Influence of temple service pervades extended family

A family tradition of faithful temple service is a perpetual flame of righteous influence that shines through generations, as shown by the experience of Oral L. and Tacy C. Ballam.

On Sept. 1, the Ballams were released as president and matron of the Logan Temple.They find special meaning in President Howard W. Hunter's words that Latter-day Saints should establish the temple "as the great symbol of their membership." (See June 11, 1994, Church News, pp. 3, 14.) For Brother and Sister Ballam, their ancestors and their extended family, the Logan Temple is an especially brilliant symbol.

It "stands majestically as a beacon on the hill," Brother Ballam said in an interview not long after his release. "Its stalwart walls and beautiful grounds are an invitation for all to come and be perfected within its hallowed halls, to be taught, to serve and to worship."

Sister Ballam's grandparents supported the building of the temple, and her parents, George and Tacy Toolson Chambers, were born in Smithfield, near Logan, soon after it was dedicated in May 1884. They were sealed there in 1914, and from 1952, served in the Logan Temple together as officiators for 16 years. Their six daughters and two sons followed in their footsteps, most serving as officiators in the temple with their spouses.

As for Brother Ballam, his great-grandfather and grandfather helped haul the stone to build the temple. "My grandfather was only a lad, 13 years old," he said.

Brother Ballam chuckled as he recalled the time when President Spencer W. Kimball telephoned his father, also named Oral L. Ballam, to call him to serve in the temple presidency. Both father and son were prominent in Cache Valley, with the son serving as dean of the College of Education at Utah State University.

The father thought there was some confusion and told President Kimball, "I think you want to talk to my son." The prophet assured him he had the right man.

"Do you know how old I am?" he asked. President Kimball's quick rejoinder was, "Do you know how old I am?"

Oral and Tacy's posterity continue to prize their temple legacy. They have five children and 23 grandchildren. "Our grandchildren now come back and point to it and say this is where Mommy and Daddy were married," he said. "It's an anchor."

The Ballams received the legacy when they were children. "We grew up hearing our parents' stories, their faith in the temple work, the bonding that they had with the spirit of service and with the temple officiators," Brother Ballam said.

Thus, Brother and Sister Ballam recommend that parents instill the legacy in their own children by talking about the temple frequently and in a positive manner.

"Everything we do should be in preparation to attending the temple," he said, "because it's in the temple that we are sealed together as families. It's where covenants are entered into and we receive everything that's necessary for us to attain that joyful condition."

In a day when many new temples are being constructed, the Ballams affirm that a temple by its very presence influences a community positively.

"The exterior architecture is beautiful, and that symbolizes the spiritual beauty inside," he said.

"Our temple tradition has been grand and glorious and has built the testimonies, we are sure, of our family, immediate and extended. I'm sure that will happen wherever a temple is built. It almost becomes the center of the community."