Episode 103: Church News chief copy editor David Schneider on coping with trials and change by choosing to focus on miracles
David Schneider talks about how the gospel of Jesus Christ has helped him move forward amid the death of his wife and becoming a single father to a daughter with special needs
Episode 103: Church News chief copy editor David Schneider on coping with trials and change by choosing to focus on miracles
David Schneider talks about how the gospel of Jesus Christ has helped him move forward amid the death of his wife and becoming a single father to a daughter with special needs
In 2020, David Schneider, Church News chief copy editor and print production manager, began work with the Church News after working for Deseret News for 40 years in various writing and editing roles. Just as he was moving to a new job, he lost his wife, Carma, to cancer and a heart condition, leaving him as a single father to five children.
This episode of the Church News podcast features his experiences navigating trials and change. He shares his decision to focus on the little miracles that reveal God knows and loves His children. Schneider talks about his work in the changing industry of journalism, his marriage and family — including the adoption of four children — the loss of his wife, parenting an adult daughter with special needs and how the gospel of Jesus Christ has helped him move forward despite complex life changes.
David Schneider: But there have been miracles. And we don’t always get to pick which miracle we’re going to have, but God knows who individuals are, including, even me. Ways are opened when they need to be opened and sometimes, not until the last minute, but be it, being able to move into a job where I had the flexibility I would need, or to have two experienced mothers sit down next to me and be able to help me understand some things about having a special needs daughter. I don’t think those things would have all happened at the time they needed to happen if the Heavenly Father didn’t know my situation and know better than me what I needed.
Sarah Jane Weaver: I’m Sarah Jane Weaver, editor of the Church News. Welcome to the Church News podcast. We are taking you on a journey of connection as we discuss news and events of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. For almost two years now, the Church News podcast has shared the messages of Church leaders and members and the voices of those on our own staff, who weekly work to record a record of the restoration. On this episode of the Church News podcast, we welcome David Schneider, Church News chief copy editor and print production manager. He has worked for the Deseret News for 40 years, including as an assistant managing editor, Mormon Times editor, sports editor, director of deseretnews.com, associate city editor and as a staff writer. Dave graduated from BYU and is the father of five children, four of whom were adopted. He’s also served on the Families Supporting Adoption national board. Two months after he started work for the Church News in January of 2021, he also lost his wife Carma to a heart condition complicated by cancer. He joins the Church News podcast to talk about his work, the challenges of being a single parent and how the gospel of Jesus Christ has helped him move forward. Welcome, Dave, to the Church News podcast.
David Schneider: Thank you.
Sarah Jane Weaver: Well, why don’t we start and just have you tell us a little bit about yourself. Obviously, like all of us who work at the Church News, you have a little journalism bug in you.
David Schneider: Yes, I was interested in newspapers from the time I was a little kid and watched the newspaper land on our front porch every evening, and my parents were diligent newspaper readers, and I became interested in current events and politics. And I really went to BYU with the intention of then going to law school. But in the process of taking my classes, I worked on the Daily Universe, the student newspaper down there. The Deseret News had an internship the summer between my junior and senior years and I applied for and received that internship. And those four months were the most fun of my life up to that point. And so at a certain point, I decided I would rather work for the Deseret News. I did go back after the internship for my senior year and graduated, but in the process, the Deseret News offered me a full-time job and I thought, “This will be more fun than three more years of school.” And so I didn’t become a lawyer. I became a newspaper reporter instead.
Sarah Jane Weaver: There is something about being right on the front lines of what’s happening. I often refer to that when I’m thinking of the work we do for Church News as the “Church News window.” It’s not that we get to do anything that’s different than any other Church member. It’s just that we have a really good seat to watch the events of the Church unfold. It was so great to have you come over to Church News. Tell us what you were thinking when you came over.
