A brand new baby is an amazing event, but it's even more amazing when he or she is born inside an LDS temple. Check out these four unbelievable stories!
Salt Lake Temple
The Salt Lake Temple's dedication transpired over multiple days during the month of April in 1893. On the temple's second day of services, a truly unique experience occurred. Emma Bennett from Provo, Utah gave birth to a son in the temple at the close of the day's many events. Sister Bennett, who had been attending the dedication session in the temple’s Assembly Room, suddenly began to have labor pains.
Elder James E. Talmage noted the event in his diary: "A Sister Bennett from Provo was taken with labor pains and gave easy birth to a son. She was removed from the Assembly Room to a small apartment [in the temple]. Some sects would hold that such an event desecrated the holy place; but the Latter-day Saints will take a directly opposite view." The baby was born around 10:00 p.m.
Eight days later, on April 15, Emma and her husband Benjamin, who had been staying nearby, returned to the temple with their newborn son to receive a special blessing in the room he was born in. In the blessing, Joseph F. Smith named the baby boy Joseph Temple Bennett.
But the Salt Lake Temple isn’t the only temple where a new baby has entered the world.
Aba Nigeria Temple
The Aba Nigeria Templewas announced on April 2, 2000, causing members of the Church throughout the region to look forward to the day they could visit the house of the Lord in their country. Evelyn Momoh and her husband, Wahab, were among those who made a four-hour journey on a crowded bus of members to serve as volunteers at the temple open house.
Sister Momoh was expecting a baby at the time, and as their 150-mile journey came to an end, she began having labor pains. The bus driver hurried to the temple complex, where her child was born as soon as they arrived. Born in the temple’s parking lot, the Momohs’ second son was named Temple Momoh.
Although exhausted, Sister Momoh said, “Thanks be to God we made it. I am so happy!” The mother and baby stayed with a local member to recover from the delivery and gain strength for the trip home. Before returning home, however, on the first day the newly dedicated temple was open, Brother and Sister Momoh returned to receive their endowments and to be sealed as a family. The family was among the first to be sealed in the Aba Nigeria Temple.
Nuku’alofa Tonga Temple
On January 7, 2010, Sister Frederika ten Hoopen (known as Sister Teni), a former nurse who was serving as a sister missionary in Tonga, arrived at the Nuku’alofa Tonga Temple to attend an evening session. She was immediately told that the temple president had been praying for her to come because a young mother had unexpectedly gone into labor, and the phone system had gone down so they couldn't call for help.
“[He] had just finished praying when I walked in the door,” she told mormonsoprano.com. She continued, “When I entered [the temple waiting room], there was the mommy sitting in a wheelchair in all her white [clothing], and she had already delivered most of the baby. I was very concerned about the baby and felt the tremendous urging of the Spirit prompting me as to what to do.”
With the help of Sister Teni and a temple worker, Sister Roberta Clayton, the nine-pound baby was delivered after a few short minutes.
“The next morning, [Sister Clayton] and I went to the hospital to see the baby,” Sister Teni recalled. “Mom and Dad were waiting for us . . . and asked us to name their baby. His name will be ‘Teni Keleitoni Temipale,’ which is the Tongan translation for our names, [ten Hoopen and Clayton] plus the temple.”
Johannesburg South Africa Temple
Sister Clayton also had the unusual opportunity of assisting with another birth at the Johannesburg South Africa Temple patron housing.
Five years after assisting with the birth at the Nuku’alofa Tonga Temple, Sister Clayton and her husband were serving as an audit couple in Southeast Africa when they were informed a woman had just given birth in the Johannesburg South Africa Temple patron housing.
"I was thrilled because for me this is a great opportunity to be a part of any birth," she says. "Also, I was excited because I knew it was a follow-on to the experience we had in Tonga."
Sister Clayton, who served her mission in France and speaks French, was able to translate for the doctors and helped the mother shower and get dressed before she rested in bed with her newborn. It was an especially sweet moment, as Sister Clayton had helped this mother just two days before as she received her endowments with her husband before both were sealed in the temple.
While it is unusual to assist with two deliveries on temple grounds, Sister Clayton says she felt prepared long before she helped with either.
"I feel like my experience as a mother and a grandmother prepared me to help them both," she says. "I have eight children of my own and I was a very active participant in all those births. And my three daughters plus three of my daughters-in-law have also made me welcome at many of the births of our grandchildren. . . . I'm not mostly actively involved, but I love to be there and feel that sacred moment and hear that little cry when the baby is born."
Chad S. Hawkins is a well-known temple artist and historian whose career has taken him to six continents and over 100 temple locations. Chad’s artwork was selected and placed within the cornerstones of 16 different temples. His latest publication, Temples of the New Millennium: Facts, Stories, and Miracles from the First 150 Temples, is available at Deseret Book stores or deseretbook.com. Learn more about him at chadhawkins.com.