Elmer Pollard — the power of a simple testimony
This wonderful story was recounted by Elder Thomas S. Monson in the October 2005 General Conference
“The testimony of the Prophet Joseph continues to change lives. Some years ago I served as the president of the Canadian Mission. In Ontario, Canada, two of our missionaries were proselyting door-to-door on a cold, snowy afternoon. They had not had any measure of success. One elder was experienced; one was new.
The two called at the home of Mr. Elmer Pollard, and he, feeling sympathy for the almost frozen missionaries, invited them in. They presented their message and asked if he would join in prayer. He agreed, on the provision that he could offer the prayer.
The prayer he offered astonished the missionaries. He said, “Heavenly Father, bless these two unfortunate, misguided missionaries, that they may return to their homes and not waste their time telling the people of Canada about a message which is so fantastic and about which they know so little.”
As they arose from their knees, Mr. Pollard asked the missionaries never to return to his home. As they left, he said mockingly to them, “You can’t tell me you really believe that Joseph Smith was a prophet of God, anyway!” and he slammed the door.
The missionaries had walked but a short distance when the junior companion said timidly, “Elder, we didn’t answer Mr. Pollard.”
The senior companion responded: “We’ve been rejected. Let’s move on.”
The young missionary persisted, however, and the two returned to Mr. Pollard’s door. Mr. Pollard answered the knock and angrily said, “I thought I told you young men never to return!”
The junior companion then said, with all the courage he could muster, “Mr. Pollard, when we left your door, you said that we didn’t really believe Joseph Smith was a prophet of God. I want to testify to you, Mr. Pollard, that I know Joseph Smith was a prophet of God, that by inspiration he translated the sacred record known as the Book of Mormon, that he did see God the Father and Jesus the Son.” The missionaries then departed the doorstep.
I heard this same Mr. Pollard in a testimony meeting state the experiences of that memorable day. He said: “That evening, sleep would not come. I tossed and turned. Over and over in my mind I heard the words, ‘Joseph Smith was a prophet of God. I know it. … I know it. … I know it.’ I could scarcely wait for morning to come. I telephoned the missionaries, using their number which was printed on the small card containing the Articles of Faith. They returned, and this time my wife, my family, and I joined in the discussion as earnest seekers of truth. As a result, we have all embraced the gospel of Jesus Christ. We shall ever be grateful to the testimony of truth brought to us by those two courageous, humble missionaries.”
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