Thursday, February 25, 2010
Another Good Guy Laid to Rest -- Goodnight, Bishop Miner
When we were twelve, there were a bunch of us -- probably twenty of us who went to Sunday School. And few of our parents went to church at all but most of them sent us to Sunday School to get us out of the house. Unless we had the grippe or some such thing.
Quite a number of us were scary, too. Names could be named. Names of several have probably been to jail, or possibly prison. We were a blue-collar neighborhood in Provo, Utah with houses built right after World War II.
Little tiny houses right at the base of Y-Mountain, almost all alike; two bedrooms, one bathroom, living-room, kitchen a little hall adjoining all and almost everyone's dad worked at Geneva Steel. And like I said, almost no one went to church except for the kids who went to sunday school so the parents would have some peace and quiet on Sunday morning. All the kids went to church, I might emphasize.
Anyway, no one wanted to teach our class. We were awful. Loud, crass, awful.
So the good Bp. Gordon B. Miner called my father, Ben R. Cannon and Ted Bandley to be the Sunday School teachers. They were neighbors and buddies and of course never went to church. They accepted the call. After all, Bp. Miner evidently liked and trusted them to do no real harm, so how could they say no?
Every week, Ted would read the lesson right out of the manual without ever looking up. Dad would run the room, hurting people if they dared step out of line. I remember one week, Jon Hall was high up in the window sill, and dad lifted him down, just by two fingers by Jon's forearm, slowly and carefully, Jon hanging and flopping like a trout. Jon, too tough to cry or yell, just took it.
Dad would squeeze the thigh, or shoulder of anyone who looked like they might try to act out of line. That class never behaved better before or after that year. It was an inspired call.
I don't know why everyone continued to come. I imagine it was because no one dared tell their parents about what was happening at church. I think once they got the gist of what was happening, the torture really didn't need to happen very often. The parents didn't want their kids home and they also didn't want their kids behaving badly at church anyway. They knew Dad and Ted and knew they'd treat them the same way at home anyway so what was the problem? Those were different times anyway. Those were the fifties.
Bp. Miner died last week at 92. I bet God welcomed him home with open arms. Who doesn't want a good man like that around?
I think my Dad and Ted welcomed him home, too. How could they not like the guy, too. He was just a really good guy like that. He liked everyone. He was just a really nice guy who wasn't judgmental like sometimes religious people can be. He even liked that class of twelve-year-olds. Enough to have them taken care of by a couple of guys who could do it.