BETA

Temple moments: 'Great university'

Representative of the many faithful retired members who serve as temple workers are Donald S. and Joan Conkey of the Allatoona Ward, Marietta Georgia East Stake. Brother and Sister Conkey began serving in the baptistry of the Atlanta Georgia Temple when it was dedicated in 1983 and have served in many capacities since then.

In the baptistry, the Conkeys developed some ways to teach reverence to the many large groups of youth who came to do baptisms for the dead.

"We would challenge them to memorize and recite a scripture, Christ's testimony of Himself as found in 3 Ne. 9:15, and to study and remember the three beautiful paintings that hung in the baptistry area," said Brother Conkey. "We had many wonderful spiritual discussions with the youth, individually and collectively about how they would be able to bring up these 'spiritual files' in time of great personal need."

He and Sister Conkey served in the temple for about 10 years until they were called as public affairs missionaries in Eastern Canada in 1994. A week after they arrived, Brother Conkey experienced severe chest pains and was rushed to the emergency room of the local hospital. As doctors connected him to heart-monitoring devices, a massive heart attack struck.

"During the next 20 minutes, I teetered between life and death. All I could think of was our Eternal Father, whom I called upon mightily for relief. As I did, the 'spiritual files' of the beautiful paintings in the baptistry came to mind, and I found myself repeating the scripture."

The crisis passed and Brother Conkey began a period of recovery. He and his wife completed their mission and returned home to resume service in the Atlanta temple.

Since that time, Brother Conkey has submitted thousands of names for temple work, and written "four or five" books on his family history. He is very grateful "for our Eternal Father, and for His great university, even the Atlanta temple, where I have been privileged to serve and teach." — John L. Hart

Illustration by John Clark.

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