David Schneider: Well, the newspaper industry is changing. And it was way different than it was 40 years ago when I was doing my internship. I was to the point where I could have retired. And Sarah, you came and asked me if I’d be interested in working for Church News. And I thought, “That sounds interesting,” because I had been in most other departments at the paper over 40 years. And so I said, Yes, “I’m interested.” And it took awhile to get some of the reorganizations done for that to happen, but in the meantime, Carma, my late wife, her health was getting worse. She had, six years earlier, had a battle with cancer, that, even though she won the battle with cancer, the chemotherapy and radiation and the long fight that that took, diminished her health significantly. And in that interim period between transitioning from the daily Deseret News to Church News, she spent several months in and out of the hospital and then later passed away. And during that time, I was trying to decide between retiring, because I had enough years in that I could retire, or going back to work. And as you know, you kept me in the loop and told me that I had some time to make a decision. And after not working for a couple of months, I thought, I’m going to be more useful in life if I go back to work than if I sit around being retired. Now, not to say I won’t retire someday and do something useful, but at least at this point in my life, it seemed to make more sense for me to have something to do on a regular basis.
Sarah Jane Weaver: And you oversee, for us, the print production of Church News, which is a vestige of traditional journalism that does not exist everywhere in the world right now. In January of 2021, the Deseret News stopped publishing a daily print newspaper, Church News had always published a weekly print newspaper. We continue to do that. We continue to have a high number of subscribers who like reading the Church News in that form and that is something that’s a little different. When you put out a weekly paper, you sort of gather things up for the whole week and figure out what you can fit into, what is typically 24 tabloid pages, but when we produce our website, as you’ve also been involved with and helped us with as a copy editor, that’s minute to minute, hour to hour. As soon as something breaks, we want to be talking about it on social media, we want to be uploading a story. And so you sort of are a bridge, to us, for two worlds; this new world that is unfolding with journalism and the future of media, and then this past form of journalism that we all love so much.
David Schneider: And I love being able to participate in both worlds. And the print world is something that I’ve dealt with for decades and managed different sections of the Deseret News. And so it’s something I’m very familiar with. And so to be able to do that for Church News, I found that to be intriguing. And when people ask me what I do, I usually, to someone who’s not in the journalism business, I usually tell them one of two things or both. I tell them, “I change commas to semicolons, and vice versa.” That’s the copy editing side of it, which is sort of accurate, that, I do do that. And then I tell him, “I keep track of things,” which is part of managing a print production. “There are X number of stories that need to come in over the next three days. And they need to have photographs with them. And they need to be edited. And they need to be assigned to it, put on the page, and the designer needs to put them on a page.” And so that’s one of the skills that I’ve learned in the decades of working for a daily newspaper, to keep track of things and keep things moving in the right direction.
Sarah Jane Weaver: I want to talk to you a little bit about change. Because you transitioned to Church News at a time when the newspaper industry was changing. And that changing was impacting Deseret News in a very dramatic way. It was the same time Deseret News had stopped publishing a daily print paper. And then you had all these changes in your personal life. What was it like to have so many new things hitting you all at once?
David Schneider: It was hard. It was very hard. Just the professional changes would have been hard by themself, just the family change would have been hard by itself. And putting those both together at the same time was overwhelming. And thankfully, you and the Church News staff was patient with me while I sorted through some of those things, and got to the point where I could deal with one and then the other and then could deal with both of them together. But it took a lot of prayer. It took a lot of divine help. It took help from family and neighbors and ward members. And it still needs a lot of help. Not everything is where I would like it to be. Of course, I would like it to be something completely different, but that’s not going to happen in this life. And so the combination of things, though, I think helped me to rely on Heavenly Father and my testimony. Certainly, I had to do that facing both of those things.
Sarah Jane Weaver: Well, I remember an interview we did shortly before that time with President M. Russell Ballard. President Ballard’s sweet wife died at general conference almost four years ago, now, and her funeral was a few days after conference on President Ballard’s 90th birthday. We did an interview with him and we asked about that. And he said, “It’s so lonely at night.” He went right to “Things are pretty traditionally consistent in the day.” He went to work every day at the Church Administration Building before he lost her. And he continued to do that after, but it was the going home and being alone at night that was hard for him.
David Schneider: My situation’s a little different, because two of my five children are still at home, although one’s a 23 year-old son and he pretty much has his own life. But my youngest, my daughter who’s 21 years old, she has some special needs. She is functionally a 4- or 5-year-old. She is autistic, has some intellectual disabilities, not as serious physical disabilities, but functionally, think a kindergartener in an adult body. And so I am not lonely at night. I am busy when I come home from work. Going to work is the easier part of the day, and that was a challenge even with a mom and a dad at home. And now as a single parent, there are some challenges there. She has, in a typical week, anywhere from one to three doctor’s appointments or therapy visits. She can’t ever be left alone, so even to go out on a morning run, I’ve got to make sure that someone else is in the house for 30 to 45 minutes. And so I’m not lonely. It is a little different.
