A Humble Mormon Elder
Excerpt from a talk titled: Be What You Will To Be by Hugh B. Brown
“I was at one time an army officer. As such, I became accustomed to having men stand at attention and salute me and call me ‘sir,’ and frankly, I liked it.
“Often men came and asked for favors—perhaps a furlough or a leave or some thing that they thought I could grant—because they knew that I was an officer of the King [of England] and that I had the right to speak in his name. And so as they came I handed the ‘blessings’ down to them and I became more haughty and self-important with each event.
“One day a messenger came to my hotel just off Piccadilly Circus. He said, ‘You are wanted immediately in the hospital.’
“I thought, ‘Well, here is another boy that wants something. I will go down and see what is wanted.’
“I called a taxi and went to the hospital.
“When I arrived the doctors stood at attention and saluted, and that fed my ego. The nurses treated me with great respect and that pleased me even more.
“They directed me to a little room and as I pushed open the door, I saw an emaciated young man lying on a cot. I recognized him as a former Sunday School student of mine in Cardston, Canada.
“When he greeted me, he did not use my rank in his salutation, but simply said, ‘Brother Brown, I sent for you to ask if you would use your authority in my behalf.’ (I thought, ‘Well, this is what I expected. What does he want?’)
“ ‘Brother Brown,’ he said, ‘you know I have a widowed mother; I am her only son; the doctors say I cannot live; will you give me my life!’
“I thought, ‘My goodness, the King of England can’t give him his life. To what is he referring?’
“Then he startled me with a request: ‘Will you administer to me!’
“At that moment … my uniform, with the insignia on it, seemed to melt away, and I stood before that young man in a uniform with insignia indicating authority. I could not have worn that uniform, which was next to my skin, if I had not had some authority given to me. I stood there thinking of that authority, and I was humbled but inspired.
“I went over to his cot and knelt beside him. I put my hands on his head and said, ‘In the name of Jesus Christ and by the authority of the holy priesthood, I bless you and promise you that you will get well and return to your mother.’ God honored that promise.
“I went into that hospital a proud British officer, and I came out a humble Mormon elder. Ever since then I have earnestly tried to remember that there is a power and authority given to man, not from the king or the president, but from the King of Kings, and if we live properly and do not forget that we have been so endowed, we may exercise that authority in behalf of those who need our ministration.”