A true face of “Mormonism”

In ten minutes a friend is being buried or rather the funeral service starts. I feel so sad about not being there, but “Sparky” has to be fetched in 25 minutes and he would never behave, sitting still and being reverent. What 4-year-old would? And for Ellen’s sake, I do not want to add that to the funeral. I wish I knew what to say to Ellen. Ellen who always cries at testimony meetings. Ellen that cries when she is happy, when she is sad, when she hears a beautiful song… Ellen who was like a teenager in love, even though she and Rob had been married for 9 years. Not until he died, did I find out that she is only 31 and he was 52. That is why he has grown children living in the US.

Rob always had a smile on his face when you ran in to him in Church. And now and then I would talk to him and it was the most wonderful thing to listen to his South African accent. He spoke the funniest Swedish with it. It was such a nice thing to listen to his prayers and his talks in Church, and that cool way of talking. But what did I really know about him? That he was from South Africa. But not a whole lot more. Not more than that he was a very, very friendly man, always happy and always ready to serve. About a year ago, they both went to the US to visit his children and then we heard the terrible news that he had had a bad stroke while over there. It took months before they returned home. But when they came back, he was in his usual happy mood. A little bit shorter hair. That was it. But I found out that he was having a tough time. He was called to be a primary teacher in church and the good man that he is, he said yes. His class were full of rascals. 5-7 year-olds. I found out from the primary president that every Sunday after church, he had to lay down and sleep for hours because he was totally exhausted from the sound. And Primary is NOT quiet. There is singing and learning songs by playing games, sometimes loud ones. After finding out, I always wondered why he did not go out when it was rowdy. But he did not. He stayed and suffered. At the end, before we all walk off to our classes, they do “heads, shoulders, knees and toes” since the children need to move about a little. I refuse to do it. My dresses are not made for play nor does my low blood pressure do very well from going up and down quickly. But Rob would always, always play along. And I feared every Sunday that he was going to collapse! That he would have a stroke while doing that game. He was such a trooper, such a fighter. Around the beginning of September, Ellen went to Argentina with work I think. She phoned him every day. And then one day, the 6th, she could not get hold of him. She phoned a friend in church and asked him to drive out to their house to see that Rob was alright. The friend could not get in so he phoned the police and after breaking down the door, they found Rob dead. He had talked with someone on Facebook the same day. And then it was over. A massive stroke I guess. Like the one he got in the US. Our bishop spoke about it, after Rob had died. He said that the doctors had told Rob that the stroke he had, ought to have killed him. He survived through a miracle. I think he did for a purpose. If I understood it right, he and Ellen did not get married in the Temple until a couple of days before he died. That must be why he got to live an extra year, to get to do the right thing.

The funeral has now started. Poor Ellen. In a way I am glad that I am not there because if I saw her crying, I would cry as well and as bad. “Dollie” has taken off from school today to be there for Ellen. So has T. Daniel felt that he could not miss school. I think of Rob’s face right now and about an article I read yesterday on the net.

Washington • Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid says he agrees with a fellow Mormon who wrote recently that Mitt Romney has “sullied” the LDS faith and that the GOP presidential candidate is “not the face of Mormonism.”

Reid, a Mormon Democrat from Nevada, blasted Romney in a conference call for reporters over a litany of things the Republican nominee has said recently. And Reid added that Latter-day Saints aren’t buying Romney’s rhetoric.

“He’s coming to a state where there are a lot of members of the LDS Church,” Reid said in advance of Romney’s Friday visit to Nevada. “They understand that he is not the face of Mormonism.”

Reid, the highest-ranking Mormon in elected office in America, noted on Friday a recent opinion piece published in the Huffington Post by Gregory A. Prince, co-author of “David O. McKay and the Rise of Modern Mormonism.”

Prince, who said he backed Romney in his Massachusetts gubernatorial bid and in his 2008 run for president, railed against GOP nominee after a surreptitiously recorded video emerged in which the candidate said 47 percent of Americans play the victim card and believe they are entitled to government handouts.

“Judge Mitt Romney as you will, and vote for or against him as you will; but do not judge Mormonism on the basis of the Mitt Romney that was unveiled to the public this week,” Prince wrote. “He is not the face of Mormonism.”

Reid, on the conference call, said, “I agree with him”.

Rob was one face of the church. His happy smile. His deep love for Ellen. His love for the children in church was so strong that he accepted a calling that was too heavy for him. He was the little man but in my eyes a great man and a face of Mormonism. (A word I really hate. We are Latter-day Saints, not Mormons!)


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