what? .
. ." I'd add some information secretly to the 911 worker to
further describe the woman, her vehicle, etc. And then I worked as
hard as I could to keep her on the line, asking some probing
questions and giving some things to think about, relying on my
natural verbosity (yay, I can help after all!) and praying fervently
in my heart. I needed to keep her there a few more seconds, a few
more seconds, . . . and then I heard some of the most wonderful
whining words of my life: "Oh, did you send these people?!
Aaah!" The police had arrived and they stopped her from carrying
out her plans. A very skilled and kind woman officer worked with her
and helped her through the problem, and I was able to meet with her a
few hours later.
giving away any details, let me just say that this woman has done
much to make the world a better place. She went on and accomplished
some pretty significant things in her life, though there has been
plenty of pain and even some other tragedies along the way, and some
mistakes. But the world is better for having her in it. What a
terrible loss it would have been if she had passed away that night
long ago. I'm so grateful to the Lord that our little defective cell
phone had come back to us just in time.
Jeff Lindsay has been defending the Church on the Internet since 1994, when he launched his
LDSFAQ website under JeffLindsay.com. He has also long been blogging about LDS matters on
the blog Mormanity (mormanity.blogspot.com). Jeff is a longtime resident of Appleton,
Wisconsin, who recently moved to Shanghai, China, with his wife, Kendra.
He works for an Asian corporation as head of intellectual property. Jeff and Kendra are the parents of 4 boys, 3 married and the the youngest on a mission.
He is a former innovation and IP consultant, a former professor, and former Corporate Patent
Strategist and Senior Research Fellow for a multinational corporation.
Jeff Lindsay, Cheryl Perkins and Mukund Karanjikar are authors of the book Conquering
Innovation Fatigue (John Wiley & Sons, 2009).
Jeff has a Ph.D. in Chemical Engineering from Brigham Young University and is a registered US
patent agent. He has more than 100 granted US patents and is author of numerous publications.
Jeff's hobbies include photography, amateur magic, writing, and Mandarin Chinese.