SEVEN YEARS IN THE ARIZONA TEMPLE
VERY OFTEN in my mind I recall the five years following our release from stake work and preceding our call to the Temple. I call that period "The Five Year Interlude." During those years we lived more leisurely than at any period before. We took more time for reading and thinking and for the following out of our own plans. It was the first time in our lives that public duties had not been pressing.
It was a trying time. My salvation was in the work I did on the new farm on the bench. These periods of adjustment between jobs sometimes break the spirit of a man. Physical work is the safety-valve that is best for me.
We rented out apartments in the big home, now lonely for our scattered children for whom it was built. During three of those winters we left the renters in the home to Levi's care while we visited our children, Pearl, Luella and David and their families in Salt Lake City. This gave us the cherished opportunity of working in the
Salt Lake Temple and doing some genealogical research. We had dreamed for years of doing this work, and we rejoiced in having our dreams come true.
At the time of my release as president of the stake, Apostle Rudger Clawson ordained me to the office of Patriarch. I gave, in all, 130 patriarchal blessings to members of the stake and my own descendants.
A word of explanation is probably in order as to the nature of the sacred calling of a Patriarch. By modern revelation we are told that the evangelist referred to in the New Testament (e.g. Ephesians 4:11-12) is a Patriarch. Wherever the Church of Christ is established on the earth there should be a Patriarch for the benefit of the posterity of the saints, as it was with Jacob in giving his patriarchal blessing unto his sons. Such blessings contemplate an inspired declaration of the lineage of the recipient, coupled with a prophetic statement of his life mission, together with such blessings, cautions and admonitions as the Patriarch may be prompted to give for the accomplishment thereof. The realization of promised blessings is conditioned upon the faithfulness of the individual recipient in living up to the principles of the Gospel of our Lord.
I thank the Lord for giving me the spirit of my calling as a Patriarch, for I did enjoy blessing my people. The call to serve as President of the Temple prevented my giving as man), patriarchal blessings as I otherwise would have done.
The call to renewed activity, this time in a field that had always been dear to my heart, came out of a clear sky:
*A memory by Pearl: The next morning after the foregoing letter was written to father, I happened to be returning home from calling on a patient, when Apostle George Albert Smith came along 13th East in his car and stopped and asked me to get in out of the storm and he would take me home. He said he was glad to see me because be had something wonderful to tell me, something that made him very happy. Then he told me of father's and mother's call and said it was an honor they shared equally and had earned together, and that had mother not been a woman of faith and wisdom, and even bad she been an untidy housekeeper, she could not have been qualified to serve as Matron in the House of the Lord. If she had not qualified in the eyes of the leaders, father probably would not have been called to fill the position. He added, "often in these calls, in our Church, the wife becomes the deciding factor." I have always been thankful for that little visit with Brother George Albert, whom we love so dearly.
In obedience to the instructions of the First Presidency we spent considerable time in the Salt Lake and other Temples familiarizing ourselves with our duties and responsibilities.
In my first interview with President Grant--after receiving the call--I was accompanied by my son David. I felt so weak and humble that I asked for the privilege of having two counselors, to be nominated by him. President Grant tried to dissuade me, as up to that time all the Temple presidents were serving without counselors. When I rather insisted the president reluctantly agreed but stated the right of nomination was mine, "as choosing a counselor is like choosing a wife. It has to be someone you can get along with." I submitted the names of Elders James W. Lesueur and Frank V. Anderson, both of Mesa, and they were later approved and set apart as my counselors in the Temple Presidency.
The account of our glorious opportunity for service as a presidency in that sacred edifice will principally be told by others. When we were called to preside in the Arizona Temple, we rented our home in St. Johns and moved to Mesa. We rented a pleasant place near the Temple and began a seven-year period of Temple activity in the House of the Lord. It was a challenging experience for me, in my seventy-sixth year, to receive the call to be President of the new Arizona Temple. This was the ninth Temple to be built in this generation.
The Mormon people have become known as Temple builders since the earliest days of the organization of the Church. Very early in its history it was revealed to Joseph Smith that a Temple should be builded at Kirtland, Ohio, and in the depth of poverty and persecution the Temple
was completed and ready for dedication on April 3, 1836. Later, the prophet was directed to start the building of the Nauvoo Temple in Illinois as soon as the saints had established themselves there. The same pattern was followed when, under the leadership of Brigham Young, the pioneers arrived in Salt Lake Valley in the year 1847. One of the first official actions taken on the part of Brigham Young was to designate the place where a Temple was to be constructed.
This great concept of Temple building, for the purpose of performing sacred ordinances therein, had its beginning in a most singular way on September 21, 1823, when the Angel Moroni visited Joseph Smith, then a 17 year-old boy, in answer to his prayers. Among other instructions, Moroni said to him:
Behold, I will reveal unto you the priesthood by the hand of Elijah, the prophet, before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord, and be shall plant in the hearts of the children the promises made by the fathers, and the hearts of the children shall be turned to their fathers. If it were not so the whole earth would be utterly wasted at His coming. (D&C 2:1-3.)
