After Four Hundred Names
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“After Four Hundred Names,” Tambuli, Aug.–Sept. 1986, 19

After Four Hundred Names

Mother helped me into the house to dry my injured hand and put on a clean bandage.

A few weeks before I became 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 beautiful St. George 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 tin can. I begged Mother not to take me to the doctor to have the wound stitched together, so she cleaned my hand, applied a bandage, covered that with adhesive tape, and then wrapped everything 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 for the confirmation. 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 we would work our way through another batch of names.

As I returned home, exhausted, Mother spotted the dripping wet gauze on my hand and helped me into the bathroom to re-dress the wound. I was so tired and hungry 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 adhesive tape, and finally the 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.

Illustrated by David Linn