Temple moments: Special memories

When youth visit the Atlanta Temple to take part in baptisms on behalf of those who lived before, the young people receive a special welcome.

The temple presidency wants every young man and woman to have rich memories of his or her experience that will help each want to return often. So as they arrive, they are welcomed and shown into the chapel, where they view beautiful paintings of the Savior, according to Donald S. Conkey, who serves in the baptistry with his wife, Joan.Later, as the youth are taken to the baptistry, they also view the paintings there. The most striking is the large painting of the Savior being baptized. The painting contributes to the spiritual experiences of the youth as they participate in ordinance work. The adult workers in the baptistry "witness many wonderful spiritual blessings bestowed upon the youth of the temple district by a wise and loving Father in Heaven," said Brother Conkey.

Recently, 15 youth from Oxford, Miss., traveled several hundred miles to the Atlanta Temple during spring vacation from school. They came to do the baptisms for family members in their ward.

One of these youth was a young man who had been blind since birth, never seeing form or color.

"As I looked at this special child of God, I wondered how I could convey to him the beauty of the chapel and the baptistry, so he could take the images of these rooms, along with the images of the inspired paintings, with him as he left for the long trip home," Brother Conkey said.

Brother Conkey pondered the challenge as the youth began their service. He continued to seek a solution as they neared the end of the session.

Then, as the youth completed their work, Elder Conkey called upon a 12-year-old young man, a first-time visitor to the temple, to describe the paintings in detail.

"As we listened to this 12-year-old describe in minute detail the painting of Christ being baptized by John the Baptist, the painting came alive for all of us," said Brother Conkey. "A reverent hush fell upon all in the baptistry, and tears flowed as we listened to a youth wise beyond his age convey to a blind companion the beauty of the pictures.

"It was truly a spiritual feast for all us privileged to be present with these two very special youth communicating one with the other as only the Spirit can direct."

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