Thursday, February 10, 2011

Temple Mirrors of Eternity

This entry is part of my general conference application series.

Temple Mirrors of Eternity: A Testimony of Family, by Gerrit W. Gong
Of the Seventy

Strawberry ice cream. Every time I see or think of strawberry ice cream I'm reminded of my grandfather; he was a big fan of ice cream (as am I). Elder Gong spoke of his grandfather and how he would tickle his boyhood imagination with sayings like "Blackberries when red are green." Here's a picture that may help (I had to think on this before I understood what it meant):

In relating the story of a young couple being sealed in the temple, Elder Gong reminisced on the mirrors found in the sealing rooms of our temples. Mirrors are placed on opposite walls; "together the temple mirrors reflect back and forth images that stretch seemingly into eternity."

These are the temple mirrors of eternity, which is the title of his talk. The visual illustration of eternity afforded by the temple mirrors reminds of many things, including the eternal nature of families, stretching in long, unbroken chains. Elder Gong mentioned First Dragon Gong—not only a person with a great middle name, but his 32-times-great-grandfather! My family history isn't up-to-date that far back. Reminiscing on his family history, he said:

In temple mirrors of eternity, I could not see a beginning or end of generations.

With this long family chain in mind, Elder Gong imagined family connections and family relationships in two directions. He thought of himself and the titles associated with the end of hte chain: son, grandson, great-grandson, and so on. From the other direction, he thought of the chain extending from himself: father, grandfather, great-grandfather, and so on.

I liked this way of picturing family history. I think that too often I consider myself as the end of the line—the product of the many who have gone before. While this is right in some ways, it adds a new dimension and responsibility to consider the generations that may extend beyond (and from) me. In this pedigree image, I purposely put the middle couple (father and mother) in the center. I thought of my wife and myself, both the products of many excellent examples, and both striving to likewise teach our children that they might be better than we have been.

I like the temple mirrors of eternity, and that seeing through them, we "find ourselves home, pure and clean, [with] our family generations sealed by priesthood authority in love."

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