Temple moments: Melting away enmity

Historical enmity between nationalities is at the root of many of the world's problems. This hostility often becomes deeply embedded as it is passed on from generation to generation, from teacher to student, father to son.

One such example of this enmity has been between the Koreans and Japanese, said Yong-In Shin, a Korean Latter-day Saint, now first counselor in the presidency of the Nijegen Branch, Apeldoorn Netherlands Stake.He said that from 1910 until the end of World War II, the Japanese ruled Korea as a colony, exercising forceful control and even prohibiting the use of the Korean language.

"I was born and raised in Korea and learned to hate the Japanese under the Korean education system," he said. "After I joined the Church and moved to Provo, Utah, to attend BYU, I noticed quite a few Japanese fellow students on campus. I never felt comfortable around them. This was bothersome to me because I knew the Lord expected me to love everybody, including the Japanese people.

"Some years ago, three members of a Korean stake presidency came to Salt Lake City to general conference. Afterwards they wanted to be sealed to their wives in the Provo Temple.

"Although I arranged to have Elder Yoshihiko Kikuchi of the Seventy perform the sealing, I was not too excited about the idea of having a Japanese person at this special occasion for Korean people. I sensed some of my Korean friends were also concerned.

"At the ceremony, as I was interpreting for Elder Kikuchi, he invited me with kind and gentle gestures to stand by him. He put his arm around my back during the whole ceremony.

"He explained how much he loved Korea and how he cherished the Korean Saints. He performed the sealing ceremony with dignity and authority.

"But while he was talking, with his arm around my back, I felt a special warmth from his arm. This warmth seemed to melt my negative and hardened feelings toward the Japanese people. By the time the ceremony was over, I could embrace Elder Kikuchi without any different feeling toward him because he was Japanese.

"Since then, I have had a chance to work daily with the Japanese people in my profession and have visited Japan many times. I honestly do not have any awkwardness in my heart toward them. I have enjoyed their support and kindness. I can genuinly say that I love the Japanese people as much as I love my own Korean people."

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