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A talk given to the Young Women, by Fawn Jones Taylor

Following is a talk given by Fawn Taylor to the Young Women of the American Fork Tenth Ward on Sunday, November 2, 1980.   Fawn had sent a copy of this talk to her cousin, Ardith Olsen Nielsen, and Ardith passed a copy of the letter to Dayna.  Ardith mentioned to Dayna that “Fawn and I were so close in our growing-up years.  We went through Franklin, Dixon, and Provo High together and we always had a lot of fun and she was very special to me.  I always loved her.”  In this talk, Fawn shares memories of her past and her testimony of the Lord.  Some of the stories she relates give valuable insights into Fawn’s life and values.
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Minerva Johnson was a girl about the age of some of you girls here today.  She was a student in a seminary class at Orem High School.  On a particular day she was absent from school.  The teacher of the Seminary class asked his student if they would all like to perform a “miracle”.  In almost a unanimous voice, they all said “Yes.” The teacher then told them of his plan.  He had become well aware of the unfriendliness of his class toward Minerva.  He had seen how each day she would sit alone, always at the back of the class — never speaking or being spoken to.  Her hair often looked unkempt, and although she was clean, she was never attractive in her dress or appearance.  “I would like each one of you to accept my challenge and do what I ask of you,” said the teacher.  “I want you to say hello to Minerva when you meet her in the halls.  Girls, I would like you to never let her sit alone.  In each class, make it a point to sit by her, walk with her in the halls and eat lunch with her, and let her know that you care.”  Minerva came to school the next day, and within a few days a miracle truly began to unfold.  She started to change.  She combed and brushed her hair; she started to smile more, and even began to initiate conversations.  Her style of clothing began to change, she laughed and smiled, she seemed to take personal pride in herself, and her life seemed to make a turn-around.  She became an achiever.  She participated in games and activities and in classroom discussions.  Well, you have probably guessed this, but yes, in her senior year she was a cheer leader.  Was this a miracle?  Yes, just because a teacher and a class set a goal together and unitedly achieved it.

Miracles can happen every day and do.  Not just in our Seminary classes but in our homes, our churches, and in all our daily walks of life.  There are many Minerva Johnsons in the world.  Are you setting goals every day to be friendly and kind to others?

I’m sure some of you have heard the following incident but it is so impressive I would like you to listen to it again.  “In a testimony meeting I attended not long ago, at the very end of the service, a girl arose and made her way to the front of the chapel where she stood for long moments in silence, her lips trembling and her eyes overflowing.  At last, when she had her emotions under control, she related the following experience.  Some three years previously, while her father was stationed with the military in Germany, he had made a thorough study of the principles of the gospel and at length had joined the church.  Within a year he was transferred back to the States, and his family settled in Maryland, where they immediately affiliated with one of the local wards.   This young woman, in her teens, found that there were four other girls in the ward her age, and with great expectations she looked forward to a close association with them as they all grew in the knowledge of the gospel.  Yet she discovered, quickly and painfully, that the girls in the new ward had a totally different idea about things.  They were a close group, their families were long-time residents, their fathers held important ward and stake positions, and they could see no need to disrupt their unity and established pattern of loving by becoming friends with an ‘army brat’, as they called her.   At first the girls were subtle in their persecutions, snickering when she was brave enough to make a comment in class, ignoring her when she spoke to them, and turning as a group and walking away laughing whenever she approached.  For a time she tried to ignore their rudeness, assuming that it was because she was new in the ward.  She felt that with a little time they would all become good friends.  She was wrong, however.  The passage of time seemed to aggravate and intensify the problems.  A strong girl, she was initially able to handle the situation emotionally, but after a period of weeks and months, she began to wonder what was wrong with her and even to feel that she was the one who was at fault.  To eliminate the snickering and giggling when she participated in class, she stopped taking part.  To keep the girls from pointedly ignoring her when she spoke to them, she quit speaking, both to them and others.  At school it became the practice of the four girls to call out and jeer whenever she appeared and it wasn’t long before she was slouching down and hiding her face simply so the first wouldn’t notice her.  At home her mother worried about her poor posture, but the pattern was established and was not easily changed.  For a year the ridicule and persecution continued, and it was so intense and so constant that it had a severe impact on her self-image.  They thought of her as a ‘nothing’; perhaps she really was.  Her parents did all in their power to correct the situation.  They went to the parents of each of the girls and talked with them.  They agreed to help.  Yet when they confronted their daughters, they denied their guilt.  The situation remained unchanged.  At length, realizing that their daughter was being destroyed emotionally, the girl’s parents decided they would send her west to live with her grandmother.  She agreed, and soon the word spread that she was leaving.  On her last Sunday in the ward, the four unkind girls approached the girl.  They were smiling and cheerful, and expressed regret that she was leaving.  The girl found it difficult to contain her emotions.  Was it possible?  Could it be that after a full year their attitudes were changing?  She wondered why they had suddenly taken a sincere interest in her.  The girls giggled and assured her that they were sincere.  They told her that they had purchased a going-away gift for her.  The gift was to prove their concern for her, and to tell her how they really felt about her.  The girl was so astounded that she stood mute as they handed her the gift, beautifully wrapped.  The girls scurried away, leaving her holding the gift.  She struggled with tears as she carefully unwrapped the gift.  At last the girls had changed their attitude.  She had waited so long and tried so hard to find friendship.  As the wrapping was removed, the girl stared into the box.  She could hold her tears no more.  She sobbed out her feelings.  Carefully placed in the beautifully wrapped gift box was a can of dog food.”

