Temples Are a Gift from Heavenly Father

From an April 2000 general conference address.


Yoshihiko Kikuchi
All children who die before they arrive at the years of accountability are saved in the celestial kingdom of heaven (D&C 137:10).

Temples Are a Gift from Heavenly Father

A few years ago, I had a stake conference assignment in California. On the flight back to Utah, a beautiful lady in her mid-70s sat beside me. Her name was Patti, and she loved to talk.

Patti told me all about her family—about her husband and her son who had died. Our conversation went on until we were about to land. I said, “Patti, you have been talking for most of the flight. Before we land in Salt Lake City, I’d like to ask you a few questions.”

I asked her sincerely, “Patti, do you know you will see your deceased husband again?”

She said, “Oh, is that possible?”

Then I asked, “Do you know you will also see again your deceased son, Matt, who died as a baby?”

Her eyes became moist, and her voice was shaking. The Spirit of the Lord touched her. She had missed them so much.

Then I prayerfully asked her, “Patti, do you know you have a loving and kind Heavenly Father, who loves you so dearly?”

She said, “Do I?”

I asked, “Patti, do you know your Heavenly Father has a special plan for you and that your family can be forever?”

“Can we?” she replied.

“Have you ever heard the plan before?” I asked.

She said, “No.”

Very sincerely I asked her, “Would you like to know about it?”

“Yes, I would,” she responded.

The Spirit of the Lord touched her deeply.

The missionaries taught Patti. Three weeks later, while she was staying in Utah, Patti called me: “Brother Kikuchi, this is Patti. I am going to be baptized. Would you come to my baptism services?”

My wife and I went to her baptism. Many members were kindly fellowshipping her. Oh, I shall never forget her joyful countenance as she came out of the water!

I shall never forget her sweet tears at the sacred altar in the Salt Lake Temple a year later. I remember her peaceful and celestial glow when she was sealed to her deceased husband and son and to her living daughter, who was already a member of the Church.

My friend Patti found the Lord Jesus Christ. Because of the temple sealing, she now knows her family is forever in the Lord.

A Very Good Boy

Elder Kikuchi was born in Japan and grew up there. Every morning when he was small, he got up and got dressed. Then he bowed to his father and said, “Good morning, Father. I will be a good boy.” Then his father hugged him and said, “I love you.” His father’s beard scratched him, but he always knew his father loved him.

Elder Kikuchi’s father died in World War II. His mother planted a large garden to help feed the family. She grew potatoes, pumpkins, eggplants, beans, carrots, and cabbages.

When Elder Kikuchi was 14, he worked in a tofu factory in the day and went to school at night. Then one day two young men wearing hats, rubber boots, and overcoats knocked at the door. They were missionaries. Elder Kikuchi felt the Spirit when the missionaries taught him about the gospel. Just 14 days later, he was baptized.

A few years later he went to college and graduated.

In 1977 Elder Kikuchi became the first General Authority from Japan.

Elder Kikuchi wore a kimono for this photo taken on his second birthday. Can you see the toy he is holding?

Elder Kikuchi (left) at age 13 with junior high friends.

Illustration by Dilleen Marsh; photographs courtesy of the Kikuchi family, except as noted; photograph of carrots © Getty Images; background: photograph by Welden C. Andersen