"Courage is the ability to move;
when all around you are frozen in fear
and no one would blame you if you did nothing at all."
Capt. Click. Phx. PD
My Name is Shawn Petersen
Taken from the book Think
About it... for your reading convenience
I am a wife and
a mother and I have been a
police officer for several years.
I have seen many lives that have been
destroyed or damaged
what I believe to be a complete loss of anything
positive or good to believe in.
I know that many times as a police officer I have had opportunities to share the
things I believe in,
not so much by what I had to say, but more in my actions and the way I chose to
treat those I came
into contact with. Through the years I have been told many times by other
officers that I have been
too nice or too polite or have shown kindness when the person deserved none.
These things may be
true in the eyes of those watching me, but to me I did what I thought the Lord
and my Heavenly
Father would have me do. It is not my place to condemn or judge but simply my
place to be sure that
no earthly law is broken and that no harm is caused to anyone. I never could see
much of a need to
treat someone with malice after the fact. It served no purpose and would cause
me to not like myself
I am married and have two very beautiful children. There was a time in my life
when I wondered if
I would ever have the opportunity to be a wife and a mother. When I was a little
girl my family was
very very fragile. My father and mother did not have a good marriage and my
father had a strong
tendency to have extra marital affairs. The one thing I consider a great
blessing is that my father and
mother did stumble onto the Mormon religion and myself and my family became
changes came about in my family as a result of joining the Church. Many changes
in my father also,
but they were not permanent.
At eight years old I was baptized by my father. At nine my father molested me.
My mother had no
knowledge of his actions. As it would turn out, they divorced for the second
time in their marriage
when I was ten. I spent many years not liking the Mormon religion and felt much
pain. I remembered
how my mother had been treated by some of the people in our ward and how they
had turned their
backs on her when she needed them. I was also attempting to deal with what had
been done to me
without telling my mother. I had many bad feelings. I was unable to see at the
time that it was the
people I felt angry at, not the Church. All of these issues together caused me a
lot of confusion. As
a teenage girl, I attended my ward a few times, but just never quite felt like I
fit in. Eventually, I just
stopped attending all together. Thankfully, I still spoke to my Heavenly Father
on a daily basis. I
knew that He was with me and I kept Him in my heart always.
When I was seventeen years old I finally told my mother what my father had done
to me. By then
I had managed to add mistake on top of mistake in my attempt to work out my
thoughts and feelings.
As an adult I was still wandering. I visited many different churches in an
attempt to find what was still
missing. It was during that time I met my future husband. He was a Mormon but
not following his
beliefs very closely at the time. Our meeting was a little different. He owned
an ice cream parlor and
I would quite often go in to buy my mother a glass of tea. She worked in the
same shopping plaza.
One day when I stopped in to get mom a tea, a friend of mine who also knew my
husband, was sitting
at a table. He told my future husband that I was a police officer. My soon to
be, who was waiting on
me, said, “You can arrest me anytime!” Well at that point in my life, I was very
cautious of anyone
who said anything like that to me and I simply replied, “That’s what they all
turned and walked out. However, after two or three months of chit-chat, I
finally went out on a date
with the ice cream man. As we were driving to our destination, I looked at him
and said, “You’re a
Mormon aren’t you.”
He squirmed in his seat and said,
“Yes I am! Why do you ask?”
I don’t know why I asked, there was just something different about him and I
liked it. As time went
on, we got married and fourteen months after our second child was born, I was
cervical-uterine cancer. I was twenty-nine years old. My children were babies. I
felt very frightened.
Within four days of my diagnosis, I was sent to the hospital where a doctor
performed a hysterectomy
on me. My doctor was from the Mayo Clinic in Scottsdale, Arizona. He came highly
for this procedure. That was October 21, 1990. On that day I kissed my husband
and my babies
goodbye and left for the hospital. I was scared but felt that things would be
all right. I had
received a blessing from my husband, a good friend of ours and my father in law.
I placed much faith
in the priesthood and knew that I would do whatever my Heavenly Father asked me
The surgery went well but as I was waking up, I heard the doctor stop to speak
to my husband and
his brother. I heard him say to my husband that I would need to have
chemotherapy. I knew what that
meant. It meant that my cancer was worse than the doctor had originally thought.
My husband was
very quiet. In my room my family gathered in around me and began talking about
Emotions were high, my mother was crying, my father in law was weeping and my
sister in law
wanted a hamburger. I was alert and I wanted to participate in the conversation
but I just couldn’t
get my mouth to function.
What I am about to tell you is very personal and sacred to me.
It is a personal experience that I have only told a few people. You can explain
it away in any way you wish. You can say I was delirious or heavily sedated or
whatever you like. But I was there and I know what happened.