Girls, there are little daily things that we might find ourselves doing which tie in with this story.  Again, I emphasize the importance of being a good friend to everyone!  I hope you are all putting friendship on top of your list of priorities.  Please remember this little saying — ‘Anything that is hard to do carries with it many rewards.’

Let me tell you a story about two young people who were very much in love.  The young man’s name was Dean and the young woman was Fawn.  These two young people were faced with many important decision sand challenges.  They had talked of marriage, but now the bishop was suggesting a mission for Dean.  On evening on a date, Dean poured out his feelings to his girl friend, Fawn.  “Look,” he said, “I would like to be married but I have set some goals for myself in life, along with marriage.  I really have four other very important things I want.  First, I want to go on a mission, and second, I want to become a dentist, and third, I want to own a beautiful diamond ring someday, and fourth, I want to own a Cadillac.”  Fawn recovered after a few moments of silence.  It all looked so big and far away, but it didn’t take her long to say, “Is it okay if I wait for you while you are on your mission?”  They kissed and he assured her that he wanted her to wait for him.  Two and a half years passed by, and Fawn waited.  She went with Dean’s parents for a trip to San Francisco where Dean’s ship sailed into the harbor, having finished his mission.  After spending those months in South Africa, the young returned missionary had increased in his love for Fawn but also in his desire for diamonds, so he sold his classy German camera to purchase a diamond for his “special love”, Fawn.  They were married six months later in the Salt Lake Temple by David O. McKay.  They had marriage bliss in a little two-room apartment where the rent was $12.50 per month.  Now a young father with a little girl three years old, the determination to achieve a goal carried the couple to Portland, Oregon where Dean was to enter dental school.  Do you remember the saying about hard things having great rewards?  Dental school was very hard — money was scarce and hamburgers were a special treat.  Another baby girl arrived but with his diploma in hand, Dean could meet the future, no matter what it was.  Now with a successful dental practice, Dean and Fawn welcomed a third baby girl, and his desire for that diamond ring kept popping into Dean’s mind.  There were many grades and colors of diamonds, and this one had to be just perfect.  The purchase was made.  He finally had his diamond on his finger, and how it sparkled.  Then, another child arrived, this time a son.  Oh, how Dean and Fawn thanked the Lord for that little son.  Then came a new car — you guessed it — a beautiful new grey and white-trimmed Cadillac.

I have told you about these goals because there are some goals that are more important than others.  We call these ‘priorities’.  The mission molded a young boy into a man and brought souls into the Church.  The dental degree brought service to mankind and relief from suffering and poor oral hygiene.  The car was a lemon and turned up stolen one night and crashed in a mountainous area by those who stole it.  The diamond soon lost its importance and found itself in a drawer most of the time.  What are the true values in life?  What should be your priorities?  What goals are you outlining for yourselves personally?

