At the Mission Presidents Seminary this past June, where LDS mission presidents are trained by Church leaders before beginning their assignments around the world, Elder Jeffrey R. Holland of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles shared a story of spiritual rescue. You may have heard it yourself, as it quickly made the rounds on social media and was published in the Church News.
The story was about an estranged man who was found by his missionary brother, a brother he did not know he had. The estranged man was reunited with his family and eventually returned to the Church. Or so the story had been recounted to Elder Holland.
Elder Holland issued the following statement this past week:
“A few weeks ago when speaking to new mission presidents at the Missionary Training Center, I shared a story about two brothers, just as I heard it from individuals who knew the family and had heard it recounted by a family member. Within a few days, my office was contacted by the family, who expressed concern that some elements of that account were not accurate due to embellishing by a family member.
“There are inspiring and important missionary lessons in this story. The older brother did indeed leave his home and his family and for many years pursued the lifestyle I described in my talk. During these years his parents lovingly tried to maintain contact, prayed faithfully for him and even sent local leaders to seek after him. However, at the time his younger brother was called to serve as a missionary, the older brother had already returned to Idaho. With the help of missionaries there, he started the difficult and courageous process of changing his life. In time, he would return to full activity and be sealed in the temple, and he would also have a son who would serve a mission.
“As a courtesy to me the family contacted my office, wanting me to be aware of the inaccurate parts of the story and offering their help in avoiding any perpetuation of those elements in the account I heard. I am deeply touched by their humility and courage in doing so, and as an equal courtesy to them, I am withdrawing the story completely and request that it not be shared further.”