Saturday, January 25, 2014

Bishop James D. Glenn Jr.: The Essence of Intimidation

Now, that title may seem a bit harsh. It is very likely that Bishop Glenn was indeed a kind and compassionate man. But when one is 13 and trying to sift through the complexities of life, Bishop Glenn was that type of person that easily intimidated me.

To start with, he was a lawyer. Not just a lawyer, but a very, very smart lawyer. I perceived that he knew everything about every topic. He could talk about sports, current events, cars, the gospel, and, of course, the law.

To add to his overpowering persona he was tall and had a commanding voice. He was not one to get down and interact with the youth. It was not his in is nature.


However, to temper this imposing giant in my life was his wife, Rexine. She was to total opposite of Bishop Glenn. She was soft spoken and demure. She always had a smile on her face that was not a fa├žade, rather an expression of her natural kindness. It always baffled me how Bishop and Sister Glenn ever decided to marry.

But, there was a tragedy in the life of the Glenn family that I felt softened the rough edges of Bishop Glenn. They had a surprise child several years after their last one. They named her Allison Kyree which means the last, as she was to be their last child.

How they doted on the beautiful baby. All of her siblings were much older and I am sure her two sisters, Shelia and Michelle became a second mother to her. I don’t recall how old she was when the accident happened, but I clearly remember the deep sadness that resulted from it.

The Glenn family was visiting some extended family members somewhere in the eastern California hills. It was large parcel of land that came with a pond. As the adults were visiting and the cousins were playing, everyone lost track of young Kyree.

As with most young children, Kyree was naturally attracted towards the pond. For the few second it took for her to go from the gaze of so many cousins, siblings, and adults, she quickly made her way to the pond where she fell in and drowned. It seemed such a senseless death to a family that had devoted their lives to living the gospel.

The ward was deeply saddened by this but, if I recall correctly, the family was able to quickly recover from this tragic loss when either Bishop or Sister Glenn were visited one night by Kyree’s spirit. She appeared as a fully grown woman and told the person experiencing this vision to not stress over her death. All was well with her and they need not be sad.

Again, I may have that story all wrong and I invite any who know more about this to add more clarity to my version of this story. But since the death of his baby daughter, I never had the sense that Bishop Glenn was intimidating any more. It could be that I grew up or it could be that he changed as the result of the void left by the death of his young daughter.

Bishop Glenn died on August 1, 2013. Karen recently became a substitute organist at the Mt. Timpanogos Temple and it just so happens that Rexine is the coordinator for the pool organist. So after all these years our paths with the Glenn family crossed. 

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