Asia Area Leader Message
Chung Hei Patrick Wong, Hong Kong China Temple President
In the Articles of Faith, 'We believe that through the Atonement of Christ, all mankind may be saved, by obedience to the laws and ordinances of the Gospel.'1
When we were living in Sydney (from 1987 to 1991), my father who was in Hong Kong, passed away in April of 1988, and my mother passed away one year later. At the end of my mother’s funeral, my sister, Lai Yee, my brother, Chung Chiu, and I discussed performing the temple ordinances of endowment and sealing for our parents, who had been baptized in 1970 but had not had the opportunity to go to the temple. Although it would be easier for me to perform the ordinances in the Sydney temple, my brother preferred to do it in Chinese for our parents and volunteered that he and his wife would do their work in the Taipei Temple, which being an hour flight from Hong Kong, was the closest temple at the time.
A few months after I returned to Sydney, my wife woke me up one night and said to me, “I have just had a dream. I saw your mother who was very unhappy, sitting alone. I then asked her, ‘Grandma, why are you so unhappy?’ She said to me, ‘Chung Chiu has promised to take care of me but he has not.’ I then said to her, ‘grandma, if Chung Chiu does not take care of you, then Patrick and I will take care of you. I then woke up.” I was very surprised to hear about her dream but did not understand it at the time.
A few weeks later, my wife had another dream. She said, ”I saw your father, he said to me in a hurry, ‘go and tell Chung Hei that I have to get married immediately, tell him, tell him.’” After my wife told me about this dream, I began to realize something … I immediately called my brother and asked if he had done the endowment and sealing for our parents. He told me that he had not been able to go to the Taiwan Temple because his wife had been sick for quite some time. After our discussion over the phone, I decided to do the temple work for my parents with my wife in the Sydney Australia Temple.
Within two weeks, my wife and I performed all the temple ordinances including sealing for my parents, my grandparents, great grandparents and my deceased brother and sister in the Sydney Australia Temple.
Finally in 1996, having worked with three other Church members who have the same last name of Wong, we were able to complete our family history up to 2200 B.C., up to the first ancestor who was knighted by the emperor and was granted the kingdom of Wong. We then submitted all their names to the Hong Kong China Temple.
All these experiences made me realize the urgency and importance of carrying out the plan of salvation for our ancestors, and how much our ancestors rely on us to help them, and how much we need them as well, to turn our hearts to the temple.
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints affirms that the plan of salvation is not bound by the grave, but that the gospel is deathless and everlasting, reaching back into the ages that have gone and forward into the eternities of the future.2 The Plan of Salvation is not for the living only but also for the dead who did not have a chance to receive it in this life. The restoration of the building of temples has provided this opportunity to the dead.
Never Too Old or Too Weak to Serve
My wife and I served in the Brisbane Australia Temple as temple ordinance workers for three years before we were called to serve in the Hong Kong China Temple. At that temple, I witnessed the love and care of members towards their ancestors.
John Jeffreys, an elderly member, always spent his entire Wednesday mornings in the Brisbane temple by attending endowment sessions and sealings. One morning, I went down to the car park to pick him up with the wheel chair. As usual, once he entered into the changing room, he liked to walk without the wheel chair. So I held his arm to walk with him slowly. Suddenly, looking at me, John started singing the chorus of the hymn, “I am a child of God” – ‘lead me, guide me, walk beside me, help me find the way.'3 His humor made me laugh. I was sure his service in the temple, given with such a positive attitude despite his own physical limitations, was appreciated by many souls on the other side of the veil.
From the examples of Brother Jeffreys and many other patrons, I understand that we will never be too old or too weak to rescue our ancestors by receiving temple blessings on their behalf.
Temple, House of the Lord
A temple is literally a house of the Lord, a holy sanctuary in which sacred ceremonies and ordinances of the gospel are performed by and for the living and also in behalf of the dead. A place where the Lord may come, it is the most holy of any place of worship on the earth. Only the home can compare with the temple in sacredness.4 In the temple, because of the nature of its sacredness, we could feel the Spirit abundantly there.
As we go through different rooms in the temple to perform different ordinances, we may understand the purpose of the temple:
The temple's baptismal font rests on the backs of twelve oxen (see 2 Chronicles 4:2-4), symbolically representing the twelve tribes of Israel. Following the Savior's example of selfless service, we can perform baptisms for our ancestors who died without receiving this ordinance.
In ordinance rooms an overview is given of God's plan for His children. Latter Day Saints learn of their pre-mortal and mortal lives, the creation of the world and the Fall of man, the central role of Jesus Christ as the Redeemer of all God's children, and the blessings they can receive in the next life.
The celestial room symbolizes the exalted and peaceful state that all may achieve through living the gospel of Jesus Christ. This room represents the contentment, inner harmony and peace available to eternal families in the presence of Heavenly Father and His Son, Jesus Christ.
In a sealing room, a bride and bridegroom are married not only for this life but also for eternity.5
During my three years of service in the Brisbane Australia Temple, I understood more about the atonement of Jesus Christ and the purpose of our lives than any other time in my life. Having served as the president of the Hong Kong China Temple for one year, I confirmed that the House of the Lord is watched over and guided by the Spirit of God. ■
Caption: President Chung Hei Patrick Wong
1 Articles of Faith 1:3.
2 See James E. Talmage, The House of the Lord: A Study of Holy Sanctuaries Ancient and Modern, (2013), 61.The House of the Lord: A Study of Holy Sanctuaries Ancient and Modern
3 'I am a Child of God,” Hymns, no. 301; emphasis added.Hymns
4 See Bible Dictionary, “Temple.”
5 Temples of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (booklet 2010) 61-66; “Things Pertaining to This House,” Ensign or Liahona, October 2010, 61-66.Temples of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints Ensign Liahona