By the Light of Their Faith
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“By the Light of Their Faith,” Ensign, Oct. 1996, 53–54

By the Light of Their Faith

The lights went out as I was walking from the Ogden (Utah) Temple cafeteria to the baptistry. I had stopped by after work that day to enjoy my Thursday evening assignment of assisting with baptisms for the dead. In the temple basement we were unaware of a sudden storm that raged outside and downed major power lines supplying the business area with electricity.

Emergency lights went on quickly in a few areas of the temple, but they did not give us enough light for our work in the baptistry. Maintenance people found several flashlights, and the afternoon workers were able to finish the last of the confirmations. The font area was completely dark, however, so further baptisms would be out of the question.

Our first group of evening proxies had arrived just before the power failure and were waiting quietly in their white baptismal clothing. As we waited for word about the possible length of the power failure, a second group arrived. Usually the baptistry was one of the warmest, most cheerful areas of the temple. The quiet voices of the temple workers would blend with the muted whispers of enthusiastic young proxies. But now the dimness seemed to cloak everyone’s cheer.

Then one of the sister workers approached our supervisor. The young proxies had suggested that we meet together for prayer to ask the Lord to restore the power. We were impressed by their faith and quickly agreed.

Soon we were kneeling together, proxies and workers, and listening to the words of an inspired prayer that asked our Father in Heaven to remember those who had waited so long for this work to be done in their behalf. It was a touching, peaceful experience. As we stood, a temple worker who had been sent to check about the power failure stepped into the room to announce that it would be four to five hours before the power would be restored. This gloomy news hardly had time to register, however, before the lights suddenly came on. Gratefully, we continued our evening’s work.

That night as I left the temple grounds, I noticed that much of the Ogden business district was still dark. The experience in the temple took on new meaning when I passed power company crews working on high-voltage lines only a few blocks from the temple. But it was another week before a better understanding came to me about what had happened that night.

Riding a shuttle bus one workday at Hill Air Force Base, near Ogden, I overheard two men nearby talking about the power failure of the week before. One man had a son who, as a worker for the power company, had gone to a power substation some distance from the broken lines. Some obviously older and unused switching equipment in a corner of the substation caught his attention. Upon quickly checking substation drawings, he discovered that the equipment had been bypassed—but never disconnected—during the installation of newer equipment. If the switches were activated, power should flow through another line into a small area of the downtown business district—including the area where the temple stood.

As I listened to the conversation, I realized that the discovery of the older equipment had come at about the same time we had been kneeling in the temple with a group of young proxies who were filled with a pure, vital faith and who had been asking their Father in Heaven for a restoration of electrical power. Our prayer had been heard and answered in a way none of us could have appreciated at the time. I was grateful that our Father in Heaven would respond to a prayer of faith and to the heartfelt desire of a group of young proxies who wanted only to be of service to departed brothers and sisters.

  • Rodney Nelson serves as a counselor in the Young Men presidency of the Hurricane Third Ward, Hurricane Utah Stake.