MANTI, Utah — Miracles, angels and temples served as prevailing themes of devotional messages from Primary general president Sister Joy D. Jones, who recalled a word of advice from her predecessor.
"Joy, always watch for the miracles," said Sister Jones as she remembered former Primary general president Sister Rosemary M. Wixom.
"And I've never forgotten that," Sister Jones said, speaking at the first of two devotionals June 20 and 21 while in Manti, Utah. "I hope that as you're having these amazing experiences that may be sometimes a bit challenging, and you may get a bit tired, and you may be a little bit stretched to the limit ... that you are watching for the miracles."
Along with her first counselor Sister Lisa L. Harkness and members of the Primary General Board, Sister Jones visited Manti after hearing how local Primary children clean the Manti temple grounds every morning after The Mormon Miracle Pageant performances.
The June 20 meeting was held on the north side of the Manti Utah Temple before the evening's performance, where cast members in full costume gathered to hear her speak. After introducing those who came with her, Sister Jones told the cast that they would've arrived much earlier, but she went to her regular Temple and Family History Executive Council meeting — which lasted over three hours.
"I hope that's an indication to you of the love that President Nelson has for temples," she said. "Wonderful things are happening right now because the Lord is opening the heavens and pouring out wonderful revelation."
Sister Jones bore witness of the spirit that exists at the Manti temple — where she was married in August 1974 — and told cast members there were angels around them.
"I want you to know there are angels from across the veil that are with us as well," she said. "I have a feeling there are a lot of family members and friends of yours that are very, very aware of what you're doing, the sacrifice you're making to create this wonderful, faith-promoting experience."
She concluded with her testimony that every person is a child of Heavenly Father and He wants each person to come home, though that path will look different for everyone. Following the devotional, she spent over an hour meeting children and their families one by one.
"As we all journey along the covenant path, He will guide, direct, bless, challenge and stretch us, because that's what we're here for," she said. "That's what's so exciting about this life. Each day is a new surprise, a new challenge, a new opportunity."
The following morning, after local Primary children and their families cleaned the temple grounds from the previous night's pageant performance, Sister Jones spoke to those gathered for the service project, reiterating the importance of temples.
"Never, never take [the temple] for granted," she admonished, sharing the story of how as a young girl, she wrote "I will get married in the temple" on a piece of paper she still keeps many years later.
Asking the children in attendance about the ways they can prepare for baptism, Sister Jones also encouraged them to get to know their family on both sides of the veil.
"I want you to know, boys and girls, that … you have been promised that you will receive blessings of protection, blessings of power, blessings of the Spirit, as you participate in temple and family history [work]," she said.
She concluded with her testimony of Heavenly Father's love and His desire for each person to come home.
"I am taking a picture with my heart … of all of you and the opportunity that this is, the blessing this is to stand in the shadow of this glorious temple," she said. "As we work together as families and friends and neighbors ... we prepare for the glorious return of our Savior Jesus Christ.
"I know He's coming and I can hardly wait."