“When they are learned…”, by Elder Glen L. Rudd
Elder Glen L. Rudd served as President of the Florida Mission during the late 1960’s, and he relates the following story, which occurred during the time that he served in Florida.
“A few years ago, while presiding over Florida Mission, which included part of Georgia, we met a civil engineer named Richie. This fine man was interested in the
Church, but didn’t want to join; he just wanted to read about it. The more he read, the more knowledgeable he became, and the more confused he became. He got up every morning for three years and went to early-morning seminary, along with about six young people in a branch of 150. He would tell us, ‘I love the Church, the Church is wonderful. But if I join the Mormon Church, you have only 150 members here. I’m the head of this large church of 2,400 people. I’m the one who selects the minister. I’m the chairman of the local group of lay members. What in the world would I ever do if I became a Latter-day Saint?’
Elder Harold B. Lee dedicated 5 buildings in the Florida Mission, and Richie was taken by a missionary couple to Tallahassee to see what a Mormon apostle looked like. After Elder Lee had shaken hands with over a thousand Latter-day Saints, Richie came up and I introduced him to Elder Lee. Richie asked if he could write a letter and ask Brother Lee some questions. Elder Lee agreed, and Richie wrote in longhand a letter 9 pages long, asking many questions. Elder Lee answered back with a typed 9-page letter with all the answers.
In a few weeks, Elder Lee called me and said, ‘I think I know now what is wrong with Richie. He has read too many books. Why don’t you get in your car and go tell him to put everything away, read the Book of Mormon, and then baptize him?’
I drove 250 miles up to where he lived. I phoned his wife and said, ‘I have two missionaries who will be at your house for supper tonight. We would like some roast beef and potatoes.’
When we arrived that night, we had roast beef and potatoes. After supper, Richie asked, ‘Now what do you want?’
I said, ‘Richie, I want you to pick up the Book of Mormon and read it again, and then join the Church.’
And he did. Within 6 months, he held the Melchizedek Priesthood. With a year, he was in the district presidency. Within 2 years, he was a counselor to the mission president, and then served with another mission president. Within 5 years, he was called to be a mission president. While he was the president of the Idaho Mission, more than 8,000 people came into the Church. As soon as he returned home, he was made a bishop in Albany, Georgia. He was recently released as president of the Columbus Georgia Stake after nine years of faithful service.
Richie is a successful man because he was humble and obedient. More than anything else, he loved the Lord and sustained the leaders of the Church.”
— Elder Glen L. Rudd, January 1999, personal communication