“A Matter of Sacrifice,” Ensign, Oct. 1986, 60–61
Following the dedication of the Los Angeles Temple, Church members from our area enthusiastically organized temple excursions. We lived in the San Francisco Bay area, a distance of about 450 miles from the temple. There were also excursions for the youth, who performed baptisms for the dead. Chartered buses would leave our chapel on Friday evening, travel all night, and arrive in Los Angeles early Saturday morning. The young people would spend Saturday in the temple, then return early Sunday morning, having traveled through the night. In this way, the group could perform several hundred baptisms in a weekend.
Our bishop encouraged the youth in the ward to earn money themselves to pay for transportation costs. Our daughter Annette earned hers by babysitting.
Annette had studied flute for several years. One of her goals was to excel in the local high school band, which had earned a reputation for excellence in our area. In a fever of excitement at the beginning of each school year, auditions were held and students placed according to skill and talent. Annette was placed third in a section of eight. How her eyes sparkled as she brought this news home from school!
The reason for the band’s success became apparent when the band director declared to his students, “Band participation must take top priority in your life. There will be no excused absences for concerts or marching band activities, except for extreme illness or a drastic emergency.”
All went well for several weeks. During that time, the band made preparations for the first concert.
Meanwhile, plans were under way for the youth temple excursion. And then the band director announced the date of the concert; it was the same date as the excursion.
When Annette came home from school she was dismayed. “Mom, what will I do?” she moaned. “I have to make a choice. It isn’t a choice between good and evil, because both projects are good. But which one is more important?”
I knew the choice must be hers, but as her mother I wanted so much to give her wise counsel. I had every confidence that Annette would choose the right if she could understand what was right.
The next morning at breakfast, Annette told me she would be fasting that day prior to telling her teacher that she had decided to go to the temple. When she came from school, one look revealed the outcome of that conference.
“Mother,” she said, as the tears began to fall, “He didn’t understand at all. I tried to explain that as much as I valued my place in the band and appreciated what he had done for me, our religion comes first in our family. He was angry. He said that someone else could go to the temple in my place, but no one could replace me in the band. ‘Make your choice, Annette,’ he said. ‘You can’t be a member of my band if you go.’ Then he walked out and closed the door.”
I held her close and promised her that she would be blessed for choosing what she knew was right, and for living her testimony.
It was my turn to carpool the Primary children the eight-mile drive to our chapel, so I invited Annette to come along so we could discuss the problem on the way. “Please, Heavenly Father,” I prayed as I backed out of our driveway, “help my daughter understand what she should do.”
As we approached the chapel I suddenly felt the strong influence of the Spirit. To my mind came the following words: “It is necessary that she go to the temple under conditions of sacrifice. The strength of her testimony will influence those for whom the baptisms are performed.”
So she went to the temple under conditions of sacrifice. She was at peace with her decision.
Upon arrival in Los Angeles the group enjoyed a pancake breakfast, but Annette remained in the bus and prayed that her presence in the temple would prove a blessing to those for whom the baptisms would be done. As the baptisms were performed and she descended into the water time after time, she felt a sweet spirit of peace and joy. Then, suddenly, she experienced an overwhelming love—and a reaching out—as the one performing the baptisms exclaimed, “This person was born more than four hundred years ago!” She bore testimony silently as the water closed over her.
A few days following the temple excursion, she returned to band practice. She found that her teacher had moved all flutists ahead so that the only place left was at the end of the section. She quietly slipped into that place. He distributed music, but none to her. It was as if he didn’t see her at all. She played from the music of the student next to her the remainder of the school year. The teacher spoke to her only once, and that was to inform her that she was not to participate in concerts or other special events.
We found other ways for Annette to experience fulfillment with music. Arrangements for her to study with a professor of music at the local college provided a means of progress that had been denied her at school, and other opportunities to participate opened to her.
As she practiced in her room in the evenings, I heard the melodious strains of “I’ll Go Where You Want Me to Go,” “Choose the Right,” and “Come, Come Ye Saints,” with its poignant encouragement of “All is well, all is well” echoing through our hearts.
Since that time Annette has graduated from college and been married in the temple. She has four lovely little girls and one son of her own who are learning to treasure and live the truths of the gospel through the example of a mother and father who give top priority to the kingdom of God.