When my family was weeping for me in that hospital room, I wanted to speak to
them to tell them
I was okay. It was at this point I suddenly left my room and the next thing I
knew I was standing
outside in a white gown of some kind with a tree behind me. I looked and I saw
the Lord sitting on
a rock also wearing a white gown. I recognized Him immediately when I saw Him. I
looked at the
Lord and said, “Lord, please let me get up and tell them that I am going to be
alright!” The Lord
looked at me and lifted His hand and arm to me and said, “This is where you will
learn about long
suffering.” I again pleaded with the Lord and again He told me the same thing. I
then returned to my
room and once again I was in my bed. I could hear my mother crying. I was still
unable to speak. A
few moments later I heard nothing, until about 3:30 a.m. I awoke and opened my
eyes. My mind was
very clear. I remembered everything that had happened. I remembered the
conversation with my Lord
and Savior. Though I could not see Them, I felt like Heavenly Father and the
Lord Jesus Christ were
with me. I started to cry in the quiet of my room. I asked my Heavenly Father to
please let me stay
here on earth until my boys were eighteen and grown if it was His will. I didn’t
want to be pushy or
bossy, but I desperately wanted the chance to raise my boys.
the feeling came to me that
I would be spared from leaving this earth too soon.
For several months I went through therapy, losing my food many times and almost
all of my beautiful
long hair. Beautiful long hair that I had received many compliments on
throughout my life. But life
goes on and so do all the bills. So back to work I went. I returned to my
uniform and dealt with the
looks, the stares and comments. None of that mattered to me however, as long as
I could just get
through it and be all right.
That was six years ago. Not a day goes by that it doesn’t cross my mind. It was
a major turning point
for me in my life as far as priorities, obligations, my family and my religion
were concerned. I realized
first hand, just how fragile life is. How fragile your health is. How soon and
unexpectedly your whole
life, plans, hopes and dreams can be changed. I realized how quickly your health
can be taken away.
I realized how dependent we are on our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. I am so
thankful for my health
and my chance to continue to be of good on this earth. My husband and I have our
short comings but
through it all we try to remember, that we are the children of our Heavenly
Father and that He loves
I am so thankful for the gospel in my life. I am thankful for The Church of
Jesus Christ of Latter-day
Saints and for my chance to serve all mankind while on this earth. My family is
of the utmost
importance to me. It took years and many churches with many beliefs for me to
realize that I could
be angry with anyone in any religion. When I realized what I was angry at, I was
able to see that I
loved the Church and all that it has to offer. I love my children. I am the
chorister in my ward for the
primary. I love genealogy work and the temple. I am so grateful for the belief
and understanding that
a family can be a family forever.
I love my Heavenly Father and I am so thankful for the gift of the atonement.
So thankful that I have a brother so special that He would lay down His life
for me to allow me to return home to Heaven one day as a true daughter of God.
I could have written hundreds of pages about the tragedies, the hardships, the
mistakes and the
lessons I learned the hard way. But it is enough for me to say that I have been
through hell here on
earth. I have stood at the gates of Heaven without entering because it was not
yet my time. I needed
to know that I was not alone. That I am a good person. I needed to know that I
am a loved daughter
of God. Just knowing that He loves me has helped me through the bad times. Even
though I do not
spend much time visiting with my earthly father, I still love him and I forgave
him many years ago.
I cannot do much about things that were not done right for me.
I will not dwell on things that were done wrong.
I choose instead to dwell on today and to do the best that I can,
and to be the best that I can be, whether in my private life or as a police
I know that Heavenly Father and His Son Jesus Christ live. I know that this is
the Lord’s true church
and I know that we are given prophets to lead and guide us today. I know that
these prophets and
leaders are called of God and are guided to help us to help ourselves. I know
that life is a time to
grow and to learn. I am thankful for the Book of Mormon and for the knowledge
that our Heavenly
Father and Jesus Christ have given us. I am thankful that They speak to us and
guide us, even today.
I am thankful for the Holy Ghost and His direction to me through the still and
small voice in my heart.
I know that I have been kept from harm’s door many times while listening to that
still small voice.
They are the promptings of my Lord and Savior to one of Heavenly Father’s
daughters here on earth.
I am thankful for my husband and the Priesthood he holds to help and guide our
family. I am thankful
for life and for my earthly mother who through all my trials has loved me as my
Heavenly Father and
Jesus Christ have,
Officer Shawn O. Peterson Badge #4908
If you are or were a police officer,
or wife, mother, father of such or some other branch of emergency
and would like to share an unusual testimony building experience with
please contact us for details at
or use the link on the front page of this site at
Thank you and God bless,