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Sheri Dew: We may ask for and expect to receive miracles

‘He has always been, and will always be, a God of miracles,’ writes Sheri Dew after the St. George temple rededication  

I have been to more than my share of temple dedications. Every one of them — every single one — has been memorable and meaningful and has spurred me on to try and be better. In some cases, because of circumstances surrounding that particular temple, the dedications have been truly unforgettable. President Gordon B. Hinckley’s dedication of the Hong Kong Temple was one of those for me. That is where I first took note of a phrase he said often: “Go forward with faith.”

Another distinctive experience was President Russell M. Nelson’s rededication of the iconic Washington D.C. Temple that rises majestically out of the beltway looping the United States’ capital city. President Nelson attended the original dedication in 1974 as President Spencer W. Kimball’s doctor, so his memories of that sacred edifice were fascinating.

President Jeffrey R. Holland’s rededication of the  St. George Utah Temple this past weekend was another unforgettable temple experience. That President Holland was able to preside over this rededication at all was a miracle in and of itself. We — meaning the Church collectively — nearly lost him earlier this year. But there he was, speaking with both tenderness and spiritual power, in a house of the Lord that means so much to him, his beloved wife, Pat, and his entire family. Five generations of Hollands have been sealed in the St. George temple.

President Jeffrey R. Holland, acting president of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, center, stands outside the St. George Utah Temple on Sunday, Dec. 10, 2023, with, from left, Elder Brian K. Taylor, a General Authority Seventy, and Sister Jill Taylor; Elder Kevin R. Duncan, a General Authority Seventy and executive director of the Temple Department, and Sister Nancy Duncan; Elder Matthew S. Holland, a General Authority Seventy, and Sister Paige Holland; and Presiding Bishop Gérald Caussé and Sister Valérie Caussé.  | Leslie Nilsson, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

So, it is not just Moroni who can declare without equivocation that “God has not ceased to be a God of miracles” (Moroni 9:15). Each of us who witnessed President Holland presiding over the St. George temple rededication saw the “marvelous works of God”— meaning, we saw a miracle.

But that is just the beginning.

In President Holland’s remarks prior to offering the dedicatory prayer, he recited some of the hardship and pure anguish those early pioneers endured just to build what would become the first temple dedicated in the Utah territory.

The intense summer heat was life-threatening, the water often polluted and the soil bad. And that was just for starters. There were rattlesnakes, swarms of mosquitoes, coyotes, Gila monsters and ground water on the temple site that threatened to foil any attempt at a firm foundation.

But somehow those early pioneers sent to tame the forbidding southern Utah desert ultimately achieved their goal. One can only imagine how many miracles, not to mention legions of angels, it took to help those indomitable early Saints settle St. George and actually build a pioneer temple. There were no doubt miracles aplenty.

St. George Utah Temple is pictured in this 2023 handout photo. | The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

Thus, perhaps the reason the rededication of this temple touched me so deeply is because it is a living monument to the reality of miracles. The miracle that it was ever constructed in the first place. The miracle of the Restoration of the gospel that blesses us with temples and the eternal promises made there. The miracle of the restoration of the priesthood, that makes the ministering of angels, personal revelation and every saving ordinance performed in the temple a living, breathing reality. The miracle of faith represented by the hundreds of thousands of faithful Saints who have worshipped and served in the St. George temple since its original dedication in 1877. The miracle that a beloved prophet, seer and revelator was healed by the Lord such that he could preside over the dedication that means so much to him, his family and the Saints in St. George, who feel a special kinship with him. And the miracle of knowledge, revelation, power and peace that each of us can experience every time we enter the doors of any House of the Lord.

Sometimes it may be tempting to think that, sure, the Lord blesses His chosen servants or the pioneers or others who seem unusually deserving with miracles. But we’re not always so sure about ourselves. President Nelson has counseled each of us, however, to “expect miracles.” And perhaps nothing on earth better represents the hope and promise of heavenly help than does the temple.

A detail of the entrance of the St. George Utah Temple of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is shown on Sunday, Dec. 10, 2023. | Nick Adams, for the Deseret News

We always think of Christmas as a season of miracles, as well we should. Christmas allows us to rejoice in Jesus Christ, the Giver of gifts. Nowhere is Jesus Christ more present than in His holy house.

During this season of giving, may we first thank Jesus Christ for the miracle of His atoning sacrifice and the Restoration of His gospel. And as we enter the sacred doors of His House, may we ask for and expect to receive miracles.

For He has always been, and will always be, a God of miracles.  

— Sheri Dew is executive vice president and chief content officer of Deseret Management Corp., parent company of the Deseret News.

Related Stories
President Holland rededicates St. George Utah Temple; ‘I consider this one of the sweetest and most rewarding assignments I have had’
The story of the original dedication of the St. George temple — ‘a beautiful testimony of faith’
An inside look at the newly renovated St. George Utah Temple

 

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