President David O. McKay — three faith-promoting stories from his life
1/ David O. McKay, during his 19 years as the prophet of the Lord, was on one occasion questioned by a pesky reporter. After several somewhat confrontational questions, the reporter said, “You claim to be a prophet. I ask you directly, Are you a prophet?” President McKay hesitated for a few moments, and then, staring directly into the eyes of the reporter, replied, “I invite you to look directly into my eyes, and then answer your own question.” The questions came to an end. Is there any question that President McKay knew exactly who he was, what he was, and the overwhelming responsibility that accompanied his holy position?
2/ President McKay at one time was heavily involved in a Church-wide effort to encourage the youth of the Church to be moral and clean and sexually pure, both before marriage and after marriage. Talks were given and articles written by Church leaders, as the importance of these commandments was emphasized. During this effort, President McKay was interviewed by a non-member reporter. She said in essence, “This is all well and good that you ask this of the young people of your Church, but surely you would not claim that you followed your own counsel when you were a young man!” President McKay dropped his gaze for just a moment, and then with his piercing blue eyes, looked directly into the eyes of the reporter and emphatically said, “Yes, I most certainly can make that claim, then and now. Do you think I would ask our wonderful young people to do something I myself did not do?”
3/ David O. McKay was raised by faithful, righteous parents who taught him and his siblings the beauties of the gospel. He never doubted the truth of their words nor their conviction to gospel principles, but he arrived at a stage in his life when he wanted a ‘personal’ witness of the truth of the restored gospel. He began to plead with the Lord for this personal witness, and he studied the gospel fervently. He prayed and prayed and felt that no answer came to him. He redoubled his efforts, praying and fasting and studying. Still he did not feel that a personal witness had come. He continued to rely on the testimonies of his parents and one his own feelings, all the while seeking that witness which he desired. Years came and went, and he continued his pursuits. Finally, at the age of 25, he was called to serve a mission to Scotland. He considered the timing of the call somewhat disadvantageous, but responded to the call nonetheless. He continued to seek for his personal witness of the truth of the gospel as he plunged into the rigors of mission work in Scotland. Not long after his arrival in the mission field, he was in a meeting with a general authority and his mission president, President McMurrin. His mission president, during his sermon, looked down at David O. McKay, and with a spirit of prophecy, said, “Elder McKay, if you continue valiant in the cause of Christ, the day will come when you will sit in the leading councils of this great Church.” At that moment, there came into the mind and heart and being of David O. McKay a spiritual affirmation that what had just been prophesied was true, and just as importantly, a spiritual witness of the truthfulness of the work in which he was engaged, and of the love that his Heavenly Father had for him personally. One of the sweet and important lessons to be drawn from this experience is the importance of being faithful and true even when not all answers have been given or understood. He could have doubted and turned away many times, but he chose to “doubt his doubts before he doubted his faith”.