We’ve had some interesting experiences helping patrons with their ordinances. We had a woman who came wanting to do her mother’s work. Her mother was one of the earliest baptisms in the church in Ghana. Record-keeping in those days was spotty so when she wanted to come to the temple the records couldn’t be found and it took some time to get that straightened out. Eventually she had her recommend, but two days before the planned trip (they live 4 hours away), she passed away unexpectedly. That was two months ago. The family had requested and received permission from the 1st Presidency to have her ordinances done. However, when the daughter came a week ago on Saturday we couldn’t figure out how to print the ordinance card. Church headquarters being 7 hours behind GST that day, we also couldn't find anyone who knew the solution.
I was assigned to follow up and late on Tuesday afternoon was able to connect with the right folks in Salt Lake. They quickly printed the card there, and then emailed it to the temple president. The daughter was back yesterday and shared her joyful, tearful, thankful smile after having completed her mother’s ordinances.
Another concern was a brother from Ivory Coast who wanted to be sealed to his new wife. In scheduling that event, the computer reminded us that he needed a permission letter from the 1st Presidency since he had been sealed to his first wife and there was no death recorded. In discussing that with Pres. Assard he said, “Oh, I know him. His first wife died.” Death is more common than divorce as a source of remarriage in the church here.
Another man with the group from Ivory Coast asked me this week if his son could be sealed to his wife and himself. His son was to be endowed that day. I replied that I thought they would still need a recommend for an ordinance for a living person signed by the stake president and the bishop. I knew that the stake president was with the group but I didn’t know about the bishop. The brother replied that getting the recommend wouldn't be a problem, since I was already looking at the bishop!
One of our concerns is making sure, as much as possible, that people who travel long distances to receive temple ordinances qualify for and already have the appropriate recommend needed. I have seen a couple of instances when good people who haven't yet been in the church for at least a year have come with recommends. It’s very sad for them and for us when we can’t proceed with the ordinances because of leaders’ errors. That is one of the challenges of rapid growth - training leaders who haven’t had much time to absorb all that they need to know and who aren’t naturally inclined to read the handbooks carefully.
With a wonderful group of saints from Ivory Coast, on the temple steps. Happy and tired and ready to go home.