'I have never felt denied'

GLENRIDGE, Georgia — When Nathaniel Womble of the Glenridge Ward, Atlanta Georgia Stake, thinks of the priesthood, he does not focus on the 1978 revelation, but rather on the restoration of the priesthood to Joseph Smith in 1829.

"That's the day I commemorate," he says, "because that's the day the Lord restored the priesthood to the earth. He meant for me to have it, too, but the time had to be right. Like so many other things that I have encountered in my life, I've had to be realistic. We all do."

Among his favorite scriptures is 2 Nephi 26:28: "Behold, hath the Lord commanded any that they should not partake of his goodness? Behold, I say unto you, Nay, but all men are privileged the one like unto the other, and none are forbidden."

He smiles and says, "I have never felt denied in this Church."

Brother Womble's first experience with the Church was in May 1978, one month before the revelation on the priesthood was announced. Two sister missionaries stopped to get gas at his filling station in Atlanta and when he noticed their Utah license plates, he asked why these two young women were so far away from home.

They told him they were missionaries sent to preach the gospel. He immediately responded, "Well, come on and teach me."

By the time the sisters set up an appointment to teach Brother Womble, the new priesthood revelation had been announced.

"I have never been able to find the words to express what it was like when those two sisters entered my home," Brother Womble reflects. "Wherever they stood, the immediate area surrounding them seemed to be distinctly clear and clean, while the rest of the room seemed dark, almost smoky — as if someone had just squeegeed a section of a dirty window, right where they were standing. I could hardly talk. And when they showed me the picture of Joseph Smith in the grove, I felt enveloped right into that scene as if I were there."

A few weeks later, Brother Womble married his wife, Ruby, whom he had met years earlier at the Baptist Church where he had once been a preacher. On July 15, 1978, Brother Womble was baptized; on Aug. 5, he baptized his wife. They have five children and 21 grandchildren.

Brother and Sister Womble feel there is no difference between the way they were treated when they joined the Church 25 years ago from the way they are treated today.

"The gospel is meant to bring people together. . . ," said Brother Womble. "God has a plan and I am part of that plan. More than that, I personally have something to contribute to that plan."

Page T. Johnson

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