A Temple Experience

BY T.F. STERN

My friend David Nell asked if I’d share an experience regarding the Temple, something that could be described as a life altering moment.  There have been several ‘Temple Moments’; but this evening I’ll focus on only one of them.

About 13 years ago my friend Richard Sutton was President of the Houston Temple.  He was also a member of my home Ward and so we often got to visit in the hall after meetings.  He mentioned a change of policy for Temple Ordinance Workers that had gone into effect Church-wide.  Men were no longer to sport facial hair like mustaches or beards; instead, they were to present themselves clean shaven, much as young missionaries serving a full-time mission.

In that moment, the conversation registering in my mind, I had to consider how I’d react to being asked to shave off my mustache and beard, something I’d enjoyed for quite some time.  I wasn’t a Temple Worker; but there was something in the way the conversation was going, a tone in President Sutton’s voice that hinted that he wanted to hear my response.

I remember pausing before answering as I considered how unimportant, in the scheme of things, how unimportant my beard and mustache were.  I’d accidentally shaved off most of my beard when I got careless with the razor; but it grew back in a short time. 

“Not an issue, Sir”, I remember addressing him as if he were my commanding officer in the military.  “I’d shave it off, if asked”.  He nodded and I couldn’t say if the conversation continued at the time.  But, I did go home and shave off my mustache and beard to prove to myself that they really weren’t that important, that I would still be me with or without the facial hair.

Several days went by and we were sitting on the sofa watching a movie when my son looked over at me and asked, “Did you get a hair cut; you look different for some reason?”  Nobody had noticed I’d shaved my beard and mustache; that’s interesting and worth noting.

A couple of weeks went by and my Bishop asked me to step into his office. Apparently President Sutton had requested I become a Temple Ordinance Worker, sent over the required form and wanted to know if I’d accept that calling.  I’ve been working at the Houston Temple ever since, a little over 13 years now. 

I did grow some facial hair for about a month during the Temple closing due to the COVID 19 Virus; but decided that I’m better off with a smooth face, having an industrial grade broom on my lip isn’t stylish and it itched something fierce.


t-f-stern-1Self-Educated American, Senior Edi­tor, T.F. Stern is both a retired City of Hous­ton police offi­cer and, most recently, a retired self-employed lock­smith (after serving that industry for 40 plus years). He is also a gifted polit­i­cal and social com­men­ta­tor. His pop­u­lar and insight­ful blog, T.F. Sterns Rant­i­ngs, has been up and at it since January of 2005.


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