I am truly honored to be married to Susan. She has been blessed with some amazing spiritual experiences, and I have been blessed to learn about them. I have asked her repeatedly to write down some of her experiences for the sake of posterity, and, although she has done some of that, she’s reluctant, partly because writing is difficult for her, and partly because writing forces her to re-live some very difficult and traumatic experiences.
She has long struggled with spelling and sentence structure, dating back to her youth when her family moved from country to country, and language to language. Her first language was Spanish, but before she could master it, her family moved to an English-speaking country, and before she could master that, they moved again. It caused some major problems for her in school. In fact she wasn’t able to read and write with any degree of proficiency until she was in college.
As I mentioned, she has written a few things so I will start there. A few years ago, as part of the BYU Pathway program she had an assignment to write about a spiritual experience. She titled it “I believe in Guardian Angels” (click the link to find it). It’s a story of a dark time in her life when the Lord sent a robin to cheer her up. When her BYU professor read it, he was so impressed that he advised her to send it to the church’s Ensign Magazine for publishing.
She also wrote of a miraculous experience which she and her family had while in Argentina as they helped the local church members build a chapel during heavy rains. She titled it “Priesthood Power Parted the Clouds”
Susan has also written a few journal entries which you can find here.
Susan has shared two particular experiences with me related to tithing.
The first occurred during her first marriage. Her husband was opposed to paying it at the time, and, even though she was working, her pay was being direct-deposited into a bank account that was under his control, so she was unable to pay even a portion of the tithing owed. As a consequence, they were both unworthy to attend the Temple, which really bothered Susan.
After much prayer, asking the Lord to help her find a way to pay tithing, she was blessed to receive an offer from her school to work as a Spanish translator. She was already employed at the school as a teacher’s assistant so this was an additional part-time job. Moreover, they agreed to pay her directly for this work instead of depositing the money directly into the bank.
Susan had mixed feelings about accepting the job. Yes, it meant that she might at last be able to pay tithing, but she was fearful that she wouldn’t be able to do the job well because her Spanish had grown rusty over the years through lack of use.
Nevertheless, she trusted in the Lord and accepted the position. That’s when she truly learned that he was helping her. She found that when she was “on the clock”, helping families communicate with school teachers and administrators, her Spanish was nearly flawless, but the moment she was “off the clock”, her Spanish skills seemed to fade and she had trouble carrying on simple conversations.
At length, she was indeed able to save enough money to pay tithing in full thus allowing her and her husband to once again attend the Temple again.
The second experience with tithing occurred several years later, after she separated from her husband. She was struggling mightily to support herself and her 4 teenage children. She realized that there was no way she could afford to support them and pay tithing. That’s when she learned of the experience of someone else in a similar situation who had decided to exhibit great faith by paying tithing, not based upon actual income, but upon the income needed to survive.
Susan decided to put it to the test. She determined in advance how much income she needed each month and then paid tithing (10%) first, trusting that the Lord would provide the other 90%. That’s when the miracles began to happen. She would receive money unexpectedly, including a refund for an overpayment from years earlier that she wasn’t aware of. One day she discovered that her cupboards and refrigerator were completely bare, and then received an expected visit from a dear friend who had been inspired to buy bags of groceries for her and her children.
Her family got through that period — not easily — but they never went hungry.