Christmas memories: Christmas memories: United in true faith

Twenty-seven years after first hearing about the Church, Mirsad Kafedzic of Zagreb, Yugoslavia, was baptized on May 15, 1999. About a year later, he traveled to the Frankfurt Germany Temple to perform baptisms for the dead for his family.

"When we entered the temple, that dignified silence and peace, the feeling of the Holy Ghost and a big picture of Jesus Christ helped me settle my excitement," he said. "Through all that peace, I felt all the purity and sacredness of the temple."

A few minutes later, he entered the baptistry where "that act of baptism for my father and grandfather caused me to feel that I would be with them for one second, and then for eternity. Overwhelming peace filled my heart." Those feelings in his heart, he said, became a "beautiful memory" as had his first visit to a temple 15 years earlier when, as a non-member, he visited Salt Lake City, Utah. Friends took him to Temple Square to see the Christmas lights.

"I found myself in a crowd of happy smiling faces, full of warmth," he recalled. "Never before had I been in a festive atmosphere with so many unknown people, but at the same time so close to me.

"I knew that all these people were united in their true faith and love for Jesus Christ, which they so unselfishly shared with others. I felt the presence of the Holy Ghost as everyone else did."

Attending the Christmas concert in the Tabernacle, the young visitor "watched the people during opening prayer. Their spirit and dignity really touched my heart, and I had only great respect for all of them. I was happy and proud to have such friends."

Seeing the magnificent Salt Lake Temple was a particularly spiritual experience for him.

"The temple, the decorated trees, even the fence itself had a special atmosphere on that silent cold, Christmas night. I knew even then that the temple is the House of the Lord where the most sacred ordinances are performed. Watching all of these people, I felt how much that temple meant to all of them. The enormous sacredness which they held for the temple shined in their faces and lived in their hearts."

Illustration by John Clark