Left behind at the Temple

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Jesus at age 12 teaching at the templeBY T.F. STERN
The Moral Liberal

A couple of years ago while I was working at the Houston Texas Temple in the Baptistery a large youth group came by to do vicarious ordinance work for their kindred dead. One young man, age 12, was attending the temple for his first time and was a bit embarrassed when, during his turn to do baptisms, he got water up his nose causing his sinus cavities to drain uncontrollably. This was near the end of his group’s visit and when the young man came out of the dressing room he was alarmed, almost in a panic as he looked around and found he was alone in the Baptistery.

He’d concluded that while he’d spent an inordinate amount of time in the dressing room, that perhaps his group had gone on without him, leaving him to find a way home. There was a momentary look of despair which caused me to step up to the challenge.

I explained to him that one time in the distant past another young boy about his same age had accidentally been left behind during a family trip to the temple. I mentioned that it was someone high up in the church that he’d probably heard of; waiting for him to gather his thoughts on who it might have been.

“Was it Thomas Monson”, he asked on his first guess?

“No, it was someone much higher”, I responded. You could see that my answer puzzled the young man; who would be higher than the President of the Church?

I then explained how Jesus had gone to the temple as a young man and while teaching the elders of Israel his family left him there by accident; but upon going a short distance realized his not being present so they immediately returned to find him with the learned men, expounding great truths with power and authority.

“So you’re in good company, now aren’t you?” The young man thought about what I’d said and the biggest smile came over him, his shoulders squared up and he no longer felt embarrassed for having lost control of his sinuses. An adult member of his group came from the outer foyer looking for him about that time. I wish I’d been able to take the young man down the hall to where the picture of the young Jesus teaching at the temple was hanging on the wall; but that area was restricted so it wasn’t to be.


T.F. SternThe Moral Lib­eral’s Senior Edi­tor, T.F. Stern,is a retired City of Hous­ton police offi­cer, self-employed lock­smith, and gifted polit­i­cal and social com­men­ta­tor. His pop­u­lar and insight­ful blog, T.F. Sterns Rant­i­ngs, has been up and at it since Jan­u­ary of 2005.

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