In 1947, Carrol White and his new bride, Mary Ellen, moved to Grant's Pass, in Oregon's Rogue River Valley. There they attended a small branch. This unit was all that was left of what had been a larger branch founded when a a sugar beet factory had been built in Grants Pass by members from Utah. Unfortunately, the factory was later moved to Washington and the branch dwindled. However, a few of the members who had located there for the factory remained and kept the branch going all those years.
One of those old-timers and a former branch president was Charles Nash. At one class about temples that the Whites attended in February of 1947, Brother Nash was the teacher.
Brother Nash paused in his lesson to mention a subject that was dear to his heart. He told of a visit to the city in 1924 by Elder Melvin J. Ballard of the Quorum of the Twelve, a former president of the Northwestern States Mission from 1909-1919. While speaking at a conference at Grants Pass, Elder Ballard made a promise that a temple would someday be built in the Rogue River Valley. Over the next few years, the Whites heard about the promise from several other long-time members. As the years passed, the Whites passed the story along.
"I have told this story many times to my children and grandchildren," said Brother White, a dairy technician who is now retired. "I also mentioned to them that we probably wouldn't live to see that temple built."
In 1989 a temple was dedicated in Portland. When Brother White retired, he and his wife became temple workers. They now commute the 350 miles to Portland for one week a month and "so enjoy our time spent there."
But on March 21, 1999, the bishop of the Brookings Ward, Coos Bay Oregon Stake, where the Whites now live, said that he had received a letter from the First Presidency announcing that a temple would be built in Medford, the heart of the Rogue River Valley, just 28 miles from Grants Pass.
"We were so excited and so thrilled," Brother White said. "Now it appears to us that we probably will live to see that promise fulfilled. It is an added testimony to us that there are true living prophets on the earth."
Illustration by John Clark.