Temple moments: The proper time

It takes many volunteers to staff a temple. Each serves selflessly and often; the commitment they show blossoms into a deep love for service in the temple. Among these diligent volunteer servants are the temple sealers, men of considerable experience in the Church. As time passes, however, it becomes necessary for a release from temple service.

"The proper time to release a temple sealer is never an easy decision," said J. Kenneth Webb, former first counselor in the Logan Temple presidency. "My experience is that no sealer looks forward to a release."He said that in 1992, he supervised several sealers who were over 85 years of age. "One had been a giant in my life. He was my elementary school principal, my bishop and my neighbor, Oral Lynn Ballam. I did not want to do anything that would offend this great man." Brother Ballam, the father of the current president of the Logan Temple, Oral L., was 91 years old.

Pres. Webb said that one morning, about an hour before his alarm clock sounded at 4 a.m., he was awakened with a distinct impression that he should release Brother Ballam that very day.

"Needless to say, I didn't go back to sleep. I later shared this experience with temple Pres. Ivan Miller. He replied, `You'd better do it, then.' "

"By mid-morning, I got up the courage to have Brother Ballam's supervisor send him to my office.

"I swallowed hard and said, `Brother Ballam, we're going to extend an honorable release to you as a sealer in the temple.'

"His eyes watered and he began to cry. My worst thoughts came to mind and I felt I had hurt this fine man.

"Moments later he took hold of my hand and said, `President Ken, I have been praying that you would do this today. I haven't felt well, but didn't want to ask to be released.' We embraced and tears flowed."

Pres. Webb said that the sealer bid farewell to his friends, thanked the temple presidency again, and left, grateful his prayer had been answered.

Brother Ballam was shortly taken to the hospital where after a few days, his tired body was released from a long life of diligent service.

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