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Missionary moments: ‘Something was missing’

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In 1969, Earl Elliott, an African American minister of another faith, told his wife when she went to bed one night that he was going to stay up and read the Book of Mormon long enough to disprove it. He had recently been presented a copy by missionaries. As he began to read he was amazed at the wonderful doctrine he found. He could hardly believe that such a book had been on earth since 1830 and he had not heard of it. It held information he had been searching for since he was old enough to read the Bible and compare it with the doctrine taught in other churches. He had come to realize something was missing.

"It was as if there was an angel on each shoulder" was the way he described his reading of the Book of Mormon. When he finally went to bed early the next morning, his wife asked if he had disproved the Book of Mormon. He said, "I could no more say that the Book of Mormon was not true than to say the Bible was not true."

He heard all the missionary discussions. In spite of all objections from his family and congregation Earl and his family joined the Church because once he knew the Book of Mormon was true, he knew baptism was the only honest thing he could do. His faith in the Book of Mormon sustained him through all his many trials, including not being able to hold the priesthood at the time of his baptism.

When his son turned 10 in 1976, he began to worry. What would happen when he would turn 12 and could not be ordained to the priesthood, like all of his friends at Church? Brother Elliott made it a matter of prayer and received a strong personal revelation not to worry about it, that everything would be OK. He even told his wife and wrote it in his journal.

Then, in June 1978, the revelation on the priesthood was announced by the Church. His son's birthday was July 3, 1978.

That son, Earl V. Elliott II, who was given the priesthood in 1978, is now my daughter's bishop in the Birmingham (Alabama) 3rd Ward. Brother Elliott's sacrifices in joining the Church against all opposition has made a tremendous impact for good in that part of God's vineyard.

C. Brent Cluff, Thatcher (Ariz.) 1st Ward. Brother Cluff heard Brother Elliott speak in Church while visiting the Birmingham 3rd Ward. Brother Elliott lives in the Decatur Ward, Huntsville Alabama Stake.