We served a mission together in Cambridge, England from 2012 to 2014, and upon returning resumed our duties as sealer and ordinance worker in the Cardston Alberta Temple. In 2015 we were called to serve as first counselor and assistant to the matron in the temple presidency with President Clark and Sister Deanna Hardy, and with Brother Gene and Sister Lorraine Boehme. Then, in 2018, we were called by President Dallin H. Oaks to be president and matron of the temple.
During our week-long training in Salt Lake City we were set apart for this new calling by Elder Ronald A. Rasband. The week of training was wonderful and inspiring as we received instruction from our Prophet and many of the Apostles as well as the temple department. We had most of our meetings in the Salt Lake Temple chapel and the Conference Center. It was also inspiring to meet many of the other sixty-nine new temple presidents from all over the world.
Our service as president and matron began on November 1, 2018. Brother Ron and Sister Diana Jacobs and Brother Darrel and Sister Marsha Nelson were called as counselors and assistants to the matron. We have been so blessed by the opportunity to serve with these counselors and their wives. They have served with love and dedication and have been a joy to serve with.
We also worked in close association with Brother Logan Zemp and later with Brother Steve Brinton as temple recorders. In addition, the staff in the office, the engineers, laundry staff, custodians, and grounds maintain crew have done a remarkable job in keeping the physical and operational side of the temple in harmony with the standards of the House of the Lord. We are also very appreciative of the over 1200 workers we have been able to serve with when the temple was running at full capacity. Each one has enriched our lives as we have worked closely with them.
Operating the temple through the COVID pandemic was a challenging time as the temple was first paused, then opened on a limited basis for living ordinances only, and then expanded to all ordinances with a limited capacity and several restrictions. Fortunately, the Cardston Alberta Temple was one of the first to resume Phase 3 operations to the blessing of the patrons in the area. Further removal of restrictions was phased in beginning in March 2022.
Some of the highlights of our service in the temple these past seven years have been the following.
We have been inspired by the faithfulness of the many patrons who come to the temple on a regular basis, many traveling great distances. Many come with limited mobility due to age or other infirmities. Even though it is hard, they make the effort to do this sacred work for their ancestors. We have also appreciated the dependable service of the many workers, especially the coordinators on each shift, who have greatly eased the duties of the presidency.
We have witnessed many spiritual experiences in the temple. While too sacred to relate details, these experiences have confirmed to us the importance of temple work to those on the other side of the veil and that the Lord oversees the work in the temple.
One of our favorite responsibilities is officiating as new patrons come to receive their own endowment. This is their special day when they make covenants and receive the ordinances of salvation. We love to witness their joy and the love that is shown in the celestial room as the new patron is greeted by family and other loved ones. It is also heart-warming to see families gather in the temple after the loss of a loved one to find comfort and feel the Savior’s love.
Officiating in the sealing of couples and families for ‘time and all eternity,’ has been a very special experience. It is said that there are no coincidences in the temple and we have been first-hand witnesses that this is true as many such occurrences have blessed the lives of many patrons.
We love the feeling of peace and solitude that exists in the temple. It often feels like we are stepping into heaven. This seems especially true for those who enter the temple for the first time. This usually occurs in the baptistry and a frequent comment is, “What is this that I feel?”
The opportunity to serve in the temple, in this capacity, has been the most sacred experience of our lives. We have been privileged to feel the respect that members have for this calling. It has certainly stretched us and taught us many wonderful lessons. We have loved representing the temple at stake conferences and being able to listen to the inspiring testimonies of the members, stake presidents, and many General Authorities.
The Lord has not only blessed us with a great love for the temple but also a great love for the members of the Church in our Cardston Alberta Temple District. We especially love all those we have been privileged to serve along-side. They will forever be in our hearts.
One of the great blessings of serving in the temple, in addition to the above, has been the confirmation of the truth of the Gospel of Jesus Christ and the importance of His Atonement in our journey to return to our Heavenly Father’s presence.