Sarah Jane Weaver: And you told a story to the staff about trying to fix your rain gutters and having the ladder come down. I’d love to have you recount that story here.
David Schneider: My older children threatened to take the ladder away from me. My doctor says I’ve got a couple of more years before he would take the ladder from me. But I was up on the roof cleaning the rain gutters and as I started down the ladder, I guess I had not braced it well enough, and so it started to slide and I ended up falling a few feet onto our back deck. I wasn’t seriously hurt, but I was lying on the deck. And I guess my younger daughter, who was in the room just off the back patio watching television, she heard me fall, I guess. And she opened the back door and said, “Dad, you OK?” And I said, “I don’t know.” And she said, “Oh” and closed the door and went back to watching television. She had no concept of what to do.
Sarah Jane Weaver: That is a challenge, when so much in your life falls on you. It’s her care, it’s your care, it’s home repairs. It is the lot of anyone who’s single or anyone who has lost a spouse or is otherwise alone.
David Schneider: One of the things that’s weighed heavily on me is whether I should stay in the home where we raised five children. I mean, there’s just two of the children still at home. And on the one hand, while I can still get the lawn mowed every week, the flower beds and the vegetable gardens that we put together back when there were a lot more people around the house to take care of them, they’re not getting taken care of. That’s just beyond what can happen right now. And so maybe staying in this house with a yard is not the best option. On the other hand, with an autistic child, being in a place that she’s familiar with is very important. You know, having a backyard where someone in an adult body can run around and be safe. That’s important too. And I’ve put a lot of prayer into, “Do I stay or do I go somewhere else?” And I’ve never received a concrete answer on that for the long term.
Earlier this year, one Saturday I was in a losing battle with my sprinkler system. And it wasn’t affecting just one zone. It was making it so the whole system was unusable. Now during this drought year, I planned to water less, but I didn’t plan to water none and have the lawn die completely. I was just going to let it go a little bit brown in acknowledgement of the drought. This was about the third day in a row that something had frustrated me. Any one of those was not an important thing, but it was a frustrating thing. And so I’m kind of at the end of my rope. I tried two or three things on the sprinkler valve and wasn’t making any progress. Feeling defeated, I kind of slouched down on the steps on my front porch and said something to the effect of, “God, I need to know if I’m supposed to stay here, because if I’m not, I’m gonna let the next homeowner worry about the sprinkler system.” Now, that hardly qualifies as a proper prayer. It certainly was lacking the appropriate humility and the appropriate respect that should be part of asking something of Heavenly Father. And thinking back on it, I’m not sure I was even really expecting an answer. I knew that wasn’t really a proper prayer, but a merciful Heavenly Father looked down on me and sent me an answer with the very clear impression that: “You’re not moving anytime soon, so get up and deal with the sprinkler system.”
I still don’t have a long-term answer. I don’t know that “not anytime soon” is my answer for the long term, but it did give me some direction to go at that point. And even though, based on my attitude going into that question, I probably didn’t deserve any heavenly communication, a merciful Heavenly Father gave me some direction.
Sarah Jane Weaver: That is pretty typical, though. We all have these hard times. And sometimes the answer is: “Just keep going. Just keep trying.”
David Schneider: Yes. And I’ve learned that a lot for someone who, as part of my profession, involves planning ahead, short term and long term, and for much of our life, when a mom and a dad and kids and even when we weren’t able to have any more children natural way, there were some plans, and then all of a sudden, something comes along that, for most elements of my life, I really can’t plan. And that’s been a change for me to have to rely more on something other than my ability to plan.
Sarah Jane Weaver: Well, I do want to talk about your children. You and Carma have five kids. You’ve adopted four, and they’re all different races. What have you learned about just God’s love for all of His children from your own children?
