Young Women General President Bonnie H. Cordon recently discovered a personal connection to the construction of the Salt Lake Temple.
One of the 400 coins excavated from the time capsule in the temple’s capstone is inscribed with the name of 17-year-old Alice Hillam, her grandfather’s first cousin. Alice’s family attended the Salt Lake 10th Ward and likely lived near 400 South.
“Alice Hillam wanted to be part of history and contribute to the temple time capsule. She sought to be in holy places,” President Cordon told the Church News. “I can learn much from Alice. Are my simple offerings found in holy places? Do I seek for ways to be a part of building the kingdom of God? Am I focused on eternity?”
The Salt Lake Temple has “always been dear” to President Cordon. Her parents were sealed in that temple, and she fulfilled her lifelong dream of being sealed there. Finding a deeper connection to the temple through Alice has made the temple even more special, she said.
“Her example, symbolized by her coin, has strengthened me,” President Cordon said. “I am sure she never thought a family member, generations later, would hold her coin or that people all over the world would know about her simple offering.”
President Cordon identified a few lessons that can be gleaned from Alice, her coin and her desire to follow the Savior — one personal lesson and the others applicable to all.
Heavenly Father knows us
The Young Women general presidency recently searched for stories of youth connected to the Salt Lake Temple construction and dedication. Emily Utt, historic sites curator for the Church, casually mentioned they found a coin in the time capsule from a 17-year-old girl named Alice Hillam.
“I leaned forward in disbelief,” said President Cordon, recounting the story to the Church News. “Did she really say the last name Hillam?” Utt confirmed the spelling, “H-I-L-L-A-M.”
Sister Michelle Craig, first counselor in the Young Women general presidency, chimed in. “Did you know Sister Cordon’s maiden name is Hillam?” Utt had no idea. They were all shocked.
“There was this immediate sense of connection — a sweet confirmation that Heavenly Father not only knew Alice, but He knew me and was guiding both of us in our faithful efforts to serve Him,” President Cordon said. “It felt like I had discovered a great treasure.”
Your offering is enough
Another lesson President Cordon has learned from Alice is that of “simple offerings.” Alice’s name engraved on the coin shows she gave thought to her offering. “Even in its simplicity, she went to the effort to offer her best,” President Cordon said.
“Our simple offering in this vast world is enough,” she continued. “We are enough. We may never know the impact of our actions and our service, but when we willingly offer what we have, the Lord will magnify our offering. He will bless us and others through our effort.”
Be anxiously engaged in the Lord’s work
Alice is also an example of being anxiously engaged in the Lord’s work, President Cordon said. “We have a purpose on this earth. Never give up an opportunity to testify of Christ. Alice wanted to be part of this holy work. Her simple coin is a testimony that she believed and desired to do what she could to make a difference.
“We too can put in our time and energy in building and contributing to the Lord’s kingdom. Let’s move forward and toss our coin into the work. It can and will make a difference.”