October 1, 2011
Thomas S. Monson's Early Experience Helping Another
President Thomas S. Monson hasn't always been the Prophet; in fact, he was once a boy. He loved to swim and fish in the Provo River, like most boys would. He was a pretty good swimmer and had a strong young body.
One day Tommy (as he was then called) had gone tubing on the river. As he turned one corner he was surprised to see a group of people yelling and franticly looking toward the water. When Tommy came into view, they started screaming at him, "Save her! Save her!" He realized someone needed help in the water somewhere, perhaps near him. But he didn't see anyone in the water. He looked closely at the water and saw hair float up to the surface.
He reached in and pulled her up by the hair and hoisted her into his tube. He paddled to the shore and helped the girl to the bank, where her relatives hugged her and cried for joy. Then they came to thank Tommy with hugs and kisses. Tommy, like most boys, was horrified! He got away and continued his journey, likely wiping off the (disgusting) kisses with the back of his hand. Later he realized the significance of what had happened. (Grow)
He said, "Heavenly Father had heard the cries, 'Save her! Save her,' and permitted me, a deacon, to float by at precisely the time I was needed. That day I learned that the sweetest feeling in mortality is to realize that God, our Heavenly Father, knows each one of us and generously permits us to see and to share His divine power to save." (Monson)
Tommy had no idea that he would save a girl's life when he headed to the river that day. He saved her life, though, because he was at the right place at the right time. What if he had come to the river two hours later? Perhaps he was guided to get there, so he'd be in position to help her when she needed it. I tend to think that happened, because President Monson is so good about helping others. He has made it a habit to help people, often coming to them in the very moment of need. When he gets a prompting to help someone now, he doesn't question it, he goes. And often he arrives in the very knick of time! Perhaps this experience as a boy is what has made him so attuned to the spirit.
I hope President Monson tells more stories of how he has helped people by listening to the spirit and following the prompting this weekend in Conference. Perhaps his message will save someone, maybe not from drowning, but from other dangers we all face in this crazy world. He called saving people by following God's promptings, 'the sweetest feeling.' I'm sure that's why he does it so often. We can all try to listen to promptings so we can help God help others.
Grow, Adam. "President Monson Dedicates New Building." Universe-- universe.byu.edu 16 May 2010. http://universe2.byu.edu/node/8421
Monson, Thomas S. "Who Honors God, God Honors." Ensign November 1995.