Thursday, December 27, 2007

Spirtual Experience--Marked Man

When I was a student at BYU my wife and I rented a house at 242 West 400 North that was owned by woman from Castledale named Argene Olson. The interesting thing about the house according to Argene was that Dallin H. Oaks was a home birth and his father had a vet practice there. Living in Vernal I always thought he had come from there but according to her his mother had to move later to Vernal where she taught school. It was right off of Freedom Boulevard across from the State Liquor Store. Every day a huge man over 6' would walk by and say hi. The man turned out to be Delbert Barney. After several months he invited me and my wife over and told us unusual stories. He claimed that he had been a chaplain during World War II. He told stories about how the Lord had told him he would one day be called to the Council of the Twelve. He liked to tell us that he kept giving up his spot for whoever was called. He said he didn't want to be like Sam Cowley, a former G-man who he claimed would have been called had he not be tempted and gambled a time or two. I always felt uncomfortable when he told us these wild stories. He claimed that he was a marked man. Even though he was a bit on the kooky-side my wife and I liked to befriend him since we knew he didn't have many friends. One night we had him over for dinner. He decided to give me a blessing. In his blessing he proclaimed that I was also a marked man and that I should remain faithful to the brethren. Other than Ernest Strack there was no more colorful character in Provo in my opinion than Delbert Barney. I later read a master's thesis that did confirm that he had really been a chaplain. The part about either of us being a marked man I don't put much confidence in. I do have to admit Delbert Barney was a spiritual person who prayed and read his scriptures fervently. I am sure that he is now passed on but I will always remember him with fondness for his devotion to the Church. Every time I am tempted to aspire to a calling I remember Delbert Barney. I hope some day he gets the desire of his heart.

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