26902_000_004Never did I think that by putting myself in a picture of the temple, I would also put myself in the temple.
I grew up in Godstone, England, and was 17 years old when the London England Temple was dedicated in 1958. As a member of another church, I went through the temple open house with my parents. Although this left a great impression on me, I went back to my life as it had been before.
A year later, I joined a photographic club and chose the London temple as a suitable subject for a photograph to enter in a competition. As I set up the camera that day, I thought, “This needs something else. I need to put somebody in there looking at the temple.” So I used a timer and took the shot across the reflecting pool with me sitting in the foreground. That photograph took first place.
My father informed the temple president, Selvoy J. Boyer, of my award. He wanted to see the picture, so I made a print and presented it to him. He gave me a copy of the Book of Mormon. I read it and obtained a conviction that it was scripture.
On April 1, 1960, President Boyer baptized me. My first calling was to host tours on the temple grounds. Though nearly 19, I was not able to serve a mission because I was serving an apprenticeship and was under contract for a number of years. However, I did receive my endowment in the temple. That first temple visit impressed upon me the desire to do ordinance work for my deceased ancestors.
In time, I met my future wife, Iris. As she gained a testimony of the gospel, she asked me to baptize her. We were married in the temple a year and a day after her baptism. Eventually we had a son and then adopted a two-year-old girl. We all went to the temple to have our daughter sealed to us. Being together, all dressed in white, was a spiritual and choice experience.
Some time later, when my wife contracted cancer, the first thing we did was go to the temple. In the celestial room we prayed quietly to know “What does this mean in our lives now?” Throughout those years before she was cleared of the cancer, we went to the temple often, seeking the Lord’s blessings.
Throughout my life, I’ve had a special feeling about the temple, and it all started with a photograph. The temple was there from the beginning and has been with me ever since. Indeed, it continues to be the central focus of my life.