Saturday, January 7, 2012

Shielded from Danger- (An Experience I Won't Forget)

It had been a long hard week for my sister. After facing some difficult decisions about her marriage right before her birthday, I decided to take her out. She hadn't been to the temple in a long time and asked if we could do that. So, dinner and the temple it was. She was really looking forward to it as was I.

My Mom had called me that morning and said, "Why are you taking your sister to downtown Salt Lake at night? There are crazy people out at night and it's not safe. Take her to a different temple."

I laughed it off and said, "Mom, we'll be fine. We are going to the temple."She repeated herself a few more times.

After a delicious dinner with my sister we went on our way to go find parking for the temple. My sister was following me in her car. I noticed the underground parking West of the Conference Center. I also noticed next to that was a spacious and empty public parking lot. So that was my destination. We pulled in and parked. On our way out of the parking lot we noticed some new pay machines with blue tape on them that said "Coming Soon". We weren't sure if we were supposed to pay or not? After analyzing it with some other confused people we all concluded that they were not yet functioning properly so parking was free.On our way we went.

As we approached the temple my sister looked up at the full moon and said, "Do you think it's true that more people are killed during full moons than any other time of month?" I said, "Yeah, I've heard that crime is always at an all time high whenever there is a full moon." she replied, "That's true at my job. On days when the moon is full all the crazy people call in". We laughed.

Having a wonderful experience in the temple, my sister and I had some great conversations about the gospel, the work we were performing, and life in the spirit world. We noticed that everyone we encountered that night was very friendly. On the way out to the car my sister pointed out how tonight had been unusual for her. She wasn't used to random people walking up to her and striking up a conversation. When we reached the parking lot, a confused woman began to ask us about how to use the paying machines. We then told her they didn't work and she was relieved.

We made our way to the car and started talking about my sister's marital situation. She said that she had gone to the temple for an answer but felt that the answer would not come quickly. I told her that sometimes the Holy Ghost can speak to us in our dreams. It was then I was reminded of the terrible dream I had the night before. I began to tell her about it.

I was with all of my family including her and her husband. We had just checked into a large hotel. The room had several hallways and rooms inside of it. As we all checked into our large room, I noticed that the room was dirty. It hadn't been cleaned. So my sister and I made our way to the lobby to go speak with management. The ladies working at the desk said they couldn't help. So, we asked for the manager. Their looks changed and they told us that the manager does not like unhappy customers. He REALLY didn't like them. Right then, a tall white man (the manager) came charging out of the office and began to chase us towards our room. We knew that we were in danger and that he was going to hurt us and possibly kill us. Once inside our room, we warned everyone to run to the window. We opened the window (2 stories up) and realized we were going to have to jump. One by one each of us jumped.

As each person fell, their fall was softened almost cushioned as they bounced off of ledges and landed in the bush below. We all knew that angels were their helping us and softening our fall but we couldn't see them. It was then we knew we would be safe. My baby girl had been forgotten and she was the last at the window. I was frightened. She knew what to do and she threw herself forward and the angels caught her. As we all began to run away I woke up.

I asked my sister what that dream could mean. She laughed and said, "I have no idea." Right then I told her I had some things to give her and I opened up the back of my car and we put them in the car. My sister then said, "What are your honest thoughts _______." Then suddenly I said, "There is something I need to tell you." I had a personal experience that had to do with exactly what she was asking about. I thought to myself, "Why am I sharing this story with her? It's very personal." I paused for a moment and said, "Would you like to come sit in my car?" she replied "Yeah. Okay."

We got inside the car and I began to tell her my personal story. Very quickly I came to the part in the story where the Holy Ghost had loudly whispered something to me in my dream. He whispered it 3 times. It was a very specific question I was supposed to ask someone that would give me the answer I needed to solve my problem. At this point in the story my sister caught me off guard and said, "Lindsey duck!" So I did. She ducked as well and said "There is a man walking towards your window!" I thought to myself that it was probably just another confused person not sure how to use the pay machine. I wondered why we were ducking.

I looked over to see who was coming. It was then I saw him. A young, thin, white man about 6 feet tall with a large black hoodie on and white sweat pants. The hood was pulled tight around his face and he had black gloves on his hands. I looked closer at his face and noticed acne scars and sores all over his cheeks. He had a blank stare on his face. As he came right up near my side mirror on my door, my sister shouted, "Oh my gosh, he's holding a gun!" I looked, and there it was. A gun! We were shocked. "Look!" she shouted. "He's got a gun in the other hand too!" I looked at the other black glove which certainly was holding another black hand gun. I had never been in this situation before and could not believe what I was seeing.

The parking lot was well lit and we were very visible inside the car. The parking lot was quite empty and we were the only people there at that time. I quickly realized the doors were unlocked and the car was turned off. "My door is unlocked!" I shouted. "Should I lock it?" I then received a strong feeling that locking it and turning the car on would draw attention to us. We were to sit still and he would not notice us. As he slowly made his way across the front of my car to other headlight my sister said, "What should we do?" I said "We call 911!"