Who was the Prophet Elijah that had been designated by the Lord to do this important work before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord? He was a major prophet of the Old Testament, who at the time he came to the close of his earthly ministry, ascended to Heaven in a chariot of fire without passing through the portals of death. He was the same Elijah who appeared with Moses to the Saviour, and to Peter, James, and John on the Mount of Transfiguration.
On April 3, 1836, in fulfillment of the promise made by Moroni, the Prophet Elijah did appear to Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery, in the newly-dedicated Kirtland Temple, and conferred upon them the keys of this priesthood, saying: "And by this you may know that the great and dreadful day of the Lord is near, even at the door." (D&C 110:16.)
From that day to the present the building of Temples and the performances of sacred ordinances for the living and the dead have gone forward at an ever-increasing rate.
BAPTISMAL FONT IN ARIZONA TEMPLE
President David K. Udall and Matron Ella Udall are in
Having an abiding faith in the divinity of this work I am convinced that the seven years spent as President of the Arizona Temple were the most fruitful years of my life. With my fellow laborers we blessed the lives of
hundreds of thousands of people, some of whom were living, but most of whom were in the spirit world waiting anxiously to receive these earthly ordinances so necessary for their salvation and exaltation in our Father's Kingdom.*
The record of my work as President of the Arizona Temple would not be complete without a further reference and tribute to my efficient counselors.
James W. Lesueur was the eldest son of John T. Lesueur, my great friend and counselor in the St. Johns Stake Presidency. For many years prior to the dedication of the Arizona Temple, James had been President of the Maricopa Stake of Zion, which then embraced all of Maricopa County. He had been a most zealous leader of his people, and did much to lay the foundation for the splendid growth of the Mormon Church that has since taken place in the great Salt River Valley. He, perhaps, did more than any other man in Arizona to organize the effort and collect the means that made possible the building of the Temple at Mesa. Furthermore, he was a trained genealogist and did much to educate the saints along these lines.
Frank V. Anderson likewise was a man of great zeal and ability. A humble, scholarly man, he helped to give a good balance to our Presidency, and his services as Counselor and as the first Temple Recorder stand as a monument to his name. At the time of my release this loyal friend penned a tribute to me, which I take the liberty of quoting in part:
*Other scriptural references that pertain to Temple work: John 5:25 and 5:28-29; I Peter 3:18-20 and 4:6; I Cor. 15:29 and 15:19-20; Isa. 61:1; Mal. 4:5-6, and John 3:5.
Had David King Udall required introduction and recommendation to the saints of the newly-created Arizona Temple District (October 1927), no higher tribute could have been paid him than his selection by the First Presidency of the Church, to preside over one of the sacred Temples.
However, David King Udall bad already long since been recognized by reason of active, strenuous participation in the many stirring events of the early settlement of saints in northeastern Arizona.
It was a crowning act to a useful life to place him at the head of Temple work in this section. He brought to the effort a vast experience in other fields of Church endeavor, having presided both as bishop and stake president, in which capacities the Church has few if any equals in length of devoted service.
A first and even brief contact with President Udall left an indelible impression of sincere and simple nature, garnished, however, with remarkable spiritual attributes. None can forget his fervency in prayer and the final "Amen" never failed to convince his hearers of his sincerity and good standing with the Lord.
In the beginning of his Presidency at the Arizona Temple, in a work new to all of us, Brother Udall constantly admonished us to go slowly, build conservatively, but well. He abhorred comparisons, and while work at the Arizona Temple forged ahead of many older Temple districts, he was never heard to make any comparison. He felt that the dignity of the institution and the sacredness of the work were far more important than record-making or comparisons; that the increase was bound to come but should not be hastened by undue enthusiasm or sacrificed by a stride that robbed any ordinance of its impressiveness. In all decisions be leaned toward the sanctity and rich sentiments of the work, and while he had great sympathy and tenderness for individuals and their claims, the rulings and requirements of the Temple came first and personal considerations were always secondary. He
was a safe man, a tried man, in whom unlimited confidence might be imposed and without reservation.
Nothing irked this active pioneer as did holidays and those periods when the Temple was necessarily closed. It was evident that his whole life bad been one unremitting effort of active usefulness. He was never above bard work, even manual labor, and rather than be idle at any time was to be found OD the Temple premises in old boots and clothing with a shovel. The "business end" thereof found few if any equals, even at his advanced years.
His reminiscences arc legion, and for hours Brother Udall can relate and entertain with intimate details and glowing touches of early settlement life, adventures with Indians, desperadoes, horse thieves, cattle rustlers, and saints. It is to be wondered that lie ever found time to be peacefully inclined, or to have reared such a remarkable family . . . The rough usages of his time and place served as abrasives to grind and polish and bring to light the rich coloring, fine grain and spirit of the wood and fibre of this man . . .
