This has been a wonderful Father's Day. I just hope that your activities have been just as rewarding in their way as mine have been. I welcomed an opportunity to speak in sacrament meeting (sound weird to you?) It wasn't that it was just a chance to speak--I felt that the subject offered me an opportunity to share some of my Dad's rather spiritual experiences. Brother Dennis White asked me to relate some experiences which showed that my father listened to the promptings of the Spirit. And benefited from doing so. I am not going to share my whole talk with you, but I feel that a part of it might be of benefit to you--and help you to appreciate your great-grandfather just a little more.
My father, Riley Edmund Taylor, was born in 1886, the 9th of 11 children of the first bishop of Farr West, William Andrew Taylor, and his wife Philomela Lake. When Riley was just under 6 years of age, his father died of a ruptured appendix, leaving an overwhelmed 39-year-old widow to care for and direct the lives of eight children. One of her youngest daughters has described in family reunions how her mother would occasionally have crying spells for days at a time. I can understand why.
Riley's only brother, Will, was married just a month after his father died--at his mother's encouragement, and even though HE was good to help with the heavier work, Riley had to become the man of the family--again at age 6--a rather challenging assignment in pioneer life. He learned to do some of the difficult chores by using his ingenuity. For example, in order to get the harness up onto the work horse's back, he tied a rope to one hame of the harness, throw the rope up over the horse's neck, and pull on the other end of the rope until he could get the hames latched into the leather groove on the collar.
I feel sure that because my Dad loved his widowed mother very much, he was spiritually attuned to his mother's needs, and he found ways to support her all the rest of her days. And he honored her all the rest of HIS days.
In about 1906, Riley's oldest sister Mary and her husband moved to Lewisville, Idaho with their young family. I like to think that the Spirit directed Riley to accompany them While he was in Lewisville, he attended an MIA dance one night, where a friend from Harrisville introduced him to Bishop David Kinghorn's daughter Bessie. They were both attracted to one another. When Riley came back to Utah, he and his girl friend were already making plans for a future marriage in the temple. It could not be right away; he had no 'nest egg" set aside, I am sure. However, both had chosen an eternal partner wisely.
Then it happened. A letter from "Box B" in Salt Lake City contained a call for Riley to serve in the Northwestern States Mission with headquarters in Portland. An uncle opined that Riley was needed more at home than in the mission field, but Riley's mother urged him to accept the call, saying it would be easier for her to support him than it was for her to support her husband when he had been called to serve in the Northwestern States Mission in 1877. Riley wisely listened to his mother (how grateful I am! because of what it meant to our home life at a later date!) My mother, too, encouraged him to accept the call.
Heeding the call from the Lord, Riley was a changed young man two years later when he took his bride-to-be to the Salt Lake Temple to be united in the Lord's way. I'm so grateful that they both listened to the Spirit! I am the recipient of the choicest blessings in eternity because my parents made intelligent choices to follow the Spirit.
I am so grateful that my parents made it a habit to follow the promptings of the Spirit. It was good training for me. We can all profit from that example. God bless you as you endeavor to follow this example! Love, Brian