Vai's View: Mission president changed lots of lives

Published: Monday, Dec. 6 2010 10:15 a.m. MST

President Greenwood's insistence on this matter was so profound for me that I vowed to live by it, even when I returned home. In my NFL and broadcasting career, I have been around a lot of beautiful women. Many of my superiors are women, but I've maintained a policy that I don't do lunches or am I anywhere alone with a woman. Such a policy protected us in the SDRCM, I figured, so why wouldn't it protect me in my job? I've witnessed people whose lives and careers have been destroyed because of infidelity. I've been protected throughout my professional career because President Parry Greenwood was adamant that we adhere to Church policy as young missionaries in the SDRCM.

The SDRCM way proved to be effective in courting my wife. She was impressed that I stood in her presence and was chivalrous, as we were taught by Parry Greenwood in the SDRCM. It's impossible to quantify what the Greenwoods mean to me and what they've done for me, in the same way it's impossible to do that for one's parents.

I look at it this way. He was a brigadier general in the Air Force. If I had enlisted in the Air Force, could I have ever been in his circle? No. If I worked at Microsoft, would I have had a chance to get near Bill Gates? No.

But as a young missionary, I was privileged to work closely with a man who, in my estimation, is better than any CEO, CFO or COO. The Lord preserved Parry Greenwood's life, I'm convinced, in part so he could lead the men and women who served under his leadership in the SDRCM.

My life has been profoundly influenced by five people I met in South Dakota. Two of them were extraordinary young missionaries, Elders Dale Atherton and Arthur Berg. The third was a General Authority, who I only visited with for five or seven minutes, but whose counsel proved useful and profound. The fourth, was my mission president; a bona fide war hero who was as gentle, meek and humble as he was tough and inspirational. The fifth is a man who was willing to risk everything – his marriage, his family, his children … EVERYTHING – to accept the gospel of Jesus Christ. In the end, he lost nothing but gained it all, and then some.

In my next blog, I will introduce you to Robert Dull, a mechanical engineer, who was running a family business in Rapid City when my companion and I stumbled upon him. The result of that chance meeting completely changed the course of our lives. And its effect is felt today in the BYU Athletic Department. I'll explain next week.

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