(Compiled by Dennis B. Horne)
serving as a bishop, I went to the temple to be a witness for a young couple who
had been raised in my ward. I had known them a good many years and was
delighted to give them their temple recommends and to attend the temple with
them. Neither of their parents were able to go and so it was a great privilege
for me to go with them.
A. Widtsoe of the Council of the Twelve had agreed to perform the marriage.
After speaking to the young couple he began the sealing ceremony. Almost
immediately I recognized that he had left out an important part of the
ceremony. I looked around the room and no one else seem to have noticed the
error. I wondered what would happen if I stopped him. I did it anyway. He
turned to me and said, "Bishop, have I made a mistake?" and I said,
"Yes, I think you left out part of the ceremony." He immediately
apologized and said, I will start over. After, he thanked me for being brave
enough to interrupt him. I am grateful and so were the couple.
One day in 1952, Brother Cowley called me and asked if I would be willing to drive him and Elder John A. Widtsoe to Delta, Utah. They had been assigned to reorganize the stake presidency and neither of them felt like driving. I arranged my affairs and drove them down on Saturday morning. We had a lovely ride. I had met Brother Widtsoe a few times and knew him to be a delightful person, but I did not realize what a fine sense of humor he had.
were busy during the day, I worked on some things I had brought. When it was
time for the Saturday evening priesthood leadership meeting, Brother Widtsoe
announced to the large gathering that I would be the speaker of the evening
inasmuch as he and Brother Cowley still had work to do and had not completed
their assignment. He told them he had been waiting for hours to hear me speak
and was now delighted to listen. But as I stood up, he promptly excused himself
and he and Brother Cowley left the room—to laughter of everyone.
Since I had been asked to talk on welfare work I spoke to
the priesthood brethren on that subject.
After the meeting, Brother Cowley went to stay with an old
missionary friend and Brother Widtsoe and I checked into a motel. I stayed with
Brother Widtsoe because he was getting older and needed help.
morning, Brother Widtsoe brought out a large peach which someone had given to
him the previous day. He had taken good care of it so he could eat it for his
breakfast. When he spoke in the Sunday morning session, he announced to
everyone that he had a lovely breakfast. He also told how he and I were
related. He said he wanted to explain it in detail. He told the congregation
that his mother and my mother had both dried their clothes under the same sun;
therefore we were related.
conference was over and all the work finished, we left for home. Brother Cowley
had been given a box full of sandwiches, fruit, and some cupcakes with two or
three different flavors of frosting. Brother Cowley sat in the back seat. When
we had eaten our individual lunches, he handed Brother Widtsoe a chocolate
flavored cupcake—which he seemed to thoroughly enjoy. After a while Brother Widtsoe
said, "If you brethren won't tell my wife, I'd like another chocolate
cupcake." That was a wonderful experience, with two wonderful Apostles.
[Editorial Note: Elder Widstoe’s wife was known to be a little strict on issues
relating to the word of wisdom and had even written a book on the subject.
Chocolate was one of those items she did not approve of, so whenever Elder
Widstoe could get chocolate and sugar without incurring her displeasure, he
comment on the above:] Early in 1947 Elder Matthew Cowley asked me to drive him
to Delta, Utah for the weekend. I said, “President, I‘m too busy with my ward
and other things, I just can‘t do it. I just can‘t get away.” Then he said to
me, “I‘ve been assigned to reorganize the stake down in Delta with Elder John
A. Widstoe, who is about 80 years of age. The two of us need someone to drive
us.” I said, “President, I wish I could, but I‘ve got all kinds of things I
have to do. You know I‘m a bishop don‘t you?”
He said, “I
understand that.” Then he stopped and said, “By the way, Bishop, how many
apostles does it take to ask you to take them on a little trip to Delta, Utah
I looked at
him and we laughed, and I said, “Okay, I‘ll take you.” So I drove them down and
was with them all day Saturday and until after midnight on Sunday night when I
finally got them back home. It was a great experience. Six years later, Brother
Widstoe died. Seven years later, Brother Cowley died.
about this magnificent experience when I was with two great apostles who were
both marvelous men, and how I thought I was too busy to do it. I really wasn‘t
too busy and when I took time to do what they wanted me to do; I received a
great blessing because of it. Brother Widstoe and I had a lot to do with each
other from then on. It was one of those great experiences that I almost missed.
Cowley and I were in Evanston, Wyoming, at a café, and there was a slot machine
there. I had a quarter. I went over by the machine and got my quarter out. He came
over by me and asked, “What are you doing.” I said, “I’m just getting rid of
the quarter.” I pulled the slot machine and nothing happened. He reached into
his pocket and said, “Here’s a quarter. Play this one for me. I’m not allowed
to do it.” So I did that. Same result.
he and Brother Widstoe were assigned to go to Elko, Nevada, for a stake
conference. When they got there they were put in a fancy hotel with a casino
where there was all kinds of gambling. They had to walk through the casino in
order to get to their rooms.
hundreds of people gambling on all different things. Brother Widstoe was very
interested in everything that was going on, so after they got in their rooms
they went back. He said to Brother Cowley, “I’ve never seen anything like this!
What are these people doing here?” So Brother Cowley explained that they were
playing Black Jack and that it was a card game. He said, “Tell me what they
do.” So Brother Cowley explained to him all about it. Then he turned to ask, “What
are they doing over here?” Brother Cowley said, “They are rolling dice and are
gambling on those dice.” He said, “Tell me how they do that?” So Brother Cowley
explained all of that. Then, Brother Widstoe saw a roulette wheel and went over
by it. Everybody was putting money down by the roulette wheel and Brother
Widstoe said, “What in the world are they doing here?” So, Brother Cowley
explained to him all about that.
Cowley told me that they went all over the casino and he explained all he knew about
the various games. He said to me, “Brother Widstoe was in an environment he had
never been in before, but he expected that I knew everything and he was pretty
right.” He said, “I thought to myself, how in the world does he think I know
all of these things!”