“Friedrichsdorf, a Hallowed Refuge,” Ensign, Sept. 1990, 54–55
When we were called in 1987 to serve in the Frankfurt Germany Temple, President Thomas S. Monson set my husband, Rudi W. B. Mueller, apart as a counselor in the temple presidency. Then he set me apart as assistant matron. The experience was both comforting and powerful. The words of Proverbs 3:5 came into my mind: “Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding.” [Prov. 3:5] Never before had any passage of scripture spoken to me with such power.
When we arrived in the small town of Friedrichsdorf, where the temple is located, we felt much joy at the opportunity to serve in our native land and speak our native tongue. Though the temple was still under construction, we felt a great sense of reverence as we toured the site.
Concurrent with our arrival, the town of Friedrichsdorf was celebrating its founding three hundred years earlier. The town’s officials welcomed us in the city hall and presented us with a written history of Friedrichsdorf. I was fascinated as I read that the founders of the town had come from France seeking refuge from religious persecution. They had been known as “Huguenots” by their persecutors who also cried, “Change your beliefs or you will be driven out.” Even in such threatening situations, the Huguenots had remained true to their goal “to obey God more than man.” Finally, on 13 March 1687, Count Friedrich II of Hessen-Homburg gave these “fugitives” refuge in his territory. Originally, the Huguenots named their town “Nouveau Village” (New Village) but later changed its name to Friedrichsdorf in gratitude to Count Friedrich II.
These were a people with impressive skills in the weaving of wool products. Their craftsmanship was apparent in everything they did. They built a chapel and called it a temple—with the hope of a greater fulfillment of their eternal desires in seeking the truth.
As I read of these people, I thought how much they resembled our own Latter-day Saint pioneers. I came to love them and developed a desire to locate and view their records. However, when I did find them, I was not able to research them. Besides, they were written in French. I began looking for somebody who could help. After a number of frustrated attempts to find someone to help, I located the town librarian, who introduced me to the man who was in charge of the archives in Friedrichsdorf. Without asking or saying much, this man showed my husband and me a book about the people of Friedrichsdorf. It was organized by families and contained the complete names, dates, and locations of all the births, marriages, and deaths from 1687 to 1900.
As we held this book, the Spirit bore witness to us that many of these men and women, now on the other side of the veil, had prayed that their names would be found and that their temple work would be performed. Now, three hundred years after they had founded their city of refuge, their prayers would be answered.
The love I felt for those people literally pushed me to type the information onto family group sheets in every spare moment I could find. Later, two temple missionaries, Helen Hechtle and Ingeborg Fassmann, assisted me in preparing these names for temple work. From the time the Frankfurt Temple was dedicated on 28 August 1987 to our release in the spring of 1989, we completed 1,666 family group sheets. Work for 5,002 endowments and 1,651 marriage sealings had also been approved.
In our hearts and in our minds, my husband and I know that Friedrichsdorf is a hallowed place founded by a chosen people. How appropriate that their temple work would be done in the same city where they had found refuge.