It is Sunday. March 17, 2013. I have just arrived at church. Sacrament meeting is about to start. I settle into my family’s customary pew with my wife and 16-year old daughter. The bishop comes over. He asks me to give the closing prayer. I agree automatically. No big deal. It’s not like I haven’t done this a million times before.

The meeting begins. I start ruminating on how this day would have been my parents’ 72nd wedding anniversary. I miss my dad.  He died March 9, 2011.

I miss my mom.  She died October 10, 2000.

I don’t miss one more than the other.  I miss them both.

The sacrament is being passed. I feel a distinct impression to mention Heavenly Mother in my closing prayer. I try to shake the feeling. I can’t. This is something I am supposed to do.

Our high councilman is speaking now. I continue to wrestle inwardly. I think how easy it would be for me to ignore the impression; to just give an orthodox closing prayer. I think how nobody would be the wiser. Except me. I would know.

I realize giving a customary prayer is not an option. My wife looks over at me. She sees I am troubled. She asks what is wrong. I say, “I hate it when God asks me to do hard things.”

She asks me what it’s about. I say it has to do with my closing prayer. She looks alarmed. She asks me what I am thinking of saying. I say, “God has bidden me not to tell you.” I am kidding. But I don’t want to get into a conversation with her about it in the middle of sacrament meeting. Even though we are whispering, there are people all around.  Before and behind.

She tells me I don’t know this is from God. I tell her that actually, I do. She says it could be just something I want to do. I tell her there is no way I want to do this. She says I need to consider my audience. I tell her I figure God has already considered that.

The end of sacrament meeting approaches like the footsteps of doom. On the bright side, no sacrament meeting has gone by faster. Especially with a high councilman speaking.

The congregation sings the closing hymn. We are at the last verse. I walk up to the stand. My knees are like water. I think they might buckle.

I have settled on what I will say. I know I just have to get the words out of my mouth. The hymn ends. I step to the microphone. I look out over the congregation. Every head goes down. My heart hammers in my ears. 3ab3e2164b29a44de4ed6a563592edd1I plant my feet shoulder-width to steady myself. I grab the lectern with both hands.

I take a deep breath.  I begin:

 

 

 

Dear Father and Mother God . . .

 

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Corbin Volluz lives in the beautiful foothills of the Cascade Mountains in western Washington state. He has been practicing law for 25-years with a focus on criminal defense and personal injury. Corbin joined the LDS Church in June of 1978, shortly after the lifting of the priesthood ban, and has been studying Mormonism ever since. He has been published in several venues, including the Journal of Book of Mormon Studies and BYU-Studies.

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