|Elder Steven E. Snow|
Among other objects we were shown was an original Book of Mormon and a valuable and rare gold pocket watch Joseph Smith gave to Eliza R. Snow, a watch so ornate and delicately crafted with floral designs that no one would mistake its owner had to be a woman.
We also handled other pages of the original manuscript from which Oliver Cowdery wrote the translation of The Book of Mormon as the words flowed from Joseph. Only about 25 percent of that original manuscript survived after it was recovered from the damp cornerstone of the Nauvoo House many years later. In the handwriting of Oliver Cowdery, we read together: "I will go and do the things which the Lord has commanded for I know that the Lord giveth no commandments unto the children of men save he shall prepare a way for them that they may accomplish the thing which he hath commanded them." (1 Nephi 3:7). These pages are carefully preserved in protective coverings like the page on display in the exhibit on the main floor of the Library. It is possible to know and feel the truth without seeing and touching, but I can bear my witness that the more of our senses that are involved only heightens the almost electric and tangible witness one receives.
I asked Sister Snow, who was with us, what of all the things her husband has shown her in the Library are her most treasured memories. Without hesitation, and with some obvious emotion, her reply was, "The sacred manuscript pages of the Book of Mormon." Many years ago, when President Harold B. Lee was living, he provided a similar experience to us as his family, and I have never forgotten the feelings I had then of viewing and carefully touching those pages. My answer was the same as hers.
It was a supernal thrill to gently turn the pages of an original Wilford Woodruff journal (one of many he kept during his lifetime). It was amazing to see the exquisite penmanship and the intricate artwork he meticulously crafted within the pages of his journal. Seldom a day passed during his lifetime with the Prophet Joseph when he did not record an entry detailing what the Prophet had said that day. We are indebted to him as a Church for preserving the Prophet's teachings in his journal.
Last weekend, the second event of note this month was being in the first stake conference under the direction of our new stake presidency. They are inspired men of God, and they walk the talk. Our new stake president asked us to pray for missionary opportunities, and within forty-eight hours of doing so we were blessed with the chance to entertain a dear associate from Mexico with whom I am acquainted in my work. He came to our home for dinner, spent the night, and we had breakfast together with him before returning to the city.
Our home is filled with pictures of our family, and artwork reflecting our love of the Lord Jesus Christ. It's hard to avoid asking the obvious questions associated with those evidences of our faith. And Francisco asked. We shared our testimonies, we answered many questions, and toward the end of the evening Patsy remembered we had a Spanish language copy of The Book of Mormon that has resided in our home since son Steve returned from his mission to Mexico. We gave it to him, and encouraged him to read it. He said he would.
|President Harold B. Lee (l), |
President Joseph Fielding Smith (c),
President Nathan Eldon Tanner (r)
|Newly rededicated Ogden Utah Temple|
"Following the closing session President Lee's eldest grandson, David Goates, telephoned his grandfather to tell him of his unusual experience. David, his wife, Patsy, and his mother, Helen, all reported having seen a brilliant light at the pulpit whenever the First Presidency members stood to speak in the celestial room of the temple. The light, however, did not envelop the other speakers.
"Three weeks later the companion temple in Provo, Utah, was dedicated. Because of more Church buildings on the campus of nearby Brigham Young University, linked by closed circuit television, an estimated thirty-five thousand or more were in attendance for each of the sessions.
|Ogden Utah Temple, 1972|
"Two BYU students seated in one of the large campus buildings told President Lee that many of the Saints were shedding tears when the prayer and the Hosanna Shout were delivered and also during the concluding anthem sung by the choir. The Holy Spirit visited these television-linked buildings with the same power as in the temple proper." (Harold B. Lee: Prophet and Seer, L. Brent Goates, 430).
|Odgen Temple Celestial Room|
It may seem a small coincidence to some, but to me it was significant. You see, when the video feed kept failing, I offered a silent prayer that all would be privileged in the remote stake center where we were located to see and hear President Monson's remarks and his dedicatory prayer. And my little prayer was answered.
|President Monson, Elder Kent Richards|
Imagine a place on earth where one can go to find peace in this chaotic world. Imagine where one can go to have your family sealed together by priesthood authority for time and for all eternity. Imagine a place where a name of a loved one can be placed upon an altar in the temple, and the combined faith and prayers of thousands of faithful brothers and sisters can ascend to heaven on their behalf every day. Imagine knowing that all this is possible because there is a God in heaven, there is a Savior, Jesus Christ, who has redeemed all mankind from sin and death upon conditions of repentance and a Holy Ghost who testifies of these truths. Imagine that all you have just read is true and you can partake for the mere asking.
You don't have to imagine it at all, because it is my witness that it is true. And that's very real.