Dr. W. Dean Taylor was, for ten years, the full-time dentist at the Utah State Training School in American Fork, Utah where he daily cared for over 1,000 mentally and physically handicapped residents.  He was loved and respected by all.  One employee said at the time of his death in May, 1979, “He was the most kind, patient, and loving man towards his fellow beings that I have ever met.”

To establish priorities in our lives, we make up our minds to discover what is really important to us.  Most people seek first for the riches and comforts of this world.  I thank the Lord for a good husband who put serving the Lord and preparing himself for responsibilities before riches and comfort.

Things haven’t changed in Mutual since I was a young girl just like you .  I’ve read through your Personal Progress book and the same expectations and ideals the church had for me, at still outlined for you today.

I am going to tell you about some personal things that have happened to me that will point out the result of my Personal Progress plans:  1) I know I am a daughter of God and I acknowledge that HE created me   2) I accepted the challenge to have an honorable marriage and bring children into the world   3) These are my jewels and my treasures — MY CHILDREN.  [At that point Fawn displayed a picture of her 4 children].

This poem, entitled “I’d Rather Be Tired Than Lonely”, expresses my feelings —

A few years ago my children were small, and I had so much to do,
I would often wonder at the close of day, if my work would ever be through.
There was washing and ironing and mending to do, there was work of every kind,
Sometimes I grew so tired and so weary, both in body and in mind.
There were little hands and faces to be washed, little hungry mouths to be fed,
And a thousand other duties to keep me busy, till it was time to go to bed.
Sometimes my footsteps were heavy indeed, and I wished I could slip away,
And rest alone by my weary self, for just a single day.
Now the years have passed so quickly by, and my little ones are grown,
Not a single one is with me still, all have families of their own.
My house is empty and quiet at last, it seems that it can’t be true,
And there’s plenty of time for resting now, and there’s not much work to do.
But gladly would I work hard again, from morning until night,
For I’d rather be tired than lonely as now, with seldom a child in sight.

Ever since I was a young girl, I have kept a daily dairy, and now a daily journal.  Girls, have you set your goal to keep a journal?  [At this point, Fawn displayed a diary, 2 journals, a scrap book, a photo album, a “precious to me” book, and a book of remembrance.]  My husband and I went to France in 1966 to pick up our daughter Deanna from her mission in France.  We purchased a Volkswagen in Germany and used it to tour Europe.  We had the car shipped to New York, and we were going to drive it from there back to Nevada.  A shipping strike occurred and we were held up in New York, waiting for the car to arrive.  We went to many shows, went on tourist sight-seeing trips, shopped, and did all the things we could think of in New York.  We finally visited a television show call “The Price Is Right”, with Bill Cullen as the host.  When we returned for the second day to watch the show, I was lucky enough to be selected as a contestant.  I was on the show for three days and won over $6000 in prizes.  I won 12 Alaskan blankets, a boat with motor and trailer, a 12-day cruise to Alaska, and entertainment unit that included a color television, stereo and radio, and $2500 worth of silver trays, bowls, cups, etc.  Here is what we did with the winnings.  We gave the blankets away as wedding gifts, we sold the boat to pay the income taxes for the other winnings, we sold most of the silver items, we enjoyed the trip to Alaska, and we installed the entertainment unit in our home.  I have kept a few choice pieces of the silver set to give to my daughters and son in the future.  I would like to relate my silver pieces to my testimony.  I keep my silver polished and free from tarnish, and I keep my life polished with my testimony of the gospel.  I know of a lady who carefully packed away her beautiful silver so that it could be protected and not stolen.  One day she brought her silver out of storage and found that the silver had lost its beauty and worth.  It was now dark and gray, almost black in color, tarnished with age.  Aren’t our testimonies like that?  Unless we testify to others, keep our testimonies fresh in our minds, bear them to others, and use them often, they too will soon become useless and something of not much importance in our lives.

