Brennan Hawkins Found Alive

Eleven-year-old Utah Boy Scout, Brennan Hawkins, was found alive in the Utah mountains after being lost for four days. I am happy for the outcome, happy for the parents, happy for the boy.

But, of course, it’s never just about the human aspect. I watched a press release held this morning at the home of Brennan. It turned into a Mormon Church PR event. That’s not unusual. It usually does in these cases. It’s what they’ve been taught. Even funerals are supposed to be about the gospel, and not about the person who died. Boyd K. Packer is the Acting President of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. In a devotional address, delivered October 15, 1996, Boyd K. Packer made that and a few other things clear. He even addressed the “callings” that are considered inspiration, and which supports my claim that totally untrained people are leading young boys up into treacherous country and they are not prepared, because they are called by God, and supposedly God is keeping them safe.

We do not aspire to calls in the Church, nor do we ask to be released. We are called to positions in the Church by inspiration. Even if the call is presented in a clumsy way, it is not wise for us to refuse the call. We must presuppose that the call comes from the Lord. The fifth article of faith tells us that we “must be called of God, by prophecy, and by the laying on of hands by those who are in authority, to preach the Gospel and administer in the ordinances thereof.”

From the same speech, here is what he said about funerals.

Another point of order: Bishops should not yield the arrangement of meetings to members. They should not yield the arrangement for funerals or missionary farewells to families. It is not the proper order of things for members or families to expect to decide who will speak and for how long. Suggestions are in order, of course, but the bishop should not turn the meeting over to them. We are worried about the drift that is occurring in our meetings.

Funerals could and should be the most spiritually impressive. They are becoming informal family reunions in front of ward members. Often the Spirit is repulsed by humorous experiences or jokes when the time could be devoted to teaching the things of the Spirit, even the sacred things.

So, I understand why Brennan’s parents are using his homecoming as a platform to promote the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. This is the way things are done in the Church. And I understand why Brennan’s parents, of course, are giving most of the credit to God. But I have to wonder if they are really LISTENING, or thinking, about what they are saying.

What I am referring to is their assertion that God–more specifically, the deity Mormons refer to as “The Savior”–was watching over Brennan and brought him home. Considering that the father of Garrett Bardsley–also a Mormon, who was lost last August in the same area, and who was never found–has been helping in the search, surely they would have to take pause and ask, “Why was God not watching over Garrett?”

Do they not think that the very simple assertion that God is solely responsible for Brennan’s safe return must be extremely hurtful to the Bardsleys, who have done nothing but try to HELP the Hawkins family? Why does God consider Brennan so much more worthy and worthwhile than Garrett? Even worse, we have learned that Brennan has some “social immaturity” problems that resulted from a premature birth, and it appears that at times he actually heard the searchers looking for him and hid from them, because he had been taught not to talk to strangers. Even while hiding from those sent to help him, he was still found. And Garrett is still missing.

I suppose that if they are considering these things, they will decide that God has a plan for all of us. Apparently, God’s plan for Garrett was that he not be found, although I have a hard time comprehending that. While we assume that Garrett is dead, we of course, do not know. My 13-year-old daughter is convinced someone has him. There are many cabins up in this area, and in fact, Brennan was recovered from an area not far from where my good friends have a very nice cabin. Could he be holed up there somewhere, a victim of a pedophile? It’s unlikely, but this scenario and others must constantly run through the minds of Garrett’s parents, simply because they don’t know the answer. They don’t know what happened to Garrett. How can this be God’s plan, to leave these people in anguish?

How can it be God’s plan to allow some innocent young children to be taken from their own homes, murdered, kidnapped, molested, while others are sent to Boy Scout Camp in rugged terrain with ill-trained supervisers–where was the person who was supposed to be watching Brennan?–and yet they are found alive after wandering for four days, hiding from those sent to help them?

One good thing did come out of the Gospel Press Conference held by the Hawkins family. They have asked for people to search for Garrett Bardsley. Maybe they can find out what happened to him, and give some peace to his parents.

You can help, too, by visiting the site dedicated to Garrett’s recovery,


About Natalie R. Collins

Natalie has more than 30 years writing, editing, proofreading and design experience. She has written 20 books (and counting), has worked for the Sundance Film Festival, and as an investigative journalist, editor, and proofreader. She embraces her gypsy-heart and is following her new free-thinking journey through life. Follow her as she starts over and learns a bunch of life's lessons--some the hard way.
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