Monday, 24 December 2018

Gifts of the Spirit

From Uncle Ron:

Growing up I remember Mom (Ruth Evans Ackroyd) talking about an event when she and Grandma (Phoebe Longstroth Evans) and the other young women had gone to the Cardston Temple to act as proxies for baptisms for the dead.  As I understand it, in those days the young women and young men did not go together to perform proxy baptisms.  While waiting Mom’s turn in the baptistery Mom and Grandma heard a mixed chorus singing.  Mom asked Grandma if there were men in the temple that day other than those working in the baptistry, and Grandma assured her that no one else was there that day.  Then Grandma explained to Mom that what she heard were angelic choirs rejoicing in having their work done that day. 
 I always wanted hear heavenly choirs. 
I thought that they must have sounded like the Choir on Temple Square at their very best.
 Yesterday I was working my regular Saturday afternoon shift as an ordinance worker at the Cardston Temple.  It was about 3:30 – the last endowment session was just drawing to a close.  There were still a couple of families doing proxy sealings in the room just south of the Celestial Room and I and another brother were in the ‘pantry’ (the waiting area at the top of the stairs for workers waiting to officiate shortly at the veil) to officiate at the 3:45 veil.  As we sat there I heard the sound of a mixed acapella choir singing Angels We Have Heard on High fade in.  I could clearly discern the chorus of Gloria in excelsis deo(Glory to God in the Highest).  As I sat there the other brother asked me if I too could hear the choir singing.  I said yes, and that I was surprised because I couldn’t think what group would be singing in the chapel below.  I remember thinking that while the choir sounded good (they were singing my favorite Christmas Hymn after all) they were no Tabernacle Choir!  I don’t remember if I said that or only thought it.  As we talked, the sound of the choir slowly faded away.
 After our work at the veil I went back downstairs where I met President Nelson (the 2nd Councillor in the temple presidency) and I asked if there had been a choir in the temple that afternoon.  His reply was to the effect that if I had heard a choir, it had to be an angelic choir, as there was no other in the temple that day.
 I have though much about the incident in the past 24 hours.  The choir sounded like any group that you might hear in a Sacrament Meeting – nice, but nothing special.  As I have cogitated regarding what I heard, the prompting came that just because we die, we don’t suddenly obtain ‘angelic’ singing voices.  There is no reason to suppose that the men and women celebrating having their temple work and sealings finally being completed yesterday afternoon were anything other than just normal people (spirits) with normal voices praising the Lord in heart and voice.
 It may be that the angelic choir singing in the night sky above the plains of Judea on the April night so long ago were all destined to come down to earth and sing with the Choir on Temple Square or be recording artists.  Maybe only the best voices were allowed in that choir.  And maybe the Hosts of Heaven that night were just the spirits of those who were foreordained to be normal people, who were so excited by the unfolding of the Father’s Plan that they could not contain themselves, or be contained by the veil, as they shouted and sang Glory to God in the Highest, Peace on Earth, Good Will to men.
 I am thankful that I was not the only one to hear the choir yesterday in the temple, so I know it was no just my imagination.
I am thankful for the tender mercy of being able to hear that angel choir, and for the added grace of being able to comprehend what I heard.
I leave you this testimony, in the name of Jesus Christ.  Amen.

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