After Four Hundred Names …
February 1986

“After Four Hundred Names … ,” Ensign, Feb. 1986, 58

After Four Hundred Names …

A few weeks before I turned eight years old, my father was killed in a trucking accident. A month later, we moved to a new home in St. George, Utah, across the street from the large vacant field just east of the beautiful white temple.

Mother was soon called to be the stake genealogy secretary. Whenever a group assigned could not make it, a member of the temple presidency would call mother to ask if her sons could come to the temple to do baptisms for the dead. Mother never turned the Lord down. My two older brothers and I often went to the temple to do baptisms.

One summer’s day, I had cut my hand severely on an empty can. I begged Mother not to take me for stitches, so she cleaned the wound, applied a “butterfly” bandage, covered that with a band-aid, and then wrapped my hand in gauze.

No sooner had she finished than the telephone rang. It was the brethren from the temple, wanting us boys to come over to do baptisms. Because my two older brothers had been very busy lately, I had been going to the temple on a regular basis. I had by now compiled a lengthy list of baptisms for the dead that ran into thousands. Once again, my older brothers were not around, so I hurriedly bathed, dressed, and ran over to the temple.

Several hours and four hundred names later, Brother Edwards and I stopped for the night. I remember him well, his right arm to the square revealing a hand missing most of the fingers because of an accident he had had in his youth. After every baptism, he would carefully help me up into the stainless steel chair, where I was confirmed. After every twenty or thirty baptisms, Brother Edwards would look down at me and say, “Brother Fish, can you do some more?” I would answer yes, and away we would go.

As I drifted through the back door, exhausted, Mother spotted the dripping gauze on my hand and helped me into the bathroom to re-dress the wound. So tired and hungry that I just wanted to eat and sleep, I wasn’t paying attention to my hand. I let her unwrap the bandage.

The gauze came off first, then the band-aid, and finally the butterfly bandage. My mother looked shocked. I looked down. Not a trace of a cut remained—no scar, no redness, nothing!

I remember my mother quietly hugging me. As we cried together, sharing that moment, the Spirit bore witness to me that I had been healed because of my service in the temple of the Lord.

  • Jon B. Fish serves as a counselor in the Citrus Heights California Stake presidency.