‘Heaven was there

When a temple closes for necessary renovation, its workers and patrons feel a loss until the temple re-opens. When the Oakland Temple closed in December 1988 for such a project, among those who felt the loss was one of the temple workers, E. McClain Barrus of Sacramento, Calif.

"I missed the temple very much during that time that it was closed," he said.When the temple re-opened on Oct. 30, 1990, he was glad to get back into the routine. Typical of many temple workers, he rises at 3 a.m. on the day he serves in the temple, leaves in a temple workers' car pool at 4 a.m. and arrives at the temple at 5:30 a.m.

Brother Barrus first came to Sacramento as a missionary but stayed to take advantage of work opportunities when his mission was completed. Since those missionary days, he has found many ways to serve in the Church. Among the most fulfilling experiences in service have come in the temple.

One such experience came on Dec. 27, 1990, two months after the temple re-opened. On that day, 50 couples were married or sealed.

As the day progressed, family members and friends of those being married shed tears and frequently expressed their love.

But despite the hectic pace and challenges to temple workers of keeping marriages on schedule, the workers also felt a great joy, said Brother Barrus.

"For several hours it was my assignment to direct patrons to the sealing rooms," he said. "It was a day of drama and feeling, of happiness and joy."

"I felt I was in an atmosphere of peace and tranquility, and I could sense the joy that filled the patrons' souls.

"After all the guests gathered in a sealing room, they would stand as the bride and groom were ushered into their presence. Just in front of me was a place provided where the newlyweds could sit until a sister directed them to the altar.

"I sensed the exciting spell of the moment. Some of life's precious memories were in the making. It seemed that heaven was there to offer its joy to families who have the gospel in their lives to turn their hearts to God.

"I felt a great anchor of strength – there was much that day to illuminate our way and light up the darkness." – John L. Hart

(Another in a series of "Temple Moments." Illustration by Deseret News artist Reed McGregor.)