The Cop and President Monson
Because I am a certified police officer for the Stake of Arizona, on Sunday, January the 26th of 2003, I had the opportunity to work security for our regional conference at the Mesa Insitute building in Mesa, AZ. There, I had a most touching and unexpected experience and shared it with the other brethren I serve with on our stake high-council. This is that e-mail. I first thought to rewrite it but decided it would take from the message. The fact that this is the exact message I sent them, written that evening, is the message that needs to be shared with you. For security purposes, some things were deleted but other than that, the message is in it's entirety. I kept this e-mail because of it's effect on me. I decided to place it on the website eight months later. I hope you enjoy: an encounter between a cop and President Monson.
May I share a most spiritual moment and message with you?
As you know, today, Sunday the 26th, was our regional conference. Elder Gibbons, Elder Howard, Elder Lund, Elder Ballard and President Monson were there. It came to our stake building and twenty other stake buildings via satellite. It took place in the LDS Institute building at 7000 E. McKellips. There were 8 armed police officers (wearing suit and tie) strategically placed in the chapel. I learned later that there were many police officers who wanted and asked to take part in the "Dignitary Protection Detail" for the Brethren but were not granted that opportunity. Of all the usher badges you saw, there were only 8...Those were the armed police officers...I don't know why I was extended that opportunity to participate but I was. Maybe, as the only member of our stake to be at the site location, it was to be able to see and share this most special experience and message with you all.
Our orders were fairly direct. We arrived early, swept the building, watched for unusual behavior or packages and were posted in strategic locations. We were to remain unobserved and we were to prevent...We were to intercept anyone who tried...We maintained a secured, "safe zone" on the south east end of the building, etc. During the prayers, we were to...We had many contingency plans for protecting the Brethren, even one in case the video transmitting truck outside...Besides that and more, we were also told to keep the crowd...That when the closing prayer was given, we were to seal off the stand, lock hands if necessary and keep people back. We were told that we did not do a good enough job on Saturday, the 25th. After the closing prayer today, we were to seal off the stand and usher the Brethren out the east door nearest the stand and into a secured area as smoothly and as quickly as possible. Then into waiting vehicles on the south end of the building. Even that portion of the parking lot had been secured.
During the time I was there, I didn't seek the Brethren's hand. I had never seen them in person before and I was very close to them on occasion and could have. I was in charge of helping keep the secured area secure. The Brethren's in-and-out to the building and their retreat and lunch area. I didn't seek their hand partly because I was thinking about my duties but mostly because I viewed myself as a "no one." They were constantly surrounded by stake presidents and wives. Who was I.
The meeting itself, was a powerful meeting. I testify that administering angels were there, touching hearts and administering to everyone in the building. The whole building was charged and you could feel it. The Spirit was so very thick, Brethren. Afterwards, we tried to secure the Brethren as we were told but President Monson came up and said, "Let me through" He walked into the crowd and began shaking hands with everyone and anyone he could get a hold of.
Brethren, I was so touched. Sometimes you run into a Church leader or two who you can feel think rather highly of themselves because of who they are in the Church. But here was someone who rightly could have had that attitude, the First Councilor in the First Presidency of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints for all the world, and here he was, trying to make everyone else feel like they were somebody. Brethren, tears keep me from being able to see the computer screen clearly, but I was so touched by him. He came down in the crowd and went face to face, hand to hand with everyone he could. His love, his genuine love for his fellowman was so obvious, I knew why the Lord had called him to that calling. President Monson lingered in the chapel, in the secured area, invited people to come forward, stood outside the building for almost 30 minutes, shaking hands and greeting people. Anyone who came up. He loves his fellowman, Brethren. President Monson loves his fellowman.
Usama Bin Laden told his top soldiers once to judge their men by their strength. He told them that men were like horses. When you go pick out a horse in an arena, you always pick out the strongest one. He told his men to always be strong and to pick the strong. That's true for us too. We tend to pick our horses by their strength. But the Lord picks His horses by their heart. When I heard the things told of President Monson by Elder Howard, when I heard his talk today and when I saw him walk past the secured area and into the crowd, I knew why President Monson had been called by the Lord. He loves the people, Brethren. He loves his brothers and sisters and he shows it in many ways but also by making them feel important.
You and I (outside the Stake Presidency itself) are not anymore than just members of the Skyline Stake in Mesa, Arizona. A small portion of the Lord's vineyard. Our callings as high councilors are temporary and when the Stake President feels to release us, we are to return to our wards and help where we can. But until then, to our fellow stake members, we are looked at as being "someone" and many of them look at themselves as being the "no ones."
May we follow the example of President Monson and love our brothers and sisters as the Lord loves us and wants us to love them. May we do our duties better and may we increase our capacities to love others. May we walk into the crowds and shake hands and extend the hand of fellowship. May we look others in the eye and may they see our love for them as I saw President Monson's love for others. May we make everyone feel like they are someone. May we remind them how much the Lord loves them and how much He needs them and how much we as stake members, need them. May we forget about ourselves and be more diligent in our callings and in helping our brothers and sisters grow closer to the Lord. May we focus on the eternities. May we be better husbands, fathers, grandfathers and ward and stake fathers. May we honor our Melchizedek Priesthood. May we stand as sentinels in the Lord's army and may we recommit, work harder, and be about the Lord's business always.
Today was a great day, Brethren.
This message applies to you too, my dear Brother and Sister. May you and I follow the example President Monson set and go out of our way to make others feel like they are the "Someone's". In the sacred name of Jesus Christ, Amen. www.LDSCOPS.com