Amanda Player Hall, daughter of golf legend Gary Player, was introduced to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in high school. She had been raised in a home by a mother and father who believed deeply in Jesus Christ so why was the restored church of Jesus Christ needed in her life? And why are both she and father (who watched not only his daughter but later his wife be baptized but was never baptized) grateful for the Church’s influence on their family? On this week’s episode of All In, Gary and Amanda discussed the difference the restored gospel made in their home.
The following excerpt has been edited for clarity.
Morgan Jones Pearson: Gary, when your wife passed away, you wrote this, “Vivienne taught me the value of love, faith, and trust, she taught our children those same values, and they were blessed to have a mother who lived those values every single day.” I think one thing that I have found really intriguing about the idea of having both of you on the show is I don’t think we’ve ever had an episode with somebody that was not a member and somebody that was a member of the same family. And I think that is something that some people struggle to navigate. So I wondered, how did this example of faith that Vivienne exuded and taught your kids, how did this play out in your everyday life? And what did it look like in practice in your home?
Gary Player: Well, first of all, my mother and my father—mainly my mother—was a great believer and had strong faith. And the schools I went to in South Africa were all full of faith. So I came along after being married as a person that had faith. I didn’t have to become a member of your church or to have a wife that made me believe stronger. But I tell you what, I never said so many prayers in my life. She wanted to pray three to three times a day. I wore my knees out! I had to put pads on my knees. So it was great. And I just loved it for it. As I say without being repetitive again, just having faith is such an essential ingredient in your life. I don’t know how you live without faith. And this is what’s happening, we can see deterioration across the field. Deteriorating, because people don’t have faith. And so we’ve got to do everything in our power to try and convert people to believe but give them good reasons to do it. That’s the big thing. If you’re a salesman...and you have a product, and we have the best product in the world, you’ve got to know what you say, and you’ve got to appeal to people because there are a lot of devils out there that are against us.
► You may also like: Sports legend Gary Player golfs with Elder Uchtdorf, praises the Church
Morgan Jones Pearson: Amanda, what would you add to that?
Amanda Player Hall: Well, you know, I think we all have different places on our spiritual journeys. And I think it’s really essential that we extend love and mercy and grace to each other as we navigate that journey. And so I think it is challenging. I know my mom, how desperately she loved and adored my dad, and her greatest dream was to go on a mission with him. She just thought he would be the greatest missionary.
Morgan Jones Pearson: And she’s right. We’ve gotten a little taste of that today.
Amanda Player Hall: He’s the greatest missionary, right? But you know, I think what is essential is that we focus on the positive, focus on what brings us together. And I know that my dad—actually I was just sharing with him the other night just, we were out for dinner, and we were talking about religion, and he served as a witness of Jesus Christ before I did, and I was just so grateful for his example. And so I think maintaining a focus on the Savior and how we can build off faith in Him is one of the greatest things that we can do. And I think everything else ultimately will fall in place after that.
Morgan Jones Pearson: Amanda, ... I’m listening to both of you, and I’m like, ”Wow, [what] incredible faith in Jesus Christ.” And when you’ve grown up in a home where that faith was already there, I think it’s really easy to be like, “Well, why would you need to join The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints?” So how would you say that the Church has blessed your life?
Amanda Player Hall: Oh, my goodness. You know, I’m just so grateful. I can’t imagine my life without being a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. I think the greatest blessing that the gospel has been to me is it’s been a vehicle for me to come to know Christ. Serving—and I always say every calling is an opportunity, is a vehicle to come to know Christ—so serving in different callings, especially as a missionary was a life-changing experience for me. [It] taught me to rely on the Lord and to draw upon His power, it taught me to love his work, and to love all people. And I think through the gospel, it’s helped me to know that He knows me, and helped me to know Him in a profound way. So, you know, it’s been such a blessing in my life, and I’m so grateful for it to have been able to be made covenants that bind me to Him and to others, and it’s given me incredible purpose and direction. And so I’ll be eternally grateful for that opportunity.