Saving His Children

My daughter had recently conceived our new grandchild, a conception that doctors considered miraculous. But then I got a concerning call. She had become quite ill and I was asked to help administer a priesthood blessing to her.

In the blessing, I remember being impressed to say, “This is going to be a difficult pregnancy, but this little child really wants to be born into your home.” Seeing her duress, I immediately began fasting with a prayer on her behalf. However, before returning home, I was impressed that I needed to fill an assignment to find a Christmas musical number, and I was further impressed to go to the home of a talented sister in our ward, whose husband had been my former bishop.

When I arrived there, the door was ajar some 3” and from the inside, I could hear young voices singing a Christmas song. I thought, “This must be some of her students. I better come back at a different time.” I began walking away, but was instructed to go back.  When I reached the door again, it was closed, but there was a “Come In!” sign on the door and the Spirit constrained me, so I did what I don’t believe I have ever done. Without being invited, I simply opened the door and went to where the singing was. I sat quietly in the back and found a group of our 11-year old primary girls, who were about to graduate into young women’s.

The sister, whose home it was, was accompanying them with her back to me. So, I sat down and quietly harmonized with them on “The Little Drummer Boy”. When they finished, the sister turned and I thanked them for their beautiful music. I told them why I was there and invited them to sing at our ward Christmas social. They were very excited to do so, but then added, “But we really want to sing our favorite song, ‘Peace in Christ’!” They commenced singing it for me then and there, and the words warmed my soul. These girls love Him. With the arrival of my former bishop, it felt like a large family.

We would need that song even more the next day.

The following morning, I was in the temple, and the Spirit said, “You are fasting for your daughter. You should pray for her also.” And so, I joined in a sacred prayer for the sick and afflicted on behalf of many, but in particular, I prayed for my daughter and her child. As we prayed, I felt a deep comfort. I didn’t know it, but at that same time, my son-in-law found my daughter in such pain that he couldn’t move her. He had called an ambulance and she was being rushed to the hospital.

As I made to leave the temple, the Spirit told me to go back. I knew I was to talk to the music sister, but I didn’t know where she was, and if not for the prompting, if she was even there. I turned and started down the stairs to the basement level, just as she started up the same staircase. I thanked her and briefly mentioned the music. I left, still a bit puzzled, but somehow, it was comforting to know she was serving the Lord in His house.

Neither of us knew that at that time my former bishop’s life was in peril. He was suffering a heart attack, and would soon be in full arrest, in the hands of medical professionals who would take him to the hospital

This sister and I were both serving the Lord, and that meant that what we couldn’t possibly know or do anything about was really in His hand.  The miracles that preserved my bishop’s life that morning were wonderful blessings from our Father in Heaven. At the same time, my daughter underwent surgery for an emergency appendectomy.  The doctor cautioned her going in that she would almost certainly lose this baby.

That night when we got to the hospital to see my daughter, we found my bishop’s wife and her brother in the lobby. As we conversed, both of our families were filled with gratitude for the Lord preserving our loved ones.

My daughter’s baby survived. Her surgeon told her, “I perform 25 appendectomies a month, and yours was one of the hardest I have ever done. In all that time, I have never performed an operation on a mother with a burst appendix where the baby was able to survive.  Your appendix was well above the uterus, under the ribcage which only occurs in 2% of people. I believe this helped keep the infection from hurting the child.”  I believe this was the blessing of the Lord.

We are hopeful this child will be born safely. Each of our grandchildren is a gift from God and a product of the faith of our daughters to bring children to this beautiful, trying world.

I was not going to publish this story at all, but today, Easter Sunday, our current bishop sent out a recording of the very girls who sang this song for me. I give it to you. Unbeknownst to me, a brother in our ward with a recording studio, had recorded them after hearing them sing.

Peace in Christ

My brothers and sisters, each trial ends differently and we will have sorrow, but know this: when you are on the Lord’s errand, He will always guide you. When you pray to Him in faith, you are His hands and His eyes and His feet to minister to others.

There is peace in Christ

When we learn of him

Feel the love He felt for us

When he bore our sins

Listen to his words

Let them come alive

If we know Him as he is

There is peace in Christ

He gives us hope

When hope is gone

He gives us strength

When we can’t go on

He gives us shelter

In the storms of life

When there’s no peace on earth

There is peace in Christ

May His peace be with and abide with each of you and your families this Easter Season and Always!

Marcellus Harper

Is the Temple Truly Closed?

Of all the socially impactive troubles we’ve seen, the closing of the temple has been the saddest to me.

Yes, some of my dearest friends frequent those halls, but there is something far deeper. The temple is where Heaven and Earth meet in a sweet and sanctifying way… Let me tell share with you my last days before the temple closure.

I was anxious to do the work for several of my kindred dead. But leading up to the temple closing, a woman named Harriet, in particular was pressing on my mind. She was a wonderful deceased matriarch of a large posterity, and she wanted her temple work completed. The impression was so strong, I promised her I would have her work completed before the temple closed due to the Corona pandemic, but despite searching and praying for two days for help, I could find no one who would do this sister’s work. It was Friday, and the temple would close its doors the next day.

I had taken time from work to be in the temple that afternoon, and felt I would fail in my promise. I was in a small group there when a special invitation was given to join a sacred prayer. I motioned for another brother to help, but he instead encouraged me, so I stood, and as I did, I caught a sister’s eye and nodded to her to join me. This surprised me, as I thought, “I’ve never invited a sister I don’t know to join me in these prayers…”

Afterwards, I stood alone pondering the Lord’s hand in my life in a very special room of the temple that was full of light. As I did so, this sister came by. She hesitated and then asked, “Do I know you from Sounds of Zion?” (a song/dance group at Utah State University). As I considered her question, I realized she looked familiar. She told me her maiden name and then I just knew, I named a dear sister living in our church ward, and said, “You are her sister, aren’t you!” She was a bit surprised, but said she was and then added, “So we didn’t know each other at USU…” I corrected her, “Oh, yes we did. We were in Sounds of Zion together…” over 30 years ago. I told her how special her entire family is to us and then I told her of Harriet.

Hearing my plight, she agreed to help and come back to do Harriet’s temple ordinance work even though she hadn’t intended to return to the temple. I gave her Harriet’s name and left the temple full of thanks.

The next day, the last day before closure, I spent many hours in the temple. I completed all the work I could and then the Lord gave me the responsibility to lead one of the sacred prayers there. The Spirit filled my heart with gratitude and gave me words for this simple prayer. I thanked the Lord for living in a time when the signs of the coming of our Lord, Jesus Christ were being fulfilled more fully. I told Him we are grateful for the difficult experiences that build our faith, and prayed that when things don’t make sense, that we would have guidance and comfort and knowledge of how to continue on. I asked a special blessing on each person who had faith to come that day, and I ask the same blessing to be on each who reads this, that they may find comfort.

That night, after my temple shift, I checked the ordinance work, and I saw that the work that I asked to be completed for Harriet was done. My heart filled with joy!

Brothers and sisters, the temples are not truly closed until our hearts are closed and hardened. The Lord will dwell in our mortal tabernacles and encourage us and love us. Let us prepare for the day quickly coming when we can again walk the halls of the Lord’s House, but for now let our walk continue to be in holy places, even with our Savior, Jesus Christ, in our own homes and serving our neighbors when we can. And then, when the temples reopen, I pray we will do as Brigham Young instructed the members at the St. George temple dedication. He told them to fill those halls to capacity! This is one way we will turn the hearts of the children to the fathers, and the hearts of the fathers to the children. This is a work of love!