Girls, my testimony is sacred to me.  I love my Father in Heaven dearly, and my brother, Jesus Christ, and the Holy Ghost.  I love President Kimball and am willing to follow his teachings, as he is the prophet of God.  I have visited the home of Joseph Smith, and the Sacred Grove.  I saw the bullet hole in the door of the room that held him captive and the well below where his body fell.  This ended the life of our dear prophet in those days.  I have a great desire to some day return to my Heavenly Father and be called a faithful daughter of Zion.

One night in Reno, Nevada we were holding family night in our home, and I was giving the lesson.  I was telling our children that I would gladly leave all my worldly possessions and go east if I was worthy to be called when the exodus of the Saints occurs, to go to Missouri and dwell in Adam-Ondi-Ahman.  I told them that all the prophets who have ever lived on the earth will be there and only the honorable and just and worthy Saints will be called to go.  This would mark the beginning of the Millennium.  My husband had just given me a beautiful mink stole as a gift, and as I looked at my son Michael, who was only about 5 at the time, I could tell he was troubled.  I said, “What’s the matter, Michael?  Don’t you believe this prophecy that all these things will happen?  He said, “Yes, but mom, you would go to Missouri and not take your mink stole?”  I told him that I would gladly leave behind my stole, our home, everything in our home, and never look back, because I love the Lord and the gospel that much.

Service to others and having compassion for those in need have always been very important to me.  In Reno, where we lived for 20 years, I was Relief Society President at one time and learned how important service and compassion are, for they are the goals of the Relief Society organization.  Whenever I would cook or bake something, our children would always say, “Mother, is this for us or are you taking it to someone?”

One night about a year after my wonderful companion had passed away, I set a goal just before I went to bed.  I decided that the next day was going to be a good day.  Why? Because I was going to make it a good day.  The plan was set!  The next morning, I was up bright and early in my kitchen cooking and baking.  By 3:00 or 4:00 I had prepared dinner for two families in the ward plus many goodies to take around to those whom I felt needed a lift.  It was a good day — only because I made it that way by setting a short-term goal.

[At this point, Fawn displayed a picture of her husband, Dean, and read the following poem].]

If I should die and leave you here awhile,
Be not like others, sore and undone,
Who keep long vigils by the silent dust and weep;
For my sake, turn again to life and smile,
Nerving thy heart and trembling hand,
To do something to comfort weaker hearts than thine.
Complete thee, dear, unfinished tasks of mine,
That I perchance may therein comfort you.

How thankful I am for goodly parents and for the love they had for each other and their children.  I will always try to honor them in death as I did in life.  My good mother taught me to pray.  Prayer is such a very important part of my everyday life.  I could never have carried on without it.  With prayer and trust in the Lord, I can face things that come into my life whether great or small.  The best part of the day for me is the time I kneel in prayer.  I am always striving for personal and social refinement.  I love the arts and at one time was an office in the Pageant of the Arts Guild.,  I love continuing education and try to take classes and keep learning whenever possible.  I get refreshed at Education Week every year at BYU.

When the Provo Temple opened, I set a goal to be a worker in that wonderful temple.  I had learned to type on the old conventional typewriters and I knew I would have to operate an electric one which is not an easy task to learn.  I enrolled in night school for one winter and there brushed up on my typing and took other classes.  It was so enjoyable.  I did get the job at the temple as the Head Operator of the switch board and also did much office work.  I had so many spiritual experiences in that holy house.

I often enroll in ceramic classes, and I took piano lessons for 18 months.  I love to read and enjoy keeping my journals.  The journals I have shown you are of great worth to me.  I try to keep physically fit by walking often and doing some form of physical exercise.  I try to eat right, which is not easy when you live alone.

