To Humble A Giant

How would I describe Brother Jim Drumm? Half man, half bear? That’s probably pretty good.

If you have attended the Sturgis Ward then you have met brother Drumm. He is the big friendly fellow who gave you a hug. He is an equal opportunity hugger. It doesn’t matter if you are black or white, old or young, male or female, attractive or ugly. You are going to get hugged, so you better accept it. And unless you tell him personally that you are uncomfortable with that you will keep getting hugged for who knows how long.



He has a good family. I have worked with each of his son’s in the young men’s program. The shortest is about 6′ 4″. The other boys are quite tall. All served honorable missions. A likable bunch.
Brother Drumm and I have served together quite a bit. He was the High Priest Group Leader at the same time that I was Elder’s Quorum President. We have attended hundreds of PEC and ward welfare meetings together. We have worked with the missionaries, and home teachers, and service projects, and on and on. We make an odd pair. The big, bold, loud, confident, brother Drumm, and the little, skinny, quiet, cautious me. A bit of a Laurel and Hardy thing going on.

Brother Drumm seemed to know everybody. Names on the roster that to most were a waste of paper, were known to Brother Drumm. He likely had been to their house, knew their circumstances, knew their conversion story, and probably ate their cookies (although not necessarily with their permission). Brother Drumm could not be held responsible when food was involved.

He is thought of as a kind of spiritual giant in our ward. When people want a priesthood blessing with a little extra juice to it they seek out brother Drumm. He gives bold, dramatic, and very memorable blessings. I have assisted in several of these. He would declare the gender of a pregnant woman’s child, he would cure, he would testify and prophesy. He has given lots of blessings, to many people. I have been beneath his hands myself.

He would bear his testimony on fast Sunday frequently, with an enthusiasm rarely matched. But his testimony last Sunday was quite different.

Brother Drumm is nearing retirement age. He had both knees replaced two weeks ago today. Ten days later he was in church, and made his way, with the help of a walker, to the front of the chapel. The gentle giant was not his normal self. He looked old. He seemed weak. He was in obvious pain. He had lost a lot of weight. He gave a very quiet testimony of gratitude. It was hard to hear the words even with the microphone.

I thought of the great local warrior, who has served so many so well. The many times we had laughed together at his stories of adventure. I was glad to see the quiet gratitude of the man who at times would shake the walls with a bold voice that at times could be mistaken for boastfulness. God seems to grant us the experiences we need to progress to become more like Him.

I hope the knees work out Jim. I wish to work with you some more like we used to. Get well my friend.

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3 Responses to “To Humble A Giant”


  1. 1 C Jones November 9, 2006 at 12:06 am

    The life of a faithful latter-day saint is a beautiful thing. Even (or especially) in enduring trials.

  2. 2 Eric Nielson November 11, 2006 at 4:12 pm

    Thanks cjones.
    I’m writing this with my new palm – a birthday present!

  3. 3 connor November 13, 2006 at 12:33 am

    Great story. I admire such men that have the gift of prophecy and have overcome the fear and anxiety that often comes with such a responsibility. Sometimes I wish I could crawl inside their brain and sit down for a day or two to watch them act and react to what’s around them. I, too, hope he recovers fully and can once again boldly testify of the miracles God worked for him in the process.


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