Shining moments: A protective net

Young Gunter Schlegel was so frightened that he could feel the blood draining from his face. He thought the two American soldiers with guns were threatening to kill him and his family. Looking for snipers during World War II, the soldiers had entered the Schlegel home and had found a rifle. Gunter's father tried to explain how he came in possession of the rifle, but the soldiers' limited German was not sufficient for them to understand.

Gunter, age 11, now stood close to his father for protection, praying that the soldiers would not kill them. He reflected on how they had obtained the rifle. He recalled that as the American and British soldiers neared the family's home in the little village of Magdeborn, Germany, fear and panic struck everyone living in the village. The local school had been instructed to draft all the young boys and teach them how to shoot a gun. Gunter and the other young boys were given rifles.When the Americans were a few hours away from town, the boys, including Gunter, marched to defend the factory in town. As they marched, Gunter's father spotted his son and pulled him from the rank of boy soldiers. He said it was futile to go to battle because the war was lost, and he wasn't about to let his son be killed for no reason.

But now this. The soldiers had found the gun and the family thought they may be killed anyway. While one soldier guarded the family, the other soldier searched the house for more weapons or more people. Soon he came down the stairs, holding one of the family's pictures, a picture of the Salt Lake Temple.

As he held up the picture, he asked: "Who is a Mormon in this house?" Gunter's father acknowledged that he was the Mormon. Again Gunter feared for his life. The soldier walked over to Gunter's father and extended his hand. "I am Brother Ueffing from Utah. I am also a Mormon." He turned to his companion and said, "These are not snipers. They are Mormons. So am I. They can be trusted."

The safety of the temple, although in picture form, had spread its protective net all the way to Magdeborn, Germany, to protect this family of Latter-day Saints. (Gunter now resides in Dartmouth, Nova Scotia, and is high priests group leader in the Dartmouth Ward, Dartmouth Nova Scotia Stake.) - Elder Wallace E. Gibson, mission patriarch, Canada Halifax Mission

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