Mark L. Grover, A Land of Promise and Prophecy: Elder A. Theodore Tuttle in South America, 1960–1965 (Provo, UT: Religious Studies Center, Brigham Young University, 2008).
Prayer by Elder Melvin J. Ballard, December 25, 1925; capitalization and punctuation modernized.
Our Father who art in heaven, hallowed be Thy name. In the name of Jesus Christ, Thy well-beloved Son, we Thy servants approach Thee on this beautiful Christmas morning in this secluded spot in the city of Buenos Aires, Argentina, South America, in a land far distant from our mountain home but in a country which Thou has called a part of the land of Zion.
We are very thankful for our safe arrival after a voyage of twenty-one days on the seas without a moment’s sickness. We do acknowledge that Thou didst temper the elements for our good and that Thy protecting care has been over us in our travels, both upon the land and the sea, and for health and strength to labor for Thee and Thy cause.
We are grateful that we have been chosen by Thy servant, President Heber J. Grant, to come to this great land of South America to unlock the door for the preaching of the gospel to all the peoples of the South American nations, to search out the blood of Israel that has been sifted among the Gentile nations, many of whom, influenced by the spirit of gathering, have assembled in this land.
Put Thy Spirit into their hearts, that they may receive us, as true messengers sent of God for their salvation. Help us to labor for them with the same Spirit in us, He had who loved men so that He died for them, that we may effectually “call, persuade, and invite” men to come unto Christ.
We thank Thee for the few who have received us and for those we have had the joy of taking into the waters of baptism in this land. May they be the first fruits of a glorious harvest.
We pray that we may have the opportunity to present to the people the message which Thou hast sent us to deliver, namely that angels, sent by Thee, have visited the earth in this dispensation, bringing to man again the everlasting gospel; that John the Baptist did visit the Prophet Joseph Smith, upon who he conferred, the authority to baptize;
That Peter, James, and John did ordain him, an Apostle of the Lord Jesus Christ, and endow him with the keys of the holy priesthood with authority to baptize with fire and the Holy Ghost and to organize the Church of Jesus Christ again in the earth;
And that Moroni, Thine ancient prophet of the Americas, did visit Joseph Smith and deliver into his hands the plates containing a history of the early inhabitants of this land, and that by Thy power Joseph Smith did translate the characters on the plates, from which he obtained the Book of Mormon;
And that he was visited by Thee and Thy Beloved Son, who committed into Joseph’s hands a great and new gospel dispensation for all flesh.
We are thankful that we are the bearers of these glad tidings to the peoples of the South American nations.
And we also pray that we may see the beginning of the fulfillment of Thy promises, contained in the Book of Mormon to the Indians of this land who are descendants of Lehi, millions of whom reside in this country, who have long been downtrodden and borne many afflictions and suffered because of sin and transgression, even as the prophets of the Book of Mormon did foretell. But Thou didst inspire those prophets, to promise their descendants that Thou wouldst bring forth in the latter day the records of the fathers, and that when these records were presented to their children they would begin to believe, and when they would do this Thy favor would return unto them, and then Thou wouldst remember the promise made to their fathers, that if their descendants would repent and receive the gospel, they would begin to be prospered and blessed on the land and would again become a white and delightsome people.
O Father, let Thy Spirit work upon them and manifest the truth of these things unto them, as we and Thy servants who shall follow us shall bear witness of Thy precious promises unto this branch of the house of Israel.
Father, bless Thy Church. In all the earth continue to guide those whom Thou hast called to lead it with wisdom and power to direct it forward to fulfill its great mission in the earth.
Sustain Thy servants who labor as missionaries in all parts of the world that they may have the opportunity and power to warn all men that the hour of judgment approaches and that Thou hast offered, through the gospel, a means of escape for the calamities that shall come upon all flesh unless they repent.
Remember in mercy the “hope of Israel,” the youth of Thy Church, who are to bear the responsibilities of the future, that they may keep themselves clean and undefiled from the sins of the world, that they may be found worthy of their inheritance and come to their glorious destiny. Bless those who are their shepherds, the watchmen upon the towers of Zion, that they may guard well the flock and be able to feed with the bread of life the sheep and the lambs.
We present for Thy kind consideration the members of our own families, from whom we are separated, who are now, and have in times past sacrificed much, that we may carry the gospel to the children of men. May health and life attend each one and the good cheer Thy Spirit brings be with them, and above all, keep them from sin and bless them with faith in Thee and Thy gospel.
Bless the presidents, governors, and leading officials of these American countries that they may kindly receive us and give us permission to open the doors of salvation to the peoples of these lands. May they be blessed in administering the affairs of their several offices that great good may come unto the people, that peace may be upon these nations that Thou hast made free through Thy blessings upon the valiant liberators of these lands, that righteousness may obtain and full liberty for the preaching of Thy gospel prevail. Stay the power of evil that it shall not triumph over Thy work, but that all Thine enemies shall be subdued and Thy truth be triumphant.
And now, O Father, by authority of the blessing and appointment of Thy servant, the President of the Church, and by the authority of the Holy Apostleship, which I hold, I do turn the key, unlock, and open the door for the preaching of the gospel in all these South American nations and do rebuke and command to be stayed every power that would oppose the preaching of the gospel in these lands. And we do bless and dedicate these nations and this land for the preaching of the gospel. And we do all this that salvation may come to all men and that Thy name may be honored and glorified in this part of the land of Zion.
Help us to bring men to Thee and Thy Son and speed the day when He shall come to rule as King of Kings and Lord of Lords. And for all Thy blessings, which shall bring success to our labors, we shall ascribe honor and power and glory to Thee forever and ever, amen.
Prayer by Elder A. Theodore Tuttle, June 28, 1962, capitalization and punctuation modernized.
