Miracles and Mysteries

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(This is an excerpt from the book Refuge and Reality: The Blessings of the Temple by Elder John H. Groberg.)

Quite often a certain bishop came to the temple with his ward members for a chapel meeting and endowment session. One evening he asked if we could visit for a moment. He wanted to know the various possibilities and requirements for members of his ward to become ordinance workers or to serve in other ways in the temple.

I described the various opportunities and asked what motivated his query. He replied, “You came to our stake conference some time ago and promised us that if we made the temple a bigger part of our lives, we would receive more blessings. You said that in your opinion going to the temple once a month may have been fine a few generations ago, but with the increased presence and sophistication of evil and temptations in our day, we need extra fortification and should seriously consider attending the temple every week if our circumstances allow.”

He went on, “When I heard that, I gulped and reasoned that with my busy schedule there was no way I could do that. However, something stirred within me, and I thought to myself, Well, at least I could try. At that very moment I felt a nudge and a smile from my wife. After conference we decided to do whatever we could to make the temple a bigger part of our lives.

“I had been serving as bishop for about two years and felt I had dealt with about every challenge possible. I was wrong. New ones kept coming. With all the interviews, interventions, activities, meetings, funerals, etc., I couldn’t see how we could get to the temple more often, but we said we would try, so we did.

“I started delegating more, combining some meetings, and trying to make more efficient use of time. Before long I found myself in the temple nearly every week. I cannot explain what happened or how it happened, but six months later at our next stake conference, I realized that despite my spending extra time in the temple, everything was going better—in my family, my work, and my ward. Since this increased temple activity was helping me and my wife so much, I was sure it would do the same for my ward members.

“Over the next six months I did a lot of encouraging and by the time our next stake conference came, many ward members were attending the temple more regularly. I was careful not to assign or keep track but only encourage and tell of my experience and let each individual or couple do what they could. The members who made the temple a bigger part of their lives experienced the same blessings we did, so they encouraged their friends to do the same.

“I have now served as bishop for four years. During the first two, I was buried in challenges; the next one was still filled with challenges but seemed to go better; this last year has gone even better. I know it is because of the increased temple activity of the members. Many miracles have occurred in our ward. Let me tell you just one.

“Brother and Sister Smith both worked for the school district. When Sister Smith retired, she became an ordinance worker and hoped that when her husband retired, he would do the same. When he did retire, however, he told her he had worked long enough and had missed so much fishing and hunting that he was now going to make up for lost time.

“At about this time, one of their older daughters returned home to live with them. She noticed how happy her mother was from working in the temple, so she also became a temple worker. They hoped and prayed that their husband and father would join them some day. He supported them in their callings but continued to hunt and fish and do the things he felt he had ‘earned the right to do.’

“One Sunday after dinner, they gathered the dishes to the kitchen, and the father announced that while the girls finished the dishes he was going to the living room to read the newspaper. Even though he loved his wife and daughter and knew of their goodness and of their desire for him to become a temple worker, he stubbornly said he was going to continue his hunting and fishing.

“He sat down, picked up the paper, and began to read. A feeling of calm came over him that he could only describe as a miracle. He had left the kitchen wanting to read the paper and not even think about becoming a temple worker. Now suddenly, he had lost all interest in the paper and was sure he should become a temple worker. He stood up, returned to the kitchen, and said, ‘When I left a few moments ago, I didn’t want to be a temple ordinance worker. Now, that is all I want to be. What do I need to do to make that happen?’ You can imagine the joy and tears that followed.

“There have been many similar experiences in our ward since the members have been making the temple a bigger part of their lives.

“We still have a full complement of challenges, including people out of work, funerals, concerns with our youth, and other challenges, but somehow, everything is better. How does that happen?”

I said I didn’t know for sure, but I did know that the Lord always keeps His promises. Since His prophet has promised that everyone who worthily enters the temple will come out a better person, that is what happens.1 Those who voluntarily go to the temple more often become better people, so everything else about their life becomes better also.

_________________________

1. “Excerpts from Recent Addresses of President Gordon B. Hinckley,” Ensign, April 1996, 72.

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