Temple moment: Joy at journey's end

One day in the early summer of 1925, Arden Steveson of Independence, Mo., quit his job. That night, he and his wife, Phebie, loaded all of their belongings on a touring car - tying a trunk on the back and suitcases on the fenders.

The next morning, with their four children and Sarah Eason, her mother, they headed west, bound for the Salt Lake Temple to be sealed for time and eternity.

"We didn't know if we'd ever make it," said Otelia Steveson Hedman of the Arleta Ward, Portland Oregon Stake, who was one of the children.

After a week or two, they arrived in Denver. There, Brother Steveson and the grandmother worked long hours as paperhangers for two months until they'd earned enough money to cross the Rocky Mountains.

"One night we slept in a barn with hay, and one night in the basement of a Church. Another time, the car broke down in Rock Springs, Wyo. Even the tires went flat."

A non-member family took them in. The next day, the local bishop came and said he'd had a feeling during the night that they needed help, which he gave them. The car was fixed and they resumed their journey.

On the way over the mountains, "Once we had to get out and walk because the road was too steep," she recalled. "After our car passed us, we heard a big bang; a tire had blown out. We were so happy [when the tire was fixedT to be on our way again."

Eventually, by fall, the family made it to Ogden, Utah, where they settled down. Soon, they went to the Salt Lake Temple, where they were sealed.

"What a thrill it was to be there, all dressed in white," recalled Sister Hedman. "Even in our young age, we were all so happy we were crying."

Later, the family moved to Portland, Ore., where the children, now married and retired, still live. Here, on two days each week for the past several years, Sister Hedman and her husband, Arthur, back their 1977 Ford station wagon from the driveway. Then they pick up her brothers Willard and John, now both single who live nearby. Last on their route is her sister, Mabel Mattson, and her husband, Floyd. They ride together to the Portland Temple to serve as ordinance workers.

"We never ever dreamed we'd be working in a temple," said Sister Hedman. "It was something just beyond us. It is the greatest feeling to have those temple doors open for us and then close behind on the outside world, and to have that beautiful, sacred spirit." - John L. Hart

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