(Compiled by Dennis B. Horne)
[Editorial Note: Brother Rudd reminisces about earlier days in his life when he became friends with a man who would become the President of the Church.]
Once a month, all the bishoprics in our stake met with the stake presidency in a lengthy meeting, after which almost everyone was most anxious to go straight home.
But Bishop Thomas Monson of the Sixth-Seventh Ward, a young fellow of only 22 or 23 years of age, was never anxious to call it quits. Frequently, at his suggestion, we would go get our wives and end up in the local ice cream parlor to enjoy a sundae or banana split and visit about the interesting things we were doing.
I always marveled at Tom's capacity to keep going. After those long stake meetings, I was usually ready for bed. However, those little visits together at the ice cream parlor were worthwhile and payed off greatly for each of us.
The “Monson Building”
In 1956, our family moved to 1945 Lambourne Avenue, near East Millcreek; where we have been living ever since.
When we moved, Thomas S. Monson was in the stake presidency, and we had been working very closely together in Aaronic priesthood activities. He volunteered to help us move; and when he showed up, I asked him to move all the fireplace logs into the furnace room in the basement. I got busy with something and forgot to relieve him of that assignment. To this day, he claims that I injured his back. A month later, he moved; and for some reason, I forgot to volunteer my help. And he has not let me forget that either. Shortly after he moved, he insisted on having a nice, big chicken coop for a few very select, prize chickens. Over the last forty years, President Monson has always owned some excellent chickens.
When he was building his coop, he insisted that I also have one. So I had a 10' x 12' coop built with a nice concrete floor, slanting roof, adequate windows, a roost for the chickens, and four nests to receive the eggs. The only thing we failed to get was chickens. I stalled, then stalled some more.
Now, after forty-one years, I am still stalling, even though I keep thinking that if I can get away with it, we may get a few good laying hens. However, I'm not sure that zoning ordinances will allow us to do that anymore.
In the meantime, it has served a good purpose. In it we have stored many things, including benches, tables, and a snow blower. Not long ago, we took out the nests, but the roost is still there, filled with odds and ends.
On the front of the building is a sign which reads, "Monson Building." All the neighborhood children have grown up knowing that this building had been "officially" named and speak of it with great respect. President Monson has never publicly said anything about the name of the building; but often he has told of his good friend Glen Rudd who built a chicken coop and never filled it with chickens. And every so often, he reminds me of how he moved the fireplace logs.
While I was presiding over the temple in New Zealand in the 1980s, I received a phone call from President Monson which was more or less a visit. He said, “By the way, they are tearing your chapel down.” He said, “I have been down to see what they have been doing. I got one of the benches from the building given to me, and I am going to keep it until you come home.” He said, “I will take it to the basement of the Church Administration Building where we have some storage space. It will be put there until you are released and come back home.”
I visualized a great big bench, but I was wrong. What he got was a little one on the far side where the deacons sat. It was just big enough for four deacons to sit. It was the bench I sat on while I was a deacon from the time I was 12 to 14.
When we finally arrived home from New Zealand, President Monson said, “Let’s go get your bench.” We went down and put it in the station wagon to take it home. It is now in the family room in the basement of my home.
I have never forgotten the experiences I had as a deacon. Now 83 years have passed since I first sat on that bench. It is always a thrill for me to go down and sit on it, just to refresh my memories and to once again appreciate the thoughtfulness of Thomas S. Monson. He got it for me, took care of it, and helped deliver it to my home.
Upon the death of President Gordon B. Hinckley, the Church was reorganized on Sunday, February 3, 2008, and President Thomas S. Monson was ORDAINED as President of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and set apart to preside over the Church as the presiding high priest. This was done by President Boyd K. Packer, who was then set apart as President of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles. President Monson also set apart President Henry B. Eyring as his first counselor and President Dieter F. Uchtdorf as his second counselor.
As everyone knows, there is a Quorum of the Twelve and there is also a Quorum of the First Presidency. I have asked on very good authority whether or not it was an ordination, and I was told that, without any question, President Monson had been ORDAINED to his office.