Monday, May 30, 2011

Happy Birthday Gladys Knight!

May 28, 2011
Dear Gladys,
I remember the first time I saw you perform live. It was at the 1999 BYU Women’s Conference in Provo, Utah. I attended it with my friend Nina. We heard you were to be the keynote speaker of the conference. You had just joined the Mormon Church a few years before. We knew who you were, of course.  You were a hugely popular celebrity and Grammy award winning singer.  You’re even known as the “Empress of Soul!”  However, I just couldn’t believe you were a converted Mormon.  I must admit I was a skeptic.  I knew you were an “entertainer” and so I was expecting to be “entertained.”
We were sitting in the Marriott Center at BYU which was filled to near capacity with 20,000 women.  Not only did you speak to the audience, but you also sang to us.  You sang some solos, but also with a choir of young women from Henderson, Nevada, where you live.  I remarked to my friend, “Those young girls weren’t even born when Gladys was singing with The Pips. They probably have no idea who she is!”
At the end of your address, you shared with us your conversion story. As I listened, I knew in my heart that we were not being “entertained.” I could feel it was a true conversion. It was real. I’ve never forgotten that feeling. It left a lasting impression on me.
The next time I saw you perform live was just a few months ago in Rancho Cucamonga, CA at a Mormon church. These days you travel and perform with the “Saints United Voices” choir and I discovered that one of my high school friends was a member of your choir. Colleen invited me and another high school friend to go to the performance. We had second row seats and enjoyed the music very much.  You also spoke to the audience, much like you had many years before at the BYU Women’s Conference. You shared your conversion story once again. You bore a profound testimony of your beliefs.  Again, I knew we were not being “entertained.” And again, that feeling I had felt once before, was there again.
I have always admired you, Ms. Knight. But now I admire you even more…I think, because you are so passionate about what you believe in and you so earnestly want to share it with others.  What a wonderful talent God has blessed you with…not only your beautiful voice, but your beautiful spirit as well. I hope you had a very Happy 67th Birthday this past Saturday.  I’m sure you shared it with your family and friends…and maybe even with The Pips!
Regards, Mrs Love

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