David Schneider: I frequently go back to 2 Nephi Chapter 26. And it’s a scripture that’s familiar to a lot of people and in part, it says, “and he inviteth them all to come unto him and partake of his goodness; and he denieth none that come unto him, black and white, bond and free, male and female … and all are alike unto God.” And that, I know personally, is true. Different races come from different birth backgrounds, and then my daughter who’s had some significant special needs. One of our sons was born during a heroin overdose a little more than three months early. We thought he was going to be the special needs child, not the full term, youngest child. But they’re all God’s children. And a lot of people have been very supportive. Occasionally, we’ve had people who haven’t been so supportive of a mixed-race family. But I know that, and Carma knew that, and it’s something we talked about regularly, was that the children who are supposed to be in our home were going to be in our home.
Sarah Jane Weaver: So you have mentioned that so much of what you accomplished, you have accomplished with the support of others. That’s been the experience of my life, as well. How have your neighbors, and ward and adult children rallied around you in the past 18 months to help see you through some of the challenges that you’ve faced?
David Schneider: Well, I have help watching Kimberly that’s needed at times. Our Young Women leaders in our ward have been very helpful and patient. Our bishop excuses me from meetings sometimes when I can’t make it. We got a lot of meals from the ward, just a logistical thing. At various times, I’ve had each of my three married children in our house while they were going through a transition and that’s been helpful. And it’s taken a lot of people to, to help me and the rest of us get through this.
Sarah Jane Weaver: So often, we have help of those around us. Often they render that help, because they, like you, believe in the Savior Jesus Christ. How has the Atonement helped you and sustained you?
David Schneider: Well, I have to keep going back to “life isn’t fair.” And I had to think through that quite hard, and life isn’t fair. And there have been times I’ve just had to, in my prayers, say, you know, “Help me to take this frustration I have and let it be swallowed up by the Atonement, because I’m not going to solve it, and Heavenly Father, I don’t think there’s anything that …” — not that He couldn’t do anything. But that’s not part of the plan that He would step in and solve these things. So, I just need to let this frustration, longing, to not weigh on me, but to let it be placed on the Savior on the Atonement that He made for us.
Sarah Jane Weaver: One of the things that you help us with that is so needed and effective is the coordination of our general conference edition. You’ve got so many speakers. Each has a small hole in the print edition where we, I think it’s like, what, 240 words per speaker, that we can summarize what they said. And we don’t just do that at general conference. We record the words of the Brethren and the words of our Church leaders all year-round. Is there something that you have read from one of the leaders of our Church that has made a difference for you?
David Schneider: Church News always, the day right after general conference is over in April, Church News staff members go over and we meet the newly sustained general authorities and general officers of the Church, and one of the new general authorities who was sustained in April of this year was Elder Mark Eddy . He was not someone I met, but as each Church News staff member wrote about each of these new general authorities and the new general officers, Elder Eddy said something in the article about him that I have used in my mind, as I think over the struggles I’ve had trying to discern an answer to some of my prayers. He described how he came to gain his testimony of the Book of Mormon and he notes the amount of time it took for him to receive that answer. And he said, “Not only did the answer come just in time, but the process of receiving it took enough work and lasted just long enough for me to never forget.” And for the past few months, I kept that in mind, as I ask questions and hope for answers and sometimes get answers. And I think, yes, I had to do some work and that helps me remember it. And the feeling stays long enough for me to remember it.
Sarah Jane Weaver: Well, I’m glad you brought that up. The first time I ever interviewed any general authority was in one of those new general authority interviews the day after general conference, and it was in 1996 and the new general authority was Elder Quentin L. Cook. He was, at that point, called to the Second Quorum of the Seventy —he would later serve in the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles — and in that interview, he had an impact on me just like you’re describing from Elder Eddy. Elder Cook recalled that as he was growing up, his father, who was a good, good man, but not active in the Church, wanted his sons to achieve academically. And he and his older brother were trying to figure out if his older brother should go to medical school or serve a mission. And so they make a hypothesis. And the hypothesis is that if the gospel of Jesus Christ is just a good thing, then he could probably serve just as well as a doctor, or even more people as a doctor, than as a missionary. But if The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints was the true Church, then he needed to serve a mission, because he needed to save souls and expose them to that truth. And they prayed that night, and at the end, you know, Elder Cook’s brother, Larry Cook, ended up serving a mission. And that was the impetus that led Elder Cook on a mission. So we all have these sort of hinge points in our lives. I’d be interested in what other times were spiritual hinge points for you.
