A Walk on Temple Square

That morning I had been depressed and dissatisfied with the direction my life was taking. Problems that should have seemed minor suddenly seemed more than I could bear, and life’s injustices seemed directly aimed at me. When I had almost reached the point of giving up, I was told by a still small voice that I would be able to find peace and solace on the Salt Lake Temple grounds.

I parked my car at one of the many meters that surround Temple Square and entered the gates. A guide announced that a tour was starting at the Seagull Monument. Attaching myself to a small group of tourists, I walked over to the monument, suddenly anxious to hear the tour which I hadn’t heard since I was a child.

As the guide, a missionary from Idaho, introduced himself and his purpose in being there, I felt the tight knot inside of my chest begin to relax. I listened as the beautiful story of the seagulls and the crickets began to unfold, and a quiet peace filled my soul. While I was hearing about granite being hauled the many miles from Little Cottonwood Canyon to build the temple, my spirit began to soar, and as we listened to a tape of the Tabernacle Choir singing “The Battle Hymn of the Republic,” I realized that my transformation was nearly complete.

Tears came as the joy of knowing who I was flooded my heart. I realized anew that I was a product of those wonderful pioneers who had transformed a desert into this beautiful valley. The challenges facing me were minute compared to the problems that had beset my ancestors. Hunger, disease, government intervention, and loneliness could have destroyed them; yet their faith in God and their love for the freedom which the Salt Lake Valley represented to them sustained them through the bad times. I remembered, once again, that because of the sacrifices my pioneer ancestors had made, and because their faith had been handed down through the generations to me, I, too, could handle the tribulations of my life.

As I drove homeward that day, I wondered what I had been so upset about. With a wonderful husband, four beautiful children, and a strong testimony of the truthfulness of the gospel, I realized that I have everything. Annette Larsen Proulx, Riverton, Utah

[photo] Photography by Jed A. Clark

A Manual from Matthew

I wonder whether seven-year-old Matthew really understood the significance of his actions the Saturday he chose to spend his hard-earned allowance on a Relief Society manual for his mom.

The money was a special reward for the way he had taken over and become “the man of the house” while his daddy had been sick in the hospital. We expected him to buy the usual assortment of baubles that appeal to a seven-year-old, but instead he had chosen to buy me a new book.

I was uneasy about accepting his sacrifice and subsequently shared my feelings with a friend a few days later. After all, I knew that after paying his tithing and buying the book there was very little left over for Matthew!

“I didn’t need to accept his money, Nancy,” I explained, “but I knew he’d feel good if I did. I love him for it, and I’ll give it back another way.”

Then the miracle happened!

At that precise moment, my whole concept of tithing changed. It was as though suddenly a light had switched on and, just as suddenly, I could see.

I had always paid my tithing faithfully and regularly. But, in retrospect, I had paid it in fear and trembling to an awe-inspiring God who demanded his tenth. (See D&C 64:23.) Somehow, in my confused thinking, the God to whom I timidly offered my tithes differed tremendously from the compassionate, loving Father who listened to me pour out my heart each morning and night, the Father who cared about me and wanted me to return home to him.

In that moment I knew that my Father in Heaven loved me. And, even though it was my obligation and responsibility to return to him a tenth of my increase, he still appreciated my offerings and was glad that I did it. As I stood there in my kitchen, with tears streaming down my cheeks, my words reverberated in my mind and called up the Lord’s promise: “Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in mine house, and prove me now herewith, saith the Lord of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it.” (Mal. 3:10.)

How grateful I am for the lessons taught by a loving Heavenly Father. And how grateful I am for the thoughtful and unselfish actions of my small son. Denise Walsh Norton, Leavitt, Alberta, Canada