I pulled out my phone and realized it was turned off because we had been in the temple. It would take forever to turn back on. To my surprise, I turned it on and instantly it was on. I dialed 911 and had the dispatcher on the phone by the time he had just walked past the second headlight and was just a couple of feet away. As quick as I could I began to spit out all the facts. "Hello! I am located in the parking lot just west of the Conference Center in downtown Salt Lake City. There is a man walking away from my car with a gun in each hand. He's thin, tall, white, has acne scars, and a black hoddie on with white pants!"

"Okay." said the young, male dispatcher, "I am sending officers there right away." He continued to ask me questions about where the man was headed. I began to pull my car out so we could see where he was going. He turned North up the sidewalk. Right then I noticed a groud of young couples walking right behind him. "Hurry!" I yelled to my sister. "Go warn them! Tell them to turn around or they'll be in danger!" She jumped out of the car at lightening speed and ran over to warn the couples. As the look of fright grew on their faces, they thanked her and quickly turned around.

"Let's follow him!" my sister said. "He's getting away".

"No!" said the dispatcher, as he could hear her. "Do not EVER follow someone who is armed with a weapon. Besides, you need to stay put so the officers can find you."

Three minutes later, the officers arrived. One car, two cars, three cars...They all came filing in and surrounded our car. It was just a few days ago that an Ogden, UT police offer was shot and killed by a crazy man with a machine gun. Several police officers were in the hospital from their injuries. Law enforcement was mourning and they were not going to take this situation lightly.

They all began questioning us and asked for our ID. A K9 unit arrived and was on the pursuit. I got out of the car and mimicked exactly what the suspect had done. "Did he point the guns at you?" one officer asked. "No." I replied. "He held them out to the side but wanted the world to see that he had them."

I decided to call my husband and tell him why I was running late. It was almost 10:30 pm. While on the phone, I broke down in tears as I realized what had just happened. The Holy Ghost had told us what to do and the Lord had shielded us from this dangerous man. The Spirit had prompted me to ask my sister if she wanted to get in my car. Strangely, I did not turn my car on for heat and it's winter. My sister had felt prompted to tell us to duck before she saw the guns or realized we were in danger. We were just talking about the Holy Ghost and His promptings when that happened. I was prompted to not lock my door or turn on the car but to wait for him to walk away and call 911. My sister had observed that he had looked at her and began to walk towards my window. When he came up to the car it must have looked empty to him. He could not see us. Were we shielded so that he could not see us? Just moments before we were outside next to the car. What if I hadn't suggested getting in the car? He would have walked right up to us. We could have been in real danger. I felt the Lord with us. We had surely been protected.

As I told my husband this in tears, one of the officers was listening. I told him the rest of the details and then suddenly noticed that all of the police officers were gone. We were again alone in the parking lot. I said to my husband. "Where did they go? They left us alone."

"They said to wait here and they'll be back." my sister said. I wasn't worried, the Lord was protecting us.

Soon, they all came back and I let my husband go. "Well, we circled the block 4-5 times and there is no sign of him. We talked to people who are out and no one reported seeing anything. You are free to go, we'll let you know if we find him."

Did they not believe us? What if he was only visible to us? Why didn't anyone else see him? Oh wait! The group of couples had seen him.

"Officer, there was a group of couples that saw him and they turned the other way." I said.

"In these situations most people are afraid to do anything or report what they see. It's too crazy to seem real to them. You guys did the right thing by reporting it and steering others away." the officer said.

A taller officer stepped forward and said, "I'm not going to ask what religion you are but this could have been a really bad thing. This is the heart of Salt Lake City and Utah, right here. This is where the predominant religion congregates often. A possible target for an angry, armed, unstable person. If a gunman were to go on shooting spree in this area, that would not be okay with us."

"My sister and I just came from the temple." I said, letting him know I was a member of the predominant religion. "We weren't expecting this."

"Where are you headed home?" he asked me. "North." I replied.

"Well, if I could make a suggestion - do not go North. Not only is it not safe, there is big car accident that just happened and traffic is blocked. That's why we were all in the area already. You should go South until you get to 4th south and then get on the freeway to go North." The other officer nodded his head in agreement.

I said goodbye and they walked my sister to her car. As I headed south the next 4 blocks I noticed police cars everywhere. Lined up and down the streets on every corner. They had taken this seriously.

I called the rest of family to tell them what had happened. My mom chastised me for not heeding her warning. I began to wonder if this experience had been good for my sister spiritually. She had realized how fragile life is. We can be gone in the blink of an eye at the mercy of another. The Lord really watches over us. She had just received a personal witness of the power of the Holy Ghost. God wanted her to know that He is there and His power is real. She will get the answers she needs.

I called my sister to see if she was okay and we talked about our experience. The dream I had the night before about being in danger and angels protecting us. The quick promptings we received and heeded. I then finished my story about the Holy Ghost helping me in a time of need. There was doubting that the Holy Ghost is real and had shielded us from danger that night.

Simple thoughts to do what may seem like menial things may actually indeed be promptings of the Spirit and if we heed them it may be a matter of saving our lives. I say this in the name of Jesus Christ amen.

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