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Tears of joy flow in the presence of President Monson

Many gather around the prophet at temple events

The Gila Valley qualifies in every sense of the word as part of Arizona's "desert country." Arid though it may be, extra moisture flowed May 22 and 23. This moisture did not descend in the form of rain from the sky, but in tears brought by heaven-inspired emotions.

Many participants in events of the dedication of The Gila Valley Arizona Temple spent a lot of time either trying in vain to hold back their tears or wiping them from their eyes.

President Thomas S. Monson adjusts 12-year-old Mitchel McHugh's tie before the temple dedication.
President Thomas S. Monson adjusts 12-year-old Mitchel McHugh's tie before the temple dedication. Photo: Gerry Avant, Church News

Dozens of young people who participated in the cultural event on the eve of the temple dedication were overcome by their emotions after shaking hands with President Thomas S. Monson. Some could not help but cry just upon seeing the prophet of the Lord in their midst, even if they weren't close enough to shake his hand.

Sharda Kelly
Sharda Kelly Photo: Gerry Avant, Church News
Melissa Emery
Melissa Emery Photo: Gerry Avant, Church News
Dennis Richardson
Dennis Richardson Photo: Gerry Avant, Church News

Emotions ran high throughout Sunday, the day the temple was dedicated. All around the temple grounds, family members and friends hugged and wept with gratitude on each other's shoulders.

Children, youth and adults on The Gila Valley Arizona Temple grounds beam as they look toward President Monson.
Children, youth and adults on The Gila Valley Arizona Temple grounds beam as they look toward President Monson. Photo: Gerry Avant, Church News

Smiles accompanied tears. Children too young to attend the dedication came to the temple with parents, older siblings or other relatives. They — along with Primary boys and girls, young men and young women and adults — lined the walkway, smiling eagerly in anticipation of catching a glimpse of or receiving a handshake from President Monson; President Henry B. Eyring, who is his first counselor; Elder Jeffrey R. Holland of the Quorum of the Twelve; Elder Claudio R.M. Costa of the Presidency of the Seventy; or Elder William R. Walker of the Seventy.

Young Women especially enjoyed seeing or speaking with Sister Ann M. Dibb, second counselor in the general Young Women presidency and President Monson's daughter. Sisters Kathleen Eyring, Patricia Holland, Margareth Costa and Vicki Walker each took time to greet people on the temple grounds.

Mark S. Bryce, coordinator of the local temple committee, summed it all up when he said that this weekend in May 2010 was one for tears of joy. "The Spirit has been here," he managed to say before his voice choked with emotion, rendering him unable to say more.

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