While on his honeymoon in 1979, Marcus B. Nash received word that he could spend his BYU summer vacation working on the construction of the Seattle Washington Temple, announced a year earlier.
One day, from the roof of the temple, he asked the construction foreman a simple question: “How strong is this temple anyway?”
So strong, the foreman answered, that it “will stand for at least 1,000 years.”
Since that day, Elder Nash, newly called to the First Quorum of the Seventy, has seen the strength of that temple in more ways than just its construction. As an attorney, husband, father, bishop, stake president, and Area Seventy, the temple has offered him and the thousands he has served in Washington strength and direction.
The temple, he is sure, has also helped the Church grow in the community in which he has lived since his youth.
Marcus Nash was born March 26, 1957, in Seattle, Wash. — where his father, Brent Nash, attended dental school and then settled with his wife, Beverly, to raise their two sons and three daughters.
While in dental school, the Nashes met another Latter-day Saint family from Utah, A. Lloyd and Melba Moffat Hatch. The families became friends, and just before Marcus entered third grade, his parents moved to the Hatches’ neighborhood.
On moving day, a young Marcus — excited over an electric garage door opener that reminded him of a “space hanger” — spent his time riding his bike from the street to the garage, pretending he was piloting a space ship. Unfortunately, he wasn’t watching the road and was hit by a car. Sustaining only minor scratches, Marcus was picked up by Melba Hatch. She took him home and tended to his wounds.
That was her daughter Shelley’s first memory of her future husband.
The family later joked that Sister Hatch had “saved ” her future son-in-law for her daughter.
“We grew up as neighbors and friends,” said Sister Nash of the man she married May 29, 1979, in the Salt Lake Temple.
Marcus and Shelley remember their youth fondly, playing with other children in the neighborhood and attending Primary.
As a third grader, Marcus was playing with a group of boys when he left to go to Primary. A boy in the group questioned Marcus’ desire to attend a religious class. The boy told Marcus that his church could not be true.
Marcus remembers pondering, for the first time, the truthfulness of his religion. “How do I know my church is true when he thinks his church is true?” he questioned.
He sat on his front porch, put his head in his hands and a compelling thought entered his mind: “You know Joseph Smith was a prophet of God,” he thought. “Then you know the Church is true.”
His doubts of the Church were erased and from that time his testimony — supplemented by family home evening and family prayer — grew.
Elder Nash credits his parents, who “taught him in the nurture and admonition of the Lord,” for much of his success. In his youth, he also learned to love the scriptures and appreciate the power of prayer. The scriptures instruct and uplift and the Lord hears and answers prayers, he said.
“Having grown up with him, I saw how he lived his life,” said Sister Nash of her husband. Even in high school, she said, a love of people and the Lord characterized his service.
When Marcus returned from the El Salvador San Salvador Mission in 1978, the couple became more than friends, dated and soon became engaged.
Elder Nash’s father told him it was time to look at his talents and skill sets and choose a career. He chose law school at BYU, a hard experience that provided him with “a fine education.”
After graduation, the Nashes returned to Seattle, where Elder Nash found employment with a prominent law firm in the area. There they have countless memories of giving Church service and raising their family of five children. Despite a busy career, Elder Nash found time to sea kayak, hike, backpack, ski, camp and travel with his family. Often the family enjoyed small trips. They just “got in the car and drove,” said Elder Nash. Most important, he said, the family “liked to laugh.”
He also enjoyed working with the youth in the area; on many occasions more than 30 teens visited the Nash home for ice cream after stake dances.
Spending time with the youth reminds Elder Nash of his own youth in Seattle — where he has witnessed the growth of the Church during his lifetime.
He often recalls attending the dedication of the Seattle Washington Temple on Nov. 17, 1980. His father had served as chairman of the local temple committee.
“It was a glorious experience to be at the dedication” of a temple he helped construct. A temple where he witnessed first-hand the quality of construction materials and has seen the quality impact in the lives of Church members.