To once again reinforce the importance of keeping a journal, I would like to read to you what I wrote on the day I lost my dear husband, May 15, 1979:

“This is the most difficult recording I’ll ever make in my journal, I’m sure, because I lost my dear Dean today from the cancer that has been plaguing his body for the past five years.  He passed away very quietly in his sleep at about 2:20 in the American Fork Hospital.  I was alone with him when he went.  He had been in a coma more or less all day and never recognized me when I went this morning at 7:30.  I’ve lost the best guy and sweetheart a girl ever had.  Oh, how I loved him.  These past months have been hard to stand by and see him slowly slipping away, but how easy it has been to recall the happiness and marvelous marriage we have had together.  It is easy to remember only the good and forget any problems we ever had, whether big or small.  He was loved by so many and was such a dear person.  I had spent the morning over in Provo seeing Clyde Sandgren, our lawyer and then back to be with Dean and wait for his twin brother, Von , to come from Nevada.  He arrived, but it was twenty minutes too late.  Dean was gone, only his earthly shell remained, his spirit had returned to his Father in Heaven.  Oh, what a loss for me.  But the Lord is blessing me and being a comfort to me.  I know I’ll get along alright.  All my children came flying home to me, what a blessing they are.  Brother McQuivey came over to help us with arrangements, but he didn’t have to much to do.  We had already worked most of our problems out and planned the funeral.  So many called and came to see us.  We went to the Burger Cottage for a bit to eat.  Preston and Isabel Gledhill came over.  When they left, the children did also, all except Michael.  He stayed here with me.  After a beautiful prayer together, we went to bed.”

Will you girls always remember that journals must have feeling and emotional impact, not just dates and facts?  Did all of you re-live those sad moments with me as I read the account of losing my husband?  Did you almost feel you were there too?

Many sisters have come to me and said, “Sister Taylor, if I ever lose my husband, I hope I can be as brave and strong as you are.”  Well, think back to what I said in my journal about being blessed by the Lord and getting along alright.  The goal was set.  I did it myself with a goal, just me and the Lord.  This is what has carried me on and always will.

A young mother now living in Pleasant Grove was once asked what had attributed more in her life than anything else to her success as a mother and her being able to achieve spiritual heights in her life.  She told this story.  As a young girl in the 9th Grade, she received instructions from her mother that she was to choose the classes she would take the following year.  Her mother told her to choose classes that would prepare her for life.  She told her not to waste her precious school time by attending Seminary.  The girl replied that she wanted to take the classes that would help her prepare for life, and I am going to take Seminary because that will prepared me for spiritual life.  She set the goal and her Mutual teacher helped her achieve it.  This girl, by her own choice, graduated from Seminary, despite the constant reminder from her mother that she was wasting her time.  She went on a mission and married in the temple.  Surely this girl’s mother learned that she had a precious daughter and that she was honorable in the sight of the Lord.  While other parents worried about what problem would come next due to their teenagers, this mother had no such worries.

In Sacramento, California, a lovely young LDS girl named Sharon came to her parents and cried out to them the sad word that she was pregnant.  The boy involved did not want to marry her even though she was in love with him.  Her parents did not want her to insist that he marry her so they went to their bishop and asked if there was some place they could send her for the next seven months.  He contacted the stake president and he in turn called a stake president in Reno, Nevada, where we were living at the time.  “Do you have a nice LDS family in Reno who would be willing to take in a young girl for 7 months during a pregnancy?” the stake president asked.  Soon Dean Taylor’s phone was ringing.  The question was put to my husband and me and the answer was yes.  We were willing to have her live with us.  She was a joy to us and soon became one of the family.  When her baby was due, her parents came and took her home to have it.  She had a little girl and we have since heard that the father of the baby dated and romanced her all over again and they eventually married.  This dress I have on today was purchased with the $80 Sharon’s mother insisted on paying us for helping them out.  It is another of my treasures that I keep in my memory of unusual experiences along the way.

This diamond I have on my finger was the diamond my husband bought many, many years ago.  Each time I look at it, I remember the night he gave it to me for my birthday, and told me that he thought it had lost its importance to him and that he wanted me to have it.  It was then in a beautiful dinner ring setting, but I later lost my diamond from my original engagement ring so we had it made into this lovely setting.

Dear girls of the ward.  It has been a joy to talk to you.  If I have converted just one girl to setting goals, one girl to righteous living, one girl to making good memories (because good memories come from good choices), then I will feel that all this has been worthwhile.  Remember — The things that are hard to do are the most rewarding!

I love you all and say these things in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.

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