David Schneider: When Carma and I were dating, she was very upfront with me on her health and that we weren’t going to have a large family. Now, we ended up with five children, anyway, but it wasn’t the way most people would end up with five children. And so as our dating got more and more serious, and we needed to make some decisions, I spent a morning in the temple. I won’t give any details about that experience, but it ended up with an answer to a question that this was the person I should pursue getting married to. That was probably the first time in my life, when I’m dealing with something of eternal consequences, that involves another person, that I had to understand that the stuff I just thought was always going to happen, because that’s what happens to everybody, might be a bit different. And she had the faith to help me see that, as I mentioned earlier, the children who were supposed to be in our family would be in our family. And then, when, after she gave birth once, and it wasn’t going to happen again, that we would pray and pursue and do the best we could and rely on Heavenly Father to help make things happen. And it wasn’t always easy. There were a couple of failed adoptions in that process. And those were hard. They were like losing a child, but with her help, we always knew that we were doing the best we could, moving the direction we thought we needed to go. And the two of us, together, we’re going to be the parents to those children.
Sarah Jane Weaver: You know, when we think about grief, we often read about stages in grief. I know that when you lost Carma, I personally was angry. I wanted her to get better. I wanted your family to be whole. Have you had any moments where you just doubted?
David Schneider: Yes, there were moments, but, and this wasn’t even a spiritual thing, the logic told me that it’s not going to be like that again. And so then I would have to take that logic and go back to where it was. I did have a spiritual experience that led me to know that that was supposed to happen. And I appreciate having that, because that grounded me to quit going back and wishing “what if something different had happened, or what if we had done something different, or some doctor had done something different or we had done something sooner?” So, yes, I had some of those, but no, in the end, I came to learn that in the eternal scheme of things, that’s what was supposed to happen. Now, I’m not necessarily happy about it. I’ve wished that I wasn’t trying to raise a 4-year-old in a 21-year-old body as a single parent, but because I have the foundation that, that’s what’s supposed to be, I feel better about going forward with that than I would if I didn’t have that reassurance.
Sarah Jane Weaver: And so much of this happened right in the middle of the COVID pandemic, which was isolating anyway. Certainly Carma’s funeral looked different because of the pandemic, but there were also some compensatory blessings for you, because so much of your work when you did come back could be done remotely. And even now, because of that remote work, there is a level of flexibility that maybe you did not have in your employment before.
David Schneider: Oh, yes. Most weeks, on Mondays and Fridays, I can work from home. And that gives me the flexibility to, as much as we can, move those doctor and therapist appointments to those days. They’re less busy days; I can bail out for a couple of hours and take care of some of those things and know I’ll get the rest of the work done later that day, or on the busier days, Tuesday through Thursday. So that’s been helpful. I’m not sure how I would have handled it having to be in the office for eight or nine hours a day, five days a week. That would have been a whole different story.
Sarah Jane Weaver: And last fall, I took a unique trip. I went to England, with President M. Russell Ballard and Elder Jeffrey R. Holland and Elder Quentin L. Cook. And each of those senior leaders had served as missionaries in the British Isles. And for five days, they talked about how their missions had shaped their lives, how they had gained testimonies that carried them through good times and bad times and hard times, and prepared them for Church leadership. Tell us about your service as a young missionary.
David Schneider: I served in the Japan Sapporo Mission, which is on the island of Hokkaido, the far northern island of Japan. There was lots of snow, lots of wind, lots of sleet, lots of cold and there’s only one good-size city on that island. And so most of our time was out in medium-size or smaller cities knocking on doors, being cold. And Japan is, as with many First World countries, it’s a little tougher to get people who are interested in religion, but I learned a couple of things. One is perseverance. Another is, I was someone who generally got good grades through high school and into my first year of college, and all of a sudden, I’m out trying to learn a language that, you know, this wasn’t French or German or Spanish or something that I might have picked up a whole lot sooner than I picked up the Japanese. It took a lot of faith. I mean, there were times, even as a senior companion, we’d be out knocking on the door and someone would say something to me and I had no idea what was going on. My last couple of months of the mission, we had a water heater explosion in our apartment. No one was hurt or anything, but it didn’t work anymore and I picked up the phone and called the gas company. And I knew the word for “water heater,” but I didn’t know the Japanese word for “explosion.” That’s not something we had learned in the Missionary Training Center. I said, “Water heater go boom.” They got it. I looked at my brother and my son who served in South America and they came back being fluent. After two years, I was still struggling with the language, and I had to learn teaching the gospel to just rely on the feeling sometimes more than the words I was hearing or able to say.
