(Compiled by Dennis B. Horne)
In April of 1975, Dr. Norman Vincent Peale of the Marble Collegiate Church, and his wife, spent more than two hours with me on Welfare Square. We had a lovely visit and I showed him the storehouse and other facilities. He sat in my office and asked questions. At the conclusion of the visit, Dr. Peale expressed his deep feelings about what he had seen. He wrote on his referral card that day, "Here is one of the greatest demonstrations of practical Christianity I have ever seen."
Dr. Peale was one of America's most famous Christian ministers. The following is an excerpt of his broadcast on WOR Radio, New York City, on April 27, 1975. The title of the broadcast was, "Strong Faith Always Wins Over Difficulties." It gives an idea of how Dr. Peale felt after a visit to Salt Lake City:
Now, I had a difficulty I'd been struggling with for two or three weeks. It's not necessary to go into it—it's irrelevant, but to me it was a difficulty and a real one, and I put into practice all of these procedures that I've mentioned. In fact, this sermon really comes out of personal experience.
The other day I went to speak in Salt Lake City, Utah, and I was invited to come to the headquarters of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, commonly known as the Mormon Church, to be received by the President of the Church and his two associate presidents. This is a tremendous religious organization, Two and one-half million members around the world—does a vast amount of good for people. They must be doing God's work because they seem to produce such fine people—happy, moral, honest, righteous human beings—and by your fruits you shall know them.
I had never met this present President; I've known the preceding presidents of the Mormon Church. The present President is President Kimball and he's gone through indescribable difficulty, physically and otherwise. I met with them in this room which Woodrow Wilson said was the most beautiful room in the United States—and it is magnificent [Editorial Note: probably the First Presidency’s boardroom in the Church Administration Building]—and there were these three dedicated men—President Tanner, President Romney, and the head president, President Kimball. Then we had a pleasant conversation and, finally, at the end I said to the President, because I felt that he was so spiritual, I said, "President Kimball, would you bless me?" He said, "You mean you want me to give you a blessing such as I give our people?" I said, "Yes." So he came around behind me with the other two presidents and they put their hands on my head and President Kimball in his quiet, sincere, loving manner prayed for me by name and asked the Lord to be near to me and love me and to take care of me and to guide me, and as he talked I began to be very broken up and touched, and then all of a sudden I had a wondrous feeling of the presence and I said to him, "Sir, He is here; I feel His presence." We said goodbye; I walked out into that crisp, sun-kissed morning and looked up from that main street to the Wasatch Mountains on one side and the Oquirrh Mountains on the other, all of them covered, they say, with deep snow, and as I walked along, I suddenly felt the burden lift and I saw the answer to the difficulty and I felt the victory. In a sense I had called upon the Lord and He had answered me; I had cried to Him and He said, "Here I am."
Well, that's it. Practice the presence in difficulty and the victory will be yours . . .
I had the privilege of meeting the prime minister of New Zealand during the week of the New Zealand Temple dedication. He had been to the temple open house and was at the dedication of the new Church College of New Zealand (which is a school for secondary students).
Walter Nash was a world-famous man. He had been New Zealand's prime minister for quite some time and had traveled all over the world. He was particularly interested in the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO). He had met many of the great men of the world, such as, Winston Churchill, Charles DeGaulle, several presidents of the United States, and other important people.
In 1964 I was in New Zealand on a Church assignment and was touring the New Zealand South Mission. With President Fred W. Schwendiman, and my son, Lee, who was serving as a missionary, we went to the Parliament Building. Walking down the hall, I recognized Walter Nash. He was now the former prime minister and had been knighted by the king of England. As we approached, he smiled at us and we stopped. I introduced myself and said that I had met him on the occasion of the Church school's dedication. I introduced President Schwendiman and my son. After a moment, he looked at me and asked, (knowing I had just come from America) "How is your great president?" I immediately knew he did not mean the president of the United States; he meant President David 0. McKay. I said, "President David 0. McKay is getting old, he is having some troubles." He smiled and said, "Walter Nash is getting old and having some of the same troubles." Then he said, "I want you three men to know that I have met all of the great men of the world during the past many years. I have seen them, been in meetings with them, and felt of their great worth, but I have never met a greater man in all my life than your President David O. McKay. We thanked him and left. I have never forgotten that great tribute given to President McKay.