One time President Bonnie Parkin was visiting my sister Page’s ward. Page is in one of those wards where people like that just show up. (LaVell Edwards is her Sunday School President) After sacrament meeting Page, a stranger, and yet a Sister In Zion, gave President Parkin a hug and said,
“Sister Parkin, I love you.”And Sister Parkin, a little surprised, said,
“Oh, I love you too.”
And then Page said,
“I know you do.”

So Page and I laugh all the time about that little encounter because it was corny. But special I am sure. One time she ran into Elder Eyring buying butter at Smiths. She said to him,
“Oh, what are you doing here?”
And he said,
“I am buying butter What are you doing here?”
And after they made a connection about being Californians transplanted to Utah she asked,
“Why is it the Lord’s people are always sent to live in a desert?”
And Elder Eyring just said,
“I don’t know.”
And so let this be a lesson to you, don’t discuss doctrine at Smiths.

But I am, and always have been, a Jeffrey Holland fan, and I want to say to him,
“I love you Elder Holland.”
And he would say,
“I love you too.”
And then I would say,
“I know you do, because of the talk you gave last Saturday about women loving their bodies.”

Well, I also know that he loves me because he used to sit me on his lap and kiss my cheeks whenever he’d stop by our house for a visit, back when he was just the President of BYU. He made me think that People With Big Cheeks (he, being the President of that Club) were extra beautiful.
Ahhh but time has made me forget those special moments shared between a really important big cheeked man and a self-conscious big cheeked little girl. Whenever I was denied in love, I often attributed it to my cheeks have too much surface area. Boys will never like me, my cheeks are just too plump. Dating Christopher, world known for his rapid identification of facial discrepancies, I would always talk to him face to face. My profile was just too much flesh for a man of his charm.
The big cheek issue was resolved one night with Christopher finally admitted to thinking my face was a bit large. However, he loved me and that was the important part. It was enough for me, after thinking upon the subject, that I would always hate my big cheeks, but I had other good qualities.

There was something about the way Elder Holland emphasized that we must LOVE our bodies. Something about him being an apostle of God. Something about the way he made me feel when I was little. I understood.
The next morning as I got ready to go to conference, I looked in the mirror.
And for the first time since I was five years old said,
“I love you cheeks.”
And they said,
“I love you too.”
And I said,
“I know you do.”

February 5, 2007


  1. annegb

    February 10, 2007

    I loved this, I’m going to print it and share it. I think I’ll take it to my visiting teaching ladies for Valentine’s. And give it to my girls. And my neighbors. . .:)

  2. Heather H

    February 14, 2007

    Ahh Courtney! I love you and I know you love me too! 🙂

  3. DeAnne Flynn

    February 16, 2009

    I am also a Jeffry-Holland-lover. He was the president of BYU while I was there and he always made me feel so singled-out and “known.” My sixteen-year-old daughter, after watching conference, often says “I just want to pinch his cheeks! I love him so much.” If she ever got the chance to say it to his face, I’m sure he’d say, “I love you too, Katie.” And now you know how she would respond…

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