Reader Voices: Memories of the Draper Utah Temple dedication

By Rulon T. Burton

For Mormon Times

Published: Monday, May 30 2011 7:00 a.m. MDT

Then two thousand Saints inside the temple stood and sang live, while thousands watching the proceedings broadcast to stake centers throughout the valley stood and joined in.

Sometime in the silent waiting period before the two dedicatory sessions began, or during the singing and handkerchief waving, a sweet feeling came to me. That Spirit seemed to deliver a special message to me. I am not so accustomed to receiving revelation that I can readily say this was a personal revelation, but I like to think it was.

The Lord knows me. He knows that from my baptism on, surely shortly thereafter, my heart and mind were always dedicated to the Lord.

There have been little indicators: While sitting in the Granite stake house, that huge barn-like structure that used to stand at the corner of state street and 33rd South, I revered the general authorities who, at that time, spoke in every conference of every stake in the LDS Church. My heart and entire being warmed when Elder Melvin J. Ballard, grandfather to our present apostle, Elder M. Russell Ballard, spoke. By age 13 the, the gospel was everything to me — and has remained so all my life.

I have always loved the things of the Lord. That's why in the midst of vulgarity and filth, I remained pure as I lived with military persons during World War II.  And that is why I was determined to serve a mission at a time when missionary service was discretionary. My wife and I each have served four missions, three of them together as couple missionaries.

Somehow I was caused to look back at my life, there in the silence of the sacred temple. I realized I have always enjoyed good music, sacred and classical music. I have never been caught up in those worldly noises that some call music. Moreover, I have always tried to be strictly honest and couldn't even pluck a green apple off a neighbor's tree, as boys in those days liked to do. At Granite High School when the basketball team won its games, the student body traditionally went downtown en mass and, joining hands, snaked in and out of stores lifting a candy bar here and another small item there, with the excuse of celebrating, I would have no part of it. I stayed at home at the strong protest of my friends.

I have ever been "on the Lord's side." At that time, there inside the new holy edifice, I had no thoughts of protesting that I, like everybody else, was not perfect. Deep down I knew that, and I knew the Lord knew that. Imperfection was not the topic of the moment. Right living, right thinking and faith were.

In short and simple language, the best summary I can give of those sweet moments of contemplation in the house of the Lord is that the Lord was telling me that he is my friend. I can go to him as a friend! I can't use the phrase that the message I was getting from on high was that my calling and election was sure, although I would have liked to say so ever so dearly. It is certainly a glorious message.

I did come away with extraordinary strength and extraordinary support from on high. I felt my duty is to comport myself with confidence knowing that the Lord is there, always to sustain me for the rest of my earthly life. And that is more than enough!

I say with the prophet Joseph as he wrote in a poem he sent to W. W. Phelps, which I have slightly modified:

I will go, I will go, to the homes of the Saints,

Where virtue's the value, and life the reward.

But before I return to my former estate

I must fulfil the mission I had from the Lord.

Whose ways are a wonder; whose wisdom is great;

The extent of whose doings no one can relate.

 

Rulon Burton lives in Draper, Utah.

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