President Udall's love of adventure and action is still upon him, though be is crowding ninety years into an amazing background of eventful life. He still loves to travel, be it comfortable or otherwise, preferring his "Ford" into which he piles an inconceivable array of bags and baggage, and, with Sister Udall beside him and a good driver in front, he tackles any distance or any grade.
He melts to kindness and responds beautifully to any words of praise. He has oceans of courage and admits no "Waterloo" on any field, or in defending that which he holds
to be right. Yet if he feels that he has offended, there is no sleep until all has been made right.
As President of the Arizona Temple, presiding at all gatherings and over all ordinances, be is yet delighted in the humbler administrations as well as in dispensing those authorized and delegated blessings reserved for righteous saints after years of faithful integrity in the Church. He was to be found preforming baptisms, confirmations, ordaining and blessing, as well as sealing for endless eternities those worthy of such promise and blessing.
During his administration, curbs, walks and gutters were laid out on East First Avenue, beautifying that approach to the Temple; lawns and flower gardens with suitable shrubbery were put in. Improvements were made in the dressing rooms, facilitating larger companies; alterations were made in the seating capacity to care for the many saints. Navajo rugs of singular size and beauty on the Temple floors enhance and characterize this as a Lamanite Temple; improvements in veils, a new sealing room, and a beautiful altar were installed during President Udall's administration. A beautiful drawing of the Prophet Joseph Smith hangs in the Temple foyer, dedicated to President and Sister Udall and paid for by the workers and officiators on the Temple roll at the time the President was honorably released....
It would be difficult to account for the accomplishments of David King Udall, or rugged virtues in the face of so many hardships and trials incident to the early settlement of the saints, if one fails to recognize the influence and presence of womanhood in the background. His mother, as pictured by his early recollections of her, must have been a
sainted woman, but unfortunately she is unknown to us. We are grateful for acquaintance with the wife, Sister Eliza Luella Stewart Udall, whose gentle dignity, serenity and tender administrations, can never be forgotten, and which are so abundantly concentrated and consecrated to the lives of her husband and family. The virtues of this sweet mother will be visited upon the beads of children, not unto the third or fourth generation, but throughout all generations.
The deserved blessings and release which came honorably to President and Sister Udall in November 1934, from their close friends, the First Presidency, were like a distilling dew and a benediction for service so long and faithfully performed. Their graceful acceptance of retirement is an example to all of us of that day when the Lord shall say "Well done, thou good and faithful servant" if we shall have done equally well.
A great banquet and program were prepared and so many were the friends, admirers and well-wishers of this worthy and sainted couple that it was necessarily held at the Franklin School building, to accommodate officiators, workers, friends, and dear ones called together. The esteem and appreciation of those gathered seems fittingly crystallized into a beautiful expression penned by Sister Bertha A. Kleinman, especially for the occasion.
(Signed) F. V. ANDERSON[ Note: The poem referred to will appear at the end of this chapter. ]
The First Presidency were very thoughtful in having their formal letter of release (dated November 22, 1934) delivered to me in person by Elder Charles A. Callis, of the Council of the Twelve. I quote three excerpts from this letter:
In view of your long and faithful service in the Church, and our earnest desire that you be relieved of duties that may
performed by others who are willing to carry on the work you have
so nobly performed, we feel impressed to extend to you and do hereby give,
an honorable release as President of the Arizona Temple.
* * *
During the visit of Elder Callis a special Chapel service (of five hours duration) was held under his direction, in the Temple. At this time all of the Temple workers were given an opportunity to speak. In addition some of the leading brethren were called upon. Words of sincere tribute were paid to Ella and me and fervent testimonies of the divinity of the restored Gospel and of Temple work were borne by all who spoke.
* * *
In the interim, Temple affairs were put in order for the new administration and I was delighted to learn that President Grant, in person, would effect my release and install my successor.
The transfer to President Jones, as my successor, was effected as planned. A full account thereof, taken from one of the local Church publications, follows:
THE PARTING OF THE WAYS
(Tribute of Appreciation to President and Sister David K. Udall)
And some in the things we say,
Some speak in our handclasp firm and strong,
And some in a huge bouquet.
With their rainbow color scheme,
Some say it in feasting and banqueting,
And some in a toasted theme;
In springtime or in fall,
Were showered upon our guests today,
They could not say it all.
Could swell one rhapsody,
They could not intone our love and praise,
And the depths of our loyalty.
Could be abridged in one,
They could not tell where our love begins,
Nor when our love is done.
The blessedness of memory, untarnished with regret,
No bitterness in our farewells, no heartaches to forget,
on the trail.
that blest content
of all your days,
By: Bertha A. Kleinman
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