Our Heavenly and Eternal Father:
As thou seest, we who are thy servants are gathered here this beautiful day on this beautiful occasion. Thou hast heard from each of us, Father, expressions which have come from our heart and our spirit, and again we jointly give Thee thanks and render our appreciation unto Thee for Thy goodness to us.
We are grateful for the gospel of Jesus Christ that gives us knowledge that we are Thy sons and daughters. We offer again unto Thee our gratitude for our many blessings in our lives past. We recognize that above the many millions of people who are on the face of the earth, that Thou hast blessed us and brought us to these positions of responsibility and authority and given to us the companions of our youth.
We are grateful for the knowledge, for the blessings, the experiences, the responsibilities that have been given to us. Oh, we humbly pray, our Father, that Thou wilt qualify and magnify us that we might accomplish Thy work better. Thou knowest that we do not desire for ourselves any personal attention but that we might accomplish much, that many righteous people who are Thy sons and daughters, whom we know that Thou dost love and we love, might be brought into Thy Church.
We love the missionaries over whom we preside. Bless them, strengthen them in their youth, and magnify them in the eyes of the people. Bless them with the ability to learn the lessons and, above all, that Thou wilt give them Thy Spirit that they will touch the hearts of the people over all this great continent. We pray that the promises that Thou hast given might be felt here. We do it for the exaltation and salvation to those, our brothers and sisters, to whom we are bound in bonds of fraternal unity, love, and blood.
Now, by the authority of the holy priesthood we hold, and for which we are so grateful, we rededicate this land, particularly, Father, this land of the Lamanites, to all of its extents and all its furthest boundaries. We rededicate it that the promises given by the holy prophets in times past might come quickly, and as Thou hast said, “Hasten in this day.” Oh Father, give us the vision of thy work, of what we must do and how we must organize and proceed so that we can do better what Thou hast called us to do. We pray that Thou wilt accept what efforts we put forth. We pray that Thou wilt strengthen us and hold this land, as it were, in the palm of Thy hand. Protect it against those who conspire to do evil. Let not the power of communism take over these governments. We know and recognize the power in the countries over which we preside. Hold it in abeyance. Hedge up the way of those who would do wickedly. Raise up righteous men that they might have power and influence for good, that they might further the work of Thy Church in each of the countries where we should be.
Let Thy hand bless and sustain those who would do what is right. And, oh, how we pray that Thou wilt raise up men of influence and integrity and power and affluence who can help build up chapels and temples and to do all that must be done. We do not ask for these things for any credit for ourselves, but for Thy children and for the growth of Thy Church. We dedicate ourselves anew—our time, talents, and our lives—that Thy work might be accomplished, that it might spread, that it might bless all those who are seeking for the truth.
We express unto Thee, our Father, our gratitude for Thy great leader whom Thou hast raised up, President McKay, his Counselors, the Twelve, and the Seventy, and those who direct Thy work on the earth. We sustain them with all our hearts and pray for them. We pray that we might be found to be in accordance with their policies and desires and do that which is appropriate. We pray that we might serve in unity and in love and in harmony.
By authority of the priesthood and presidency, I commence to call down Thy blessings on these presidents and their good companions who are gathered here. May they feel Thy influence, Thy wisdom and power in their lives. Qualify and magnify them in the eyes of their missionaries and the Saints of their missions. And in a greater degree, Father, may they be magnified in the eyes of those who have influence for the furtherance of Thy work, that it might grow here through contact with those who can speed Thy work, that they will lead them to the accomplishment of more effective labors through their efforts and Thy Spirit.
We are grateful for this wonderful experience of being here in a mission presidents’ conference, for all that it means in our lives. Help us to remember the Spirit we have felt here. All of this we humbly ask and do so in the name of Jesus Christ, amen.
Al and Kathleen Gardner reside in Arizona. They are the parents of two children, Robin and Kelli. They have also been blessed with six grandchildren and seven great-grandchildren.
Al Gardner was born in Ely, Nevada, and grew up in Lund, a small community established by his pioneer ancestors. Growing up on a ranch led him to study agriculture at the University of Nevada at Reno. At graduation he received a commission in the army and transferred his commission to the air force, where his love for flying overpowered his plans for veterinary school. He became a “Top Gun” fighter pilot instructor and was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross and Air Medal with nine oak leaf clusters for military service in active conflict.
As branch president of the University of Nevada institute branch in Reno, Al Gardner developed a close friendship with Ted Tuttle, who was serving as the institute director. Al said of his mentor, “I can think of no other individual outside of my own family who has played a more influential role in helping me establish my life’s goals than Elder Ted Tuttle. I consider him my personal mentor and a very dear friend. I am honored to play a small role in bringing his life story to print. I consider Ted Tuttle one of the finest men who ever walked on this earth.”
Al became a flight instructor and then a pilot for United Airlines with most of his flights to the islands of Hawaii. He retired as a lieutenant colonel from the air force and as a captain for United. During his career, Al called upon his ranching background to acquire property. Al played a key role in developing residential and industrial property throughout Arizona. Today he continues his land development hobby but has added a project in Kahuku, Hawaii, to develop homes and industry that will benefit both Brigham Young University–Hawaii and the Polynesian Cultural Center. Al presently serves as chairman of the BYU–Hawaii and Polynesian Cultural Center President’s Leadership Council, where he recruits new members to help fund scholarships for students from the Pacific Rim areas.
Kathleen Gardner shares the chairmanship of the President’s Leadership Council and has had a lifetime of Church service. She has served in all of the auxiliaries, including stake young women president. As a mother, grandmother, and great-grandmother, Kathleen loves spending time with the family. She is a talented interior decorator and loves making home and life beautiful.