Sarah Jane Weaver: It is a beautiful thing, because I got to see the conclusion, or the continuation, of some of your missionary efforts when I covered the dedication of the Sapporo Japan Temple. It really is a beautiful temple.
David Schneider: I hope to get to see it someday. When I was there: They created the first stake in Sapporo a week or two before I got there on my mission in 1978. They created the second stake in Sapporo just a couple of weeks before I left my mission in the summer of 1980. And so I felt thrilled that I was able to be there during a time, not that I had hundreds or even dozens of investigators who were baptized, but that I got to be there at a time when the area went from one stake to two. And then a few decades later to see a temple there, I found it thrilling. And then, when the new temple presidents were announced [this year], there was a name there I recognized. It was a couple who, I was the district leader, I interviewed them for baptism while I was on my mission. I wasn’t the missionary who found and taught them, but I, well, I did teach them some, and I interviewed them for baptism as the district leader. And that was exciting to see someone who decades earlier was a brand new member of the Church, and not someone I’d really kept track of over time, because I wasn’t their primary teaching missionary, but to see the name and to see their service in the Church decades later.
Sarah Jane Weaver: Well, and I had one of those hinge point moments in my life at the Sapporo temple dedication. The members there were so faithful. I interviewed couples that were leaders in the Church that had joined the Church during their university years. You could see how the Lord had had His hand in that area of the Church for a long, long time. And the temple is commanding and beautiful and, you know, all I knew about Sapporo before I went there was that it was an Olympic city. And yet, you get there and you step foot on those beautiful temple grounds, they look like you would expect temple grounds to look like in Japan. They reflect local architecture and the gardens are beautiful. And yet, when I got there, I was lonely. I was traveling all by myself. I would write down, in the morning, everything that I needed to know. And then I would have the hotel concierge translate it into the language for the cab driver. So I would say, “Take me to the Latter-day Saint temple,” and then it would have it in Japanese, so I could just point to it, you know. That was when we were doing cultural celebrations, and we put the directions on there so I could get in a cab and show the cab driver, “I need to go to the cultural celebration,” and the address was written in the Japanese language. And I had done all these interviews all morning, and I remember just praying before I left the hotel, that very morning, “I just don’t want to eat another meal alone.” And I went to the temple grounds, and I did some interviews, and I walked in the temple and there was a North American couple. And they said, “Sister Weaver, we’re just headed to the mall for lunch, would you like to join us?” And I knew the Lord cared about me and He cared about the things I cared about. And it was like this, just little, divine signature that said, “We understand and I want to help you with the work you’re doing.” Certainly, you’ve had to have had things in your life that you would consider divine signatures.
David Schneider: Oh, yes. One was, as I mentioned earlier, the feelings I had regarding getting married. And others were, as we looked at different ways that we could add children to our family through adoption. And one happened just almost a year ago, as I was trying to figure out some ways to deal with being the single parent — and a father, at that — of an adult daughter whose functional level is not that good. I mean, moms can do things that dads can’t — philosophically, physically. Carma had dealt with the day-to-day needs of Kimberly for so long, even in Carma’s poorest health at times she was still able to sit in her chair in the family room and kind of direct things the right direction they’re supposed to go.
Sarah Jane Weaver: And do her hair.
David Schneider: And do hair, yes. Yeah, I never did accomplish that. And now we just keep it short, because I don’t deal with the hair. But as I was struggling with how to do some of those things, just to keep things going in the right direction. The social worker suggested that I join a support group. And that wasn’t a bad suggestion, but the logistics just weren’t going to work – a full-time job sometimes took more than 40 hours a week, I was usually in the office one or two evenings a week as we approached our weekly deadline, the multiple appointments with doctors or therapists for Kimberly, I was often at the church one evening a week and for several hours on Sunday. And so when the social worker says, “Join and participate in a support group,” my response basically was, “Yeah, sure.” And I kind of made a mental note that I needed to think about that sometime, you know, when there weren’t higher-priority or more pressing things to have to figure out.
