Tuesday, September 29, 2009

The Temple Endowment

Austin received his temple endowments on July 16, 2009 in the New York Manhattan Temple. On this day, Lisa, Austin, and I got up around 4:30 to a beautiful summer morning and made the hour or so drive to the Manhattan Temple. Everyone at the temple knew exactly who we were the moment we walked in the front door, greeting us by name without any introduction from us. It was quite a spiritual experience, not just for Austin, but for Lisa and I as well.

Before the session, the Temple President, William J. Frost, conducted an office visit for Austin and I, while Lisa waited in the Chapel. President Frost was quite emotional from the start as he expressed his love for Austin and confided that he felt a much greater and special feeling for Austin today than he had previously towards anyone as the Manhattan Temple President. President Frost briefly discussed the purpose of the temple endowment and the significance it has on our lives, bore an emotional testimony, and then closed by having me bear my testimony to my son.

Afterward, we were sitting at the rear chapel waiting for the session to begin when an older gentleman sitting in the front row got up and made his way toward us. He shook Austin’s hands and said, “So this is the missionary”, and began speaking to him in Spanish. He chuckled knowing Austin didn’t understand a word he said. He introduced himself as Elder Christofferson and after some small talk, gave Austin his best wishes and returned to his seat with his wife. Lisa asked who he was and that started a funny argument between us. I said I thought he was the local regional representative but Austin insisted he was a member of the Twelve Apostles. After going back and forth for several minutes, I finally got up and asked President Frost, who confirmed that he was indeed, Elder D. Todd Christofferson of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles. Austin said he knew that was Elder Christofferson only because he gave the Priesthood lesson in church the previous Sunday, which was based of Elder Christofferson’s last talk in General Conference.

After the session, we sat in the Celestial Room for quite awhile talking about the various principles of the Gospel with Austin. It was truly a joyous occasion for us to escort our son and to observe his spiritual growth in the temple unfold before our eyes in such a short time. He would later go through the Portland Temple in Oregon with his mother while on vacation, and while I was in the Middle East; it was a very special temple session just for mother and son.

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