Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Pres. Monson's Temple Advice

This is a pretty neat and funny story from Pres. Monson about a year ago (the funniest part is in bold).  It reminds me of my own bishop's push for our ward to get to the temple.
Many years ago in the ward over which I presided as the bishop, there lived a couple who often had very serious, heated disagreements. I mean real disagreements. Each of the two was certain of his or her position. Neither one would yield to the other. When they weren’t arguing, they maintained what I would call an uneasy truce.

One morning at 2:00 a.m. I had a telephone call from the couple. They wanted to talk to me, and they wanted to talk right then. I dragged myself from bed, dressed, and went to their home. They sat on opposite sides of the room, not speaking to each other. The wife communicated with her husband by talking to me. He replied to her by talking to me. I thought, “How in the world are we going to get this couple together?”

I prayed for inspiration, and the thought came to me to ask them a question. I said, “How long has it been since you have been to the temple and witnessed a temple sealing?” They admitted it had been a very long time. They were otherwise worthy people who held temple recommends and who went to the temple and did ordinance work for others.

I said to them, “Will you come with me to the temple on Wednesday morning at 8:00? We will witness a sealing ceremony there.”

In unison they asked, “Whose ceremony?”

I responded, “I don’t know. It will be for whoever is getting married that morning.”

On the following Wednesday at the appointed hour, we met at the Salt Lake Temple. The three of us went into one of the beautiful sealing rooms, not knowing a soul in the room except Elder ElRay L. Christiansen, then an Assistant to the Quorum of the Twelve, a General Authority position which existed at that time. Elder Christiansen was scheduled to perform a sealing ceremony for a bride and groom in that very room that morning. I am confident the bride and her family thought, “These must be friends of the groom” and that the groom’s family thought, “These must be friends of the bride.” My couple were seated on a little bench with about a full two feet (0.6 m) of space between them.

Elder Christiansen began by providing counsel to the couple who were being married, and he did so in a beautiful fashion. He mentioned how a husband should love his wife, how he should treat her with respect and courtesy, honoring her as the heart of the home. Then he talked to the bride about how she should honor her husband as the head of the home and be of support to him in every way.

I noticed that as Elder Christiansen spoke to the bride and the groom, my couple moved a little closer together. Soon they were seated right next to one another. What pleased me is that they had both moved at about the same rate. By the end of the ceremony, my couple were sitting as close to each other as though they were the newlyweds. Each was smiling.

We left the temple that day, and no one ever knew who we were or why we had come, but my friends were holding hands as they walked out the front door. Their differences had been set aside. I had not had to say one word. You see, they remembered their own wedding day and the covenants they had made in the house of God. They were committed to beginning again and trying harder this time around.