Excited to play Little League scrimmage, I joined the United Fence baseball team with my elder brother when I turned 8 years old. Playing baseball is great for many young men, but I remember for me this was a highlight of my youth. I wasn’t particularly good, but I deeply admired my brother and his friends. They knew how to play sports well and didn’t fool around. They were really accomplished, at least in my view; playing on the same team was a dream come true for me.
I used to pride myself by saying that short-stop was my favorite position. It was, but I probably ended up in right field more often. But that’s okay; right-fielders have their glory days, too. Mine was during a big game. Mom and Dad were in the bleachers, and the league’s big, infamous left-handed hitter on the opposing team came to the plate. The pitcher threw a perfect strike across home plate. Crack! The ball soared into the air heading straight for right field, and the crowd erupted.
Excitement and fear hit me all at once, like an electrical current surging through my body. I fought the temptation to run forward. I considered that I might need to shift back. The ball seemed to just hang in the air. I don’t remember moving too much, maybe not at all. Providence in heaven must have carried that ball hurling through the air to its destination for the hopes of a small boy.
Before I knew it, the ball dropped directly into my mitt. No one could have been more surprised than I was when I caught that rocket as it plummeted into right field. In fact, I was so thrilled that I wasn’t going to let it go until everyone started yelling because the runners on base tagged up and began sprinting around the infield.
I loved practicing baseball, playing in the games, trading baseball cards, and going to 7-11 after every game for a Slurpee–win or lose—and doing it all with my big brother.
Life was magical and wonderful as a child.
I was actually blessed with four brothers. And despite our difference in ages, we have always had a special relationship. My connection to my brothers not only blessed me during my growing-up years, but it has inspired my adulthood as well. They have come to my rescue multiple times.
Part of the “Two Brothers Two” series.
Obviously, I am far from perfect, and despite my numerous shortcomings, they have been faithful, true, and warm towards me and my family. I don’t warrant the commitment and loyalty they consistently show me. But I guess that’s what brothers do.
Anyone that knows something about our church, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, knows that we have a peculiar doctrine when compared with the prevalent beliefs of mankind. Much has been said toward this end, but that is not so surprising since the Lord Himself has used this term numerous times when discussing His people.
Our referring to one another as brothers and sisters within the Church is likely rather peculiar, but it is typical and not by accident. This strategy unifies us and brings us together, helping remind us that we are all cut from the same cloth—the family of God—and our relationships are important.
We refer to the male members of the Church, including the living apostles and prophets, collectively as brethren. There is a reason for this.
“Your commitment to follow the Savior by making covenants with Him and then keeping those covenants will open the door to every spiritual blessing and privilege available to men, women, and children everywhere.”
—President Russell M. Nelson
The Savior is our Brother, and we often affectionately reference Deity as our Father in Heaven. I like to think these are the favorite of their many titles we use to honor them.
We also have a lot of titles—professional, ecclesiastical, social, and familial. Of all our titles, there are none more important than those we carry with us now and will throughout eternity.
Certainly one of them is brother.
About Walter Penning
In 1989, Walter Penning formed a consultancy based in Salt Lake City and empowered his clients by streamlining processes and building a loyal, lifetime customer base with great customer service. His true passion is found in his family. He says the best decision he ever made was to marry his sweetheart and have children. The wonderful family she has given him and her constant love, support, and patience amid life's challenges is his panacea.