Gerald W. Smith is a Scotland Yard detective from London, England, and Bessie M. De Long is a homemaker from Grain Valley, Mo.
They've never met.But when the Church News printed a story on Jan. 16 about Smith's conversion to the Church and his work in law enforcement, it struck Sister De Long so strongly, she siad, "I just had to sit down and write (to the Church News)."
She recalled how in March 1956 she was a less-active member of the Independence (Mo) Branch who "didn't want to be found." Her husband was a member of another faith, and their two sons attended services with him.
During a trip to Seattle, Wash., that year, they stayed overnight in Salt Lake City, Utah.
"I asked my husband the next morning if we could take a tour of Temple Square," she recalled, "and to my surprise, he said yes. After we finished the tour, we ended up in the museum with a young tour guide standing with his back to the big window, and with the temple behind him, bearing his testimony and holding the standard works.
"I have thought of this young returned missionary many times over the years," she wrote. "I talked with him privately that day as my husband and sons were wandering around the museum. He gave me a book, The Articles of Faith by James E. Talmage, and he put his name and address in it."
Following their visit to Temple Square, the De Longs seemed to have "one miracle after another" occur in their lives. In 1957, her husband and sons were baptized into the Church.
What makes these two seemingly unrelated conversion stories similar is the fact that it was the same Temple Square tour guide--Calvin C. Cook--who first introduced the detective from England and the family from Missouri to the gospel. From 1947 until his death in 1982. Cook shared his testimony with thousands of people as a tour guide on Temple Square.
"He probably was released two or three times but managed to wrangle his way back on the staff," said his wife, Nadine Cook. "He was a missionary through and through. My husband was kind of notrious for asking our daughters' dates if they were going on missions."
And no doubt many people from throughout the world love Calvin Cook for the testimony he gave that helped change their lives and bring them into the Church.