Roswell Georgia Stake Hosts Dale Murphy Fireside

By David Winters

July 10, 2000

 

With the Roswell Georgia Stake Center filled to capacity, Dale Murphy captured the hearts of member and non-member alike as the baseball legend shared missionary experiences from his three years as president of the Boston, Massachusetts Mission. Quoting from Matthew 28:19 - 20, Brother Murphy talked of the charge that he and his family recently had to "teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things" that the Lord commands.

The numbers in attendance at the July 9 fireside caught even the most optimistic stake-leaders off-guard. "We expected a crowd about half this size," said the Stake Mission President, William D. Johnston, who conducted the meeting. Opening remarks were given by Sister Nancy Murphy, who boldly testified of the truthfulness of the Book of Mormon and of the doctrine of the atonement of Jesus Christ. Sister Murphy quoted President Packer who stated:

"When your desire is firm and you are willing to pay the "uttermost farthing," the law of restitution is suspended. Your obligation is transferred to the Lord. He will settle your accounts.

"I repeat, save for the exception of the very few who defect to perdition, there is no habit, no addiction, no rebellion, no transgression, no apostasy, no crime exempted from the promise of complete forgiveness. That is the promise of the atonement of Christ." (Boyd K. Packer, "The Brilliant Morning of Forgiveness," Ensign, Nov. 1995, 18)

Following a lovely musical number by Danny Lawson, Dale Murphy stood to address the assembled gathering. He joked that in his early days as an Atlanta Braves player, the team would hope for a crowd in the stadium equal to that gathered for the fireside. He then focused his remarks on the Book of Mormon, the Savior, the Prophet Joseph Smith, and the restoration of the gospel.

In reference to the Book of Mormon, Brother Murphy stated, "Truly [the Book of Mormon] is another testament of Jesus Christ -- with over a thousand references to Him."

He read from Joseph Smith - History 1: 23-25, where the Prophet spoke of the first vision: "I had seen a vision; I knew it, and I knew that God knew it, and I could not deny it, neither dared I do it; at least I knew that by so doing I would offend God, and come under condemnation."

In tribute to his wife, Nancy, he told this mission experience. "Once I pulled over to a fruit stand and engaged a woman in conversation about the church. She asked, 'What's the highest position a woman can hold in your church?' I pondered for a moment, and then in a moment of inspiration I stated, 'A mother.' She responded, 'Good answer.' I truly feel that way about motherhood -- and Nancy is a wonderful mother."

Brother Murphy invited those in attendance who weren't members of the Church to prayerfully consider having the missionaries teach them the gospel. "I'm so very grateful for the Elders who taught the gospel to me," he stated. He then bore testimony again of the gospel, the Prophet Joseph, the Book of Mormon, and the Savior. Quoting Alma 5:62, he invited those in attendance to "Come and be baptized unto repentance, that ye also may be partakers of the fruit of the tree of life."

Although autographs were not in keeping with the spirit of the Sabbath, Brother Murphy had signed dozens of balls in advance to be given to non-members who attended the fireside. These were given in an orderly manner once individuals exited the stake center. All left edified and strengthened for having shared an evening with this spiritual giant and baseball great.