And the Lord provided. Kimberly’s part of a dancers-with-special-needs program with Tanner Dance at the University of Utah. And I was the main source of transportation, because the chemotherapy had basically made Carma so she couldn’t drive. And I would take Kimberly up to her dance class on Saturday mornings, and then I would park myself in a corner and, for an hour or so, catch up on all the email I hadn’t resolved during the week. But one Saturday morning, last fall, I sat down in an alcove with my phone and went to do what I usually do, and I was interrupted by a tender mercy from the Lord. Two moms from the class sat, one on each side of me, and started talking. And as they were talking about some of their concerns — and their children are about the same age as Kimberly, don’t have exactly the same special needs, but are somewhat similar, both physically and developmentally. And they’re moms, and they knew more than I did about how to deal with those things. I looked up from my phone enough to engage in the conversation. And then I put my phone down, and we had a conversation for an hour.
During the conversation, it became pretty obvious that all three of us were active members of the Church. Now, I’m not saying that one needs to be an active member of the Church in order to be helpful as a support group, but when we’re dealing with disabled children, sometimes it’s helpful to have that eternal perspective of the gospel and the eternal nature of God’s children, particularly a special needs child. So with the only effort on my part being to look up from a phone and join a conversation, these two mothers were a lifesaver to me, because I knew that whenever I had a question, come Saturday morning I would be able to sit with them and ask my questions and get some answers from the perspective of someone who was going through that, who was a mom, who had dealt with those things or was dealing with those things. And those weekly conversations have been a tremendous blessing to me, and an answer to a prayer that I hadn’t even verbalized yet. And that reaffirmed my faith in the fact that the Lord knows who I am, who any one of us are. And when we get to the end of our rope — if we’re really at the end of a rope, sometimes we’re there and we aren’t, really — but when we really are, there’s help, even if I hadn’t gotten around to asking for it yet.
Sarah Jane Weaver: And I feel that way when I think about you coming over to Church News. We were struggling. We needed extra help putting out a print edition. I personally needed a little organization. The Church News had grown fast. And you came in and were able to provide all of those things as a really beautiful, tender mercy to the whole staff. And so, I’m so glad you could spend a few minutes and that you were willing to share a few things that are significant in your life. And as we close, I’m hoping that you can answer the same question we have every one answer in the Church News podcast. And that’s, “What do you know now?” So, after all that you’ve faced from your journalism career, to your family, triumphs and trials, what do you know now?
David Schneider: What I know now, more than ever, is that God knows who individuals are, including, even, me; that ways are opened when they need to be opened and sometimes not until the last minute, be it being able to move into a job where I had the flexibility I would need, or being given some instruction to go do a certain chore in the yard when I wasn’t expecting it, or to have two experienced mothers sit down next to me and be able to help me understand some things about having a special needs daughter. I don’t think those things would have all happened at the time they needed to happen if Heavenly Father didn’t know my situation and know better than me what I needed, and what I need to do and when I need to know those things. So I add that to the things that I have a firm testimony of, of the Restoration, beginning with Joseph Smith, of the gospel at this time, of the Atonement of our Savior, of the fact that we have a God who answers prayers, and that miracles and revelation continue to occur today, because I have seen all those things. Now, we didn’t get the miracle of having Mom be healthy and continuing to live a long life, but there have been miracles. And we don’t always get to pick which miracle we’re going to have. But I have a testimony that a Heavenly Father, who knows better for us than we know for us, is in charge, and provides blessings and answers and tender mercies on the timetable that, while it may not be our preferred timetable, it’s a timetable that will work. And I share that testimony in the name of Jesus Christ, amen.
Sarah Jane Weaver: You have been listening to the Church News podcast. I’m your host Church News editor Sarah Jane Weaver. I hope you have learned something today about the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints by peering with me through the Church News window. Please remember to subscribe to this podcast. And if you enjoyed the messages we shared today, please make sure you share the podcast with others. Thanks to our guests, to my producer KellieAnn Halvorsen and others who make this podcast possible. Join us every week for a new episode. Find us on your favorite podcasting channel or with other news and updates about the Church on thechurchnews.com.