Indiana stake showcases temple stone

A stone that was once chiseled and fitted as part of the Nauvoo Temple was recently reclaimed from a concrete garbage heap and set in a glass display case in the Indianapolis Indiana Stake center.

The temple stone was originally brought to the stake by building missionaries, Ray Asbell, Glenn Goetz and Edward Damrell, who were serving in Indianapolis in 1966. At the time, only a few large stones, along with some fragments, remained from the temple. A 1-foot by 2-foot piece was given to the missionaries, which they brought back with them and presented to the stake.Since then, the stone has been a treasured heirloom of the stake. It was set in concrete as a centerpiece in the courtyard adjacent to the stake center. The stone has been a reminder to the stake of a significant time in Church history.

But when architectural changes were made to the courtyard and stake center this summer, construction crews inadvertantly removed the stone and dumped it in the county landfill, along with a load of concrete debris.

When stake Pres. Michieal E. Hammond learned that the stone had been hauled away, he asked stake members Don Jordan and Mike Taylor to reclaim it.

They first searched a dumpster, then realized the stone had been taken to a 167-acre landfill. Dressed in hard-hats, boots, gloves and old clothing, they climbed over chunks of concrete that had been pushed by bulldozers into large 20-ton mounds.

The task of finding the stone seemed almost impossible at first, Brother Jordan said. But soon, after examining the area, they located the concrete that had been dug from the stake courtyard.

Within minutes, Brother Taylor identified the stone. Fearing that it was crushed or cracked from the rough handling, they carefully lifted away layers of concrete and found that the stone was unscathed.

Both Brothers Jordan and Taylor say it was a providential hand that helped them find the stone in such good condition in less than an hour.

Pres. Hammond used the experience to teach the stake of the significance of temples during a special stake fireside dealing with families. During the fireside, the stone was unveiled in a custom designed display case created by Paul E. Wright. The stone is now displayed in the stake center.

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