President McKay, my brothers and sisters, please
do not hold anything I may say against me this morning. I am still in a
partial state of shock. Truthfully, my senses are dulled by a sense of
fear-fear that I shall not be able to measure up to the stature of these
men whom you have sustained as General Authorities of the Church.
I feel a good deal like that elder whom I called
to be the president of a quorum last week. He said, "Oh, President
Critchlow, I am not worthy of that honor. I do not measure up to
such responsibility." I took him by the hand and said, "You can do it.
I want you to do it." He accepted.
Yesterday, noon, when President McKay interviewed
me for this position, I found myself not only feeling like that elder but
also talking like him and telling him that I was not worthy and that I
did not measure up to the responsibilities of the calling. President
McKay took my hand in just about the same way as I took that elder's hand
and said, "You can do it. I want you to take it. Now, go tell your
I have a good wife, a lovely wife, who has sustained
me and supported me through the years-nearly a quarter of a century.
She has kept the home fires burning. She has trained our children,
and has done a marvelous job. Our family has come first. The
Lord entrusted us with precious Spirits, and he expects their parents to
care for them, and that is what we-my wife and I- have tried to do.
We have tried not to neglect our Church work.
My children, all three of them, will support me.
I had anticipated a release as a stake president soon, and my wife and
I had planned to circulate around -among some of our friends and our kin
with whom we have not mingled for a long time. Well, Mama-our plans
will have to be changed, but I know you will not complain, nor will my
My youngest son, not too long out of his teens,
is a counselor to a bishop in one of the Ogden stakes. My other son
graduated this spring from a law school in Washington, D. C.; while there
he served in the stake mission as an assistant to Elder Benson's son, who
was the president of the Washington State mission. My daughter, despite
her youth, is the president of a ward Relief Society in one of the wards
here in Salt Lake City. They have all been married in the temple.
I am proud of them.
When Dr. [John
A.] Widtsoe set me apart as stake president, he promised me that I
should be successful. If I have attained any measure of success, it is
reflected in my family. I am one of those who like to believe that the
real measure of success is a man's family.
My brothers and sisters, I have a strong testimony
of the gospel. I have that conviction which President Richards spoke
of yesterday, that President David O. McKay is a prophet of God, and I
so sustain him. I love that man. We love him in Ogden. All Weber
County loves him. He is our own. He is from Weber County and maintains
a part time residence there. And we loved his brother, whose place
I seem to be taking among the Assistants to the Twelve. I hope that in
time the people of Weber County may come to respect and love me as they
loved Thomas E. McKay.
There is another one of the General Authorities
whom the people of Weber County love and respect, and he is President S.
Dilworth Young of the First Council of the Seventy. There are many
young men in Weber County, and many parents who will be eternally grateful
to President Young for the help he gave youth when he was the executive
of our Boy Scout Council in the Ogden area
Now, my brothers and sisters, I have learned through
experience that much of the real joy that comes into one's life, comes
as a by-product of service. I think I shall have to explain that
term by-product. Let me illustrate it. One winter evening-a
blizzard raged outside-I had just settled in a cozy chair with a newspaper
and a book, to spend a comfortable evening at home. My wife interrupted
my pleasure, saying, "Daddy, if you finish your ward teaching (I was ward
teaching at the time) you will have to do it tonight, for tomorrow night
you have this, the next night you have that. Get it done, Daddy,
tonight!" And then to strengthen her request she brought me my coat and
hat and sent me forth.
Well, that's the kind of a wife I have. Now, it
was not pleasant, and I was not happy about going out in the storm to do
that ward teaching. It was such a stormy night, snowing and blowing,
but I went. I walked down the street, a mother across the way, holding
a critically ill baby saw me enter a home. She recognized me when the door
was opened and the light silhouetted me. She phoned and asked if I would
come and administer to her baby. I sought help and complied.
She was a young mother whose husband had been drafted into the army.
She was living alone in a neighborhood where she was practically unknown.
She needed help, and the baby needed a blessing.
Back in my home, later that night, I sat again
in my comfortable chair and resumed my newspaper reading. Presently
a feeling came into my soul that you brethren know all about, a feeling
of joy. I did not go out that night seeking that joy-it came to me
as a by-product of my service. Happiness, much of it, is a by-product
Let me illustrate again. One morning, soon after
the war, the coordinator in our welfare region, came to one of my wards
and made an announcement. He reported that our government had made it possible
for us to send to our kin and friends in Europe small packages of clothing
and food which these overseas folks sorely needed. He said, "Clean up some
old clothes, bring them to the storehouse where they will be packaged in
sixteen-inch cartons and sent to your kin and friends overseas." How the
members of our Church responded to that general request you folks well
know. He further related an incident of the previous day when the news
was initially released, which involved a man who hearing the good news
promptly -- even on the spot -- shed his overcoat and said, "Send that."
Then he went out and bought a pair of shoes and said, "Send these." After
the coordinator's announcement a little girl arose and told a story about
happy shoes. This is not the way she told it, but this is the way
I seem to have heard it.
Once upon a time, there was a king in a land overseas
where the people were unhappy. I suppose they had been at war and were
hungry and cold, and the king was therefore unhappy. There was a tradition
in the land that somewhere in this little kingdom was a pair of happy
shoes, and whosoever should wear them would be happy. So the king
sent out his soldiers and servants in search of the happy shoes.
Day after day they sought them, and then one evening as two of the servants
were returning to the king's palace, they passed a hut from which came
the strains of a song. Now, the people in this kingdom were in no
mood for singing. These servants had not encountered it before.
When they heard this song, they stopped to listen. You know the song.
These are the words:
"We thank you O God, for a prophet,
To guide us in these latter days."
Before the song was ended, they rushed into the hut
and found there an elderly man sitting alone by candlelight. They
said, "You sing. Are you happy?" He answered, "Yes, I am happy."
"Then let us have your shoes," they said. "You must have the happy
shoes." They immediately discovered that he had no shoes. Fragments
of leather were tied on his feet with rags. The servants went their way.
What they never knew, however, was this: The next
day someone brought him a sixteen-inch long carton. He opened it
carefully. There on top was an overcoat. Under the coat was some
underwear, and on the bottom of the package was a pair of shoes. He picked
the shoes up and hugging them to his bosom said, "I have the happy shoes."
He then tore the rags from his feet and, thrusting his feet into the shoes,
he felt something. He took it out. It was a note, which read: "From your
friend, John Doe, blank address, Ogden, Utah." He sat down and wrote a
tear-stained letter to John Doe which he concluded by saying, "I am the
happiest man in the world. I have the happy shoes." But he was not
the happiest man in the world. You know who was. When John
Doe, blank address, Ogden Utah, received that tear-stained letter, he also
shed tears of joy and deep down in his heart he sincerely believed that
he--John Doe -- was the happier man, for the moment at least.
Brothers and sisters, I testify to you that happiness
is a by-product of service. May the Lord bless us all and may he bless
me in particular that I may have the strength and the courage to carry
on successfully in this new calling, I humbly pray in the name of Jesus
Elder Critchlow served as an Assistant to the Twelve
until his death August 30, 1969 in Ogden, Utah.