Temple Memories (Also published in the "Church News", 4 September 2004, page 16)
Very early Saturday morning, August 14th, 2004, it was good to be back at the Washington D.C. LDS Temple again.
Particularly meaningful to me was the endowment ordinances I was performing for a 15th Century Dutchman, since my own ancestry mostly is Dutch and German.
As I thereafter sat quietly praying in the Celestial room of the Temple, memories of my first Temple experience flooded my mind.
In was in 1970, and, after being baptized a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church) a year earlier at age 21, I was excited and anxious to receive my Temple washings, annointings, and endowments.
Although there were plans to finally build an LDS Temple East of the Mississippi River in the D.C. area, this was not to happen until 1974, and I couldn't bring myself to wait that long.
But to which Temple should I go and how?
LDS friends in the Cumberland, Maryland area where I was baptized suggested that I could go to Utah and stay with their extended families and friends, but I somehow was reluctant to do that.
One night, as I prayed about what to do about my Temple endowments, the answer suddenly came into my mind: go to the Los Angeles, California Temple and stay with my nonmember paternal grandparents, Edgar and Rhoda Kump.
I first broached this idea to my nonmember parents in Hagerstown,MD, and my Dad agreed that my grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins all would be glad to have me visit them.
However, he also cautioned me not to mention my new LDS Church affiliation to them, because it would offend my grandparents' fundamentalist religious affiliation and sensitivities.
And so I followed my Dad's counsel, inviting myself to visit his family, but not mentioning to them the larger purpose of my visit.
However, when "Pap-Pap" met me at the L. A. airport, I felt prompted to tell him of my newfound faith and my desire to go to the Temple.
He became very quiet upon hearing this news, and the drive back to his home seemed to last forever.
Arriving at his housing development, he spoke for the first time since I had bore my testimony to him of my conversion, asking me to go with him on a walk before we finally went home to see "Mam-Maw".
He knocked on every door of every home of that little retirement community within Tustin, California, whereupon, at each door, he stuck out his chest and proudly introduced me as his "Mormon Elder" grandson.
Before we finally went back to his home, he then confided in me that, many years ago, he was converted to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, but, because my grandmother refused to change her faith and religious affiliation, he reluctantly opted not to join the LDS Church.
Having said that, he bore his testimony to me, and promised me that I never would regret the choice I had made, and how proud he was of me.
Both my grandparents never did join the Church, and they have long since passed away, but it has been my blessing and privilege to have their vicarious Temple work done on their behalf.
Larry D. Kump, High Priest
Hedgesville, West VirginiaWard
Martinsburg, West Virginia Stake
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