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In Which I Ask a Member of the Presiding Bishopric a Question

Tom - May 5, 2008

Matt’s post reminded me of my closest encounter with a general authority. It must have been ten years ago, when I was a single BYU student living with my parents, that Richard C. Edley, first counselor in the presiding bishopric, visited our stake for a stake conference. Bishop Edgley is some sort of cousin of my dad’s so my dad had his people (himself) get in touch with Bishop Edgley’s people and invited him and his wife to our house for dinner after the meeting and he accepted.

I think we had a pretty small group for dinner. It might’ve just been my parents, myself, a couple of siblings, and the Edgleys. I don’t remember what we served for dinner. I seem to remember teriyaki chicken with corn and mashed potatoes, which is about as fancy as it ever got for us. I do remember that I was self conscious about our lower class house and our damned stinky dog. I imagined that all general authorities live in big, immaculately clean houses, and if they had dogs they would be well-behaved and not stink up the place. [If anyone has firsthand knowledge as to whether or not this is true, go ahead and share. If there are GA's with stinky dogs, it would be nice to know.]

I recognized then that I had a great opportunity to get some questions answered. It’s not often that your average member gets to sit down for a long, casual conversation with a GA. And I did have some pressing questions. So amid the pleasantries and talk of shared ancestors and Aunt So-and-so I looked for the right opportunity to raise my concerns. Beforehand I had told my mom that I had some questions for the bishop and I think it was her that told Bishop Edgley that I had something on my mind to ask him.

I had the floor, all eyes on me. The Bishop, a man who I figured could make things happen, was listening. I let him have it (paraphrasing): “So, what’s with parking at BYU? There’s, like, no parking within a reasonable distance. Even if I bought a Y-lot pass, the ones next to campus are always packed.”

His answer: “Ride the bus. Or ride a bike.”

Ride the bus. Or ride a bike.

That, my friends, is straight from the mouth of a GA. Words to live by.


  1. Haha!

    Comment by Susan M — May 5, 2008 @ 8:22 am

  2. Tom,

    Thanks for sharing the story. It’s amazing how clever we all thought we were when we were young college students and now time and experience helps understand reality. I love to hear Bishop Edgley talk. He has that twangey pronunciation so typical of folks who grew up in small towns along the Wasatch Front, even though he went on to achieve many great things in the business world. My recollection is that he grew up in Preston, Idaho which is just 30 miles from my hometown of Malad, Idaho. He once mentioned in a talk the disgusting little gymnasium at Malad where we still basketball when I was growing up even though I’m about 27 years older than me. (They built a new gym about 20 years ago.) Bishop Edgley helps remind my of another falacy of my youth. When I was growing up we were arch enemies with Preston. We HATED everything about their school teams and we were sure that devil was their school principal. Since high school I have met a host of people from Preston and found them to be among the best people I know. I hope they feel the same way about the folks from Malad.

    I love Bishop Edgley’s talks and a story he told in a past conference became useful and I borrowed it when I spoke at the funeral of a friend several years ago. The story is about his advice to a young man when he asked “what does it mean to be a man?” Thanks for reminding us of what good folks we have in the leadership of the church.

    Comment by lamonte — May 5, 2008 @ 9:16 am

  3. Inspired.

    Comment by Kim Siever — May 5, 2008 @ 9:32 am

  4. AMEN!

    Comment by greenmormonarchitect — May 5, 2008 @ 12:47 pm

  5. As I read the start of your question, I was thinking you’d say something like: Why is the entire campus filled with parking lots so all the lazya$$ faculty can park close to the buildings when it’s obvious that they all need to get out and get some exercise?

    Some days I feel like Lamonte, as if I’m 27 years older than me. Other days I act as if I’m 27 years younger than me.

    It all evens out in the end.

    Comment by Mark B. — May 5, 2008 @ 9:45 pm

  6. Love it.

    Comment by Clean Cut — May 6, 2008 @ 6:55 am

  7. Great answer!!!

    When I was at BYU, I found the bus service quite convenient. Then I noticed that — since I was living maybe ten or twelve blocks from campus — I could just walk, and that was even better! :D

    Comment by C. L. Hanson — May 7, 2008 @ 10:51 am

  8. I was thinking about this today (nostalgia, perhaps?). I remember being 8 months pregnant, and walking from 1st North (near the Provo Bakery and Theater, where we lived) all the way to the Law Building three times a week. Because I was so far in my pregnancy, it took me longer. I would leave over an hour before class started –it usually took me about 45 minutes, though. When I heard people complain about walking to campus, I’d throw that out there and watch ‘em squirm.

    Comment by cheryl — May 8, 2008 @ 8:38 am

  9. What a simple solution. Sometimes we expect grandiose solutions from these men when the obvious will do.

    Comment by jose — May 16, 2008 @ 12:53 pm

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