Visions are not limited to prophets or to those in positions of authority. A special vision occurred to Rebecca Bean, who with her husband, Brother Willard Bean, serve a mission in Palmyra, New York from 1915 to 1940. They were instrumental in the purchase by the Church of the Hill Cumorah and its replanting of 65,000 trees. Everyone who came east wanted to see the Joseph Smith Home, and the hill Cumorah, and they all stayed to visit, from a few days to several weeks. Sister Bean was responsible for caring for these visitors as well as for her own family. The following is an account given by her at a Salt Lake City fireside in 1964:
It was a hot summer day and we had a lot of visitors that day. It had been a hard day for me. I had a baby just a year old, and I had carried my baby around on my arm most of the day to get my work done. It was too warm. Everything had gone against us. We had had lunch for our visitors, and we had had supper at night, and I had put my children to bed. Dr. (James E.) Talmage was there and some missionaries, and we had really had a wonderful evening talking together. They all seemed tired and I took them upstairs and showed them where they could sleep, and I came down and thought, Well, I’ll pick up a few things and make things easier in the morning.
But I was so weary and so tired that I was crying as I went straightening things around a little. Everybody was in bed and asleep but me. I looked at the clock and it was eleven o’clock. I said, “I’d better call it a day.” I went into my room and … it was peaceful and quiet. I got ready for bed, and I was crying a little. I said my prayers and I got into bed and I was crying on my pillow. And then this dream or vision came to me.
I thought it was another day. It had been a wonderful morning. I had prepared breakfast for my visitors and my children were happily playing around, and I had done my work and cared for the baby, and he was contented and happy. I prepared lunch, and I called my visitors in to lunch and we were all seated around the table, my little baby in the high chair. Everything was peaceful and wonderfully sweet. There was a knock at the front door, and there was a very handsome young man standing there. I just took it for granted that he was another new missionary come to see us, and I said, “You’re here just in time for lunch. Come with me.”
As I walked through the little hall into the dining room, I noticed he laid some pamphlets down on the table there. I introduced him around, and then I said, “Now you sit right here by Dr. Talmage, and I’ll set a place for you…” I thought he was strange to all of us, and yet he and Dr. Talmage seemed so happy to see each other, and they talked about such wonderful things while we were eating. Some of them we could hardly understand. But the spirit that was there in the meal was so peaceful and nice, and everyone seemed so happy to be together. After the meal was over, Dr. Talmage said to the missionaries, “Now let’s go outside and just linger here and enjoy the spirit of this wonderful place, because.
He thanked me for having him to dinner, and told me how much it meant for him to be there, and he told me he thought that the children were so sweet and well trained, and I felt happy about that, and then we walked in the hall together. He said, “I have to go, so I must be on my way.” Then I turned from him just a moment to pick up these little pamphlets that he had laid on the table, and when I turned back to him it was the Savior who stood before me, and he was in his glory. And I could not tell you the love and sweetness that he had in his face and in his eyes. Lovingly, he laid his hands on my shoulders, and he looked down into my face with the kindest face that I have ever seen, and this is what he said to me: “Sister Bean, this day hasn’t been too hard for you, has it?” And I said, “Oh no, I have been so happy in my work and everything has gone on so well.” Then he said, “I promise you if you will go about your work as you have done it this day you will be equal to it. Oh, remember these missionaries represent me on this earth, and all that you do unto them you do unto me.
And then I remember I was crying as we walked through the hall onto the porch, and he repeated the same thing: “These missionaries represent me on the earth, and all that you do unto them you do unto me.” And then he started upwards. The roof of the porch was no obstruction for him to go through, nor for me to see through. He went upward and upward and upward, and I wondered and wondered how I could see him so far away. And then all at once he disappeared, and I was crying on my pillow like I was when I went to bed.
I bear humble testimony to you that never again was there any frustration in my soul. Never again did too many missionaries come that I couldn’t find beds for them to sleep or enough food to give them, and the great love I had for missionaries even then became greater after what the Savior had said to me. And how I wish that every missionary that went out into the world could feel that his love and his guidance is only a prayer away. They teach his gospel and how much they mean to him.
Rebecca Rosetta Peterson Bean, recorded talk at Salt Lake City fireside, fall 1964. See also Frederick W. Babbel, To Him That Believeth: Claiming Heaven’s Blessings, Bookcraft, 1982, p. 76-79.