Once I was done madly hitting buttons on my computer and breaking the news, the first thing I thought after hearing about Elder Richard G. Scott’s passing this week was a single word.
They were finally reunited. While deep feelings of love, respect, and admiration are evident among all of the apostles and Church leaders, there was something about the love between Richard and Jeanene Scott that sparked my consciousness. Jeanene died on May 15, 1995. For the next fifteen years, Elder Scott would never remarry, stating:
“We are so close and love each other so very much that I don’t have any feeling of need to remarry. I recognize that for some men there’s a very strong support they require from a wife, and so they remarry, and I don’t question that for them. Jeanene and I prepared each other in all the ways we could think of for being able to survive well when one of us passed through the veil, and I wish she hadn’t been the first one, but that’s the way it worked out.”
It may be strange, but just hearing those words reminds me of the film Enchanted, when Prince Edward speaks of Giselle.
“And this beautiful lady is Giselle, the love of my life. My heart’s true desire.”
I feel a lot like Nancy, who reacts in shocked wonder to his declaration.
“Wow. So straightforward. Not a hint of irony. It’s very…romantic.”
When Elder Scott spoke of Jeanene, there was no hiding his feelings. His testimony of marriage and eternal families was evident in every word. Not only was it romantic, but it was refreshing. And, for someone like me who has had less than admirable examples of husbands and fathers, it was educational.
In current culture of the world, husbands and men are often portrayed as lazy, incompetent, and misogynistic. In the current culture of the Church, singles in their late twenties and early thirties are often pressured to put romance and attraction aside for more practical philosophies that sound more like settling. I’ve found myself to be heavily influenced by both as I’ve navigated the life of a perpetual single and abuse victim.
For me, it seemed impossible that a kind of love like the one expressed by Elder Scott for his wife could even exist. Yet I’ll never forget listening to him speak in April 2011, just days before I graduated from college and months before my missionary service was to begin. To this day, I have been able to lean on Elder Scott’s testimony and example to help me remain hopeful. And it isn’t just the hope that I’ll eventually marry. It is the hope that such tender hearts can exist in men, that they can reverently express their love, and they can see the “full feminine splendor of [my] righteous womanhood” instead of my constantly mottled skin tone and Goodwill fashion.
Elder Scott helped me believe that not only could someone actually love me, but that love could be so powerful it could last forever.
“I know what it is to love a daughter of Father in Heaven who with grace and devotion lived the full feminine splendor of her righteous womanhood. I am confident that when, in our future, I see her again beyond the veil, we will recognize that we have become even more deeply in love. We will appreciate each other even more, having spent this time separated by the veil.”
I am still waiting for the moment when I can be “someone’s Jeanene.” In the dark moments of my life it can be difficult for me to believe love truly exists and it is available to someone like me. But I am so grateful for Elder Scott; his words will always help me believe I am worthy of and should expect that kind of love, whether it comes in this life or the next. And today, I am especially grateful that even his reunion with his beloved wife on the other side of the veil can be such a powerful witness to me, and hopefully to the world.