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Temple work - a capstone of service

After he was called as a counselor in the Presiding Bishopric 28 years ago, Elder Victor L. Brown said opportunities for service came to him "that I never could have dreamed of."

Elder Brown reflected on those years of service in his address Sunday afternoon. He served as counselor in the Presiding Bishopric for 11 years, Presiding Bishop for 13 years, and in the First Quorum of the Seventy for four years. He was given emeritus status on Saturday afternoon.During the nearly three decades since he was called as a General Authority, he served under Presidents David O. McKay, Joseph Fielding Smith, Harold B. Lee, Spencer W. Kimball and Ezra Taft Benson.

"Each of these five presidents under whom I have served as a General Authority has had his own personality and style; yet I testify that each is a prophet of God."

He continued that his experience as a General Authority changed the way he looked at others. "I have found that the measure of a man is not necessarily his title or his position but rather how he treats others - his peers, his supervisor, the cab driver, or the airline clerk after he had just missed an important connecting flight.

"This is particularly true in how a man treats those closest to him - his wife and children."

He paid tribute to his wife, Lois, who died Sept. 17. She had the major responsibility in rearing their children as he traveled on Church assignments, he noted.

Capping the 28 years as General Authority was the service he and his wife performed in the Salt Lake Temple, he related. He served as president of the Salt Lake Temple from June 1985 through August 1987. She served as temple matron.

"I had always intellectually understood and accepted the purposes and ordinances of the temple. But now I know to the depths of my being the joyous, peaceful spirit of that service.

"When we go with an attitude of worship and reverence for God and His son Jesus Christ, and with gratitude for the Savior's sacrifice, when we spend sufficient time to leave the cares of the world outside, wonderful things happen that cannot be described. The Spirit of the Lord distills upon one's soul in these holy houses, truly the most sacred places on earth," he said.

"A new perception comes into focus of who we are, what this life is really about, of the opportunities of eternal life and of our relationship with the Savior.

"Doing temple work is edifying, particularly work for kindred dead. You feel the gospel in action. You feel the love of God and the sense of the wonderful plan He made just for us, His children."

He observed, "At the conclusion of these 28 years, I testify of our Heavenly Father's love for us. The unconditional love the Father and the Son have for us is so real. The Savior continually invites us to `come unto him and partake of his goodness. . . .' " (2 Ne. 26:33.)

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