Temple moments: Extra meaning

Wolf hides stacked on the banks of the Missouri River gave this once remote outpost its name: Wolf Point. Today, Wolf Point, Mont., is no longer remote, but it remains distant from major population centers. It is a community of the Fort Peck Indian Reservation in the northeast corner of Montana where Assinboine and Souix Indians live.

The community is home to the small Wolf Point Branch, which is 700 miles distance from the temple in Idaho Falls, Idaho. Members of the Church here typically have limited financial resources. As a result, few of the Indian members have been to the temple.Representative of these members is Sheldon Headdress, second counselor in the branch presidency. His grandparents were members, but they died in 1974 before they could complete a planned temple trip. His parents, too, were members but his mother died in 1984, and his father died in 1991 with temple work undone.

Circumstances changed for Brother Headdress and other Lamanite members of the branch in 1993 when Pres. Stanley Stott of the Montana Billings East Stake organized a temple trip for the Crow Indians in the Dunmar Branch in his stake, and invited members of the Wolf Point Branch, Montana East District, to accompany them. Missionary couples, Elder Delmont Beecher and Sister Marie Beecher, and Elder Nephi Pratt and Sister Elaine Pratt, helped the members prepare for the trip.

On Oct. 15, 1993, a number of Lamanite members made a trip to the Idaho Falls Temple. They stayed two days doing their own work and work for their forebears.

Among those who attended from Wolf Point were Joan Redstone, Arelene Small, Josephine Tapaha, Vera Garske, and Mayme Wise and her husband, Glen.

"The experience of going through the temple for my parents gave extra meaning for me," said Brother Headdress. He explained that the sealing was performed by Wayne Van Orden, his foster father when he was in the Indian Student Placement Service from 1966-68.

"The sealing meant that much more to have my foster father perform it," he said.

Finally being in the temple "was beautiful," he said. "I will never forget it. I just wanted to stay in the temple; I didn't want to leave and go to the outside world."

Since the temple trip, attendance at the Wolf Point Branch, and among others from the Billings East stake, has nearly doubled. In addition, members are doing family history work and looking forward to their next temple trip.

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