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In high school I agreed to attend the church meeting of a friend of another faith. The pastor gave his sermon, and then asked all visitors to please sign the cash register at the back of the chapel. “I mean the guest register,” he said, quickly correcting himself. My friend whispered, “Boy, if that wasn’t a Freudian slip…”
Psychoanalyst Sigmund Freud thought these blunders reveal our subconscious thoughts, but they’re usually innocent—if often embarrassing– mistakes. One of our kids once prayed, “Help us all be violent warriors.” Some of these become amusing sayings, such as “If it isn’t one thing, it’s your mother.” This is exacerbated by words that sound alike, such as wife and life, cavalry and Calvary, or mother and other.
And sometimes slips really do reveal our inner feelings. Years ago when my mother was asked if she cared whether I was having a girl or a boy, she said, “I don’t care, as long as she’s healthy.” Another time I heard a young woman say, “This is my fiancé,” when introducing her fairly new boyfriend.
So I was delighted one Fast Sunday when a young girl stepped up to bear a beautiful, heartfelt testimony, and said, “I know we have a loving prophet.”
What a wonderful twist on the common phrase, “a living prophet.” And what a profound moment, when all of us could realize that Thomas S. Monson is both. Right away I thought of dozens of stories about his endless compassion, especially as he spends hours each week visiting the lonely among us.
As a young bishop, he often visited the 84 widows in his ward, and spoke at every one of their funerals. I thought of his painful climb after foot surgery, up the stairs in Germany, to visit a bedridden member. I thought of him saving a friend on the brink of suicide. I remembered the stories of him constantly visiting those in the hospital, one by one. I pictured him delivering chickens, ready for roasting. He served in the Navy reserve, and I recalled hearing of the countless letters he wrote to servicemen all his life. A true disciple of Christ, he has always been the example of Christian charity and heartfelt love. Always emulating the Savior’s admonition to love others, he was even known to give away his suits and shoes when on assignment.
So often we bear testimony that our church’s President really is a prophet, chosen of God. We explain to those investigating our faith that this is Christ’s original church, restored and organized with the same structure and officers. We say how wonderful it is to have a living prophet upon the earth. But maybe we need to add some details about how incredible he actually is, and how beautifully he wears that mantle. Yes, he is a living prophet. But the whole world should know how loving he is, too. What a wonderful lesson I learned in the sweet testimony of a child.