A SPECIAL SESSION*
For decades, the London England and Bern Switzerland Temples were the only temples on the European continent. They served a large geographical area that included districts on the African continent. Many members made tremendous sacrifices to attend these temples, knowing that a temple trip could be a once-in-a-lifetime event.
In the late 1980’s, a couple from Ghana in western Africa saved their money and traveled to the London Temple on an uncomfortable freight vessel. They arrived in England on a Friday night and awoke the next morning eager to visit the temple. With the help of a deckhand from the freighter, they found the temple Saturday afternoon. Their anticipation turned to sorrow when they learned that the temple was closed on Saturday afternoons; the last session of the day had begun a half hour before their arrival. The temple would reopen the following Tuesday — the same time their freighter would be returning to Ghana.
After traveling a vast distance at great cost, the couple was overwhelmed with anguish and feared their dreams of achieving temple blessings would not be realized. They broke into tears. Arthur Henry King, who served as president of the London England Temple from 1986-1990, soon learned of the couple’s plight. President King arranged for a few temple workers and local members to participate in a special, additional session that day. His actions allowed this humble African couple to receive their endowments and the sealing ordinance that afternoon. They left the temple late in the day filled with the peace and joy found in temple blessings.
*from Chad S. Hawkins, Holy Places; true stories of faith and miracles from Latter-day temples (Crawfordsville, IN, R.R. Donnelley and Sons, 2006), 24-26. See also Gerry Avant, “Blessings of House of the Lord Reach Faithful in Many Lands,” Church News, September 24, 1994, 27.
A testimony of temple work by Arthur Henry King –
My wife and I . . . have learned what happens when the hearts of the fathers turn to the children and the hearts of the children to the fathers. . . I remember when, along with my wife, I first read an extract from a letter of a fourth great-grandmother, Susanna Martin, daughter of a miller called Garton, who under the abominable Charles the Second spent twenty years in prison for his faith. Susanna Martin and her family were Quakers; she was a missionary. A mother of many children, she had afterwards gone up and down in England and Scotland and Ireland. She was overtaken by illness, and in 1735 she wrote her last letter. In that letter, she says she “had wrote this down” for the benefit of those that might come after her, when she was in the dust, so that they might know how good it is to serve the Lord and how sweet she had found his service. Every time I think of those words, tears of joy come into my eyes.
When in your genealogical researches you come across something like Susanna Martin’s words, you will feel, as my wife and I felt, a great surge of gratitude to the Lord for allowing us to make that discovery and for the effect on our own souls. This gratitude comes from knowing that over the generations our forebears have struggled towards the light, and have now found it (their work has been done).
from Arthur Henry King, Arm the Children: faith’s response to a violent world (Provo, Utah, BYU Studies, 1998) 305.