The Prayer That Saved an LDS Temple from Destruction After a Military Coup (+2 Other Temple Miracles)

by | Apr. 26, 2017

Mormon Life

Many miracles go into the creation and maintaining of temples around the world. From military coups to unexpected storms, read a little more about just a few incredible temple miracles.

A Temple is Spared

Manila Philippines Temple

In December 1989, combat associated with a military coup in the Philippines came dangerously close to destroying the Manila Philippines Temple. As the coup erupted, heavy fighting took place at Camp Aguinaldo, a military base neighboring the temple grounds. On the second day of fighting, rebel soldiers breached the temple gates and occupied the grounds. Members throughout the Philippines prayed that the temple might be spared somehow.

By late the next evening, government troops had the upper hand in the battle, but the temple annex and grounds—the last remaining rebel stronghold in Manila—were still in enemy hands. A government commander gave the rebels one hour to surrender and announced plans to attack with heavy artillery at 11:00 P.M. if his ultimatum was not met. The grim circumstance was reported to Elder Dallin H. Oaks, of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles thirty minutes before the 11:00 P.M. deadline. It was then 7:30 A.M. in Salt Lake City. Elder Oaks described the events that immediately transpired:

“By a remarkable coincidence—one of those happenings that cannot be coincidental—the First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve Apostles had scheduled an unusual meeting that Sunday morning. At 8:00 A.M., 3 December, just thirty minutes after I received that alarming report from Manila, the assembled First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve bowed in prayer and pleaded with the Lord to intervene to protect His house. Elder Marvin J. Ashton led our prayer. As we prayed, it was 11:00 P.M. Sunday evening in Manila, the exact hour appointed for the assault.

“The attack never came. Twenty minutes after our prayer [Area] President [George I.] Cannon phoned Church headquarters to report that the military commander had unexpectedly decided against a night assault. Early the next morning [I received word] that the rebels had melted away during the night. I recorded in my journal, ‘I consider this a miracle of divine intervention no less impressive than many recorded in holy writ.’”

Salvaged Lumber

Laie Hawaii Temple

When the Laie Hawaii Temple was built in the early 1900s, the island of Oahu was quite remote. This made it difficult to receive shipments of building materials, such as lumber and other supplies. Several creative means were employed to get around the problem. For example, crushed lava and coral (both easily available on the island) were added to the concrete that was used to form the entire edifice, including the floors, celings, walls, and roof.

But even with this innovation, construction often had to wait while contractors tried to locate missing materials. At one point, construction was at a standstill due to a lack of lumber. Contractor Ralph Woolley prayed for help in obtaining the needed supplies. Two days later, during a severe storm, a freight ship was stranded on a nearby coral reef. The captain offered the Saints his cargo of lumber if they would help him unload his ship. The Saints agreed, and the work on the temple resumed.

A Newspaper From England

Logan Utah Temple

Shortly after the Logan Utah Temple was dedicated on May 17, 1884, Bishop Henry Ballard of the Logan Second Ward was busy interviewing members and writing recommends when his young daughter, Ellen, delivered a newspaper to him. The paper was the Newbury Weekly News, which was published in his birthplace of Newbury, Berkshire, England. The paper’s date—May 15, 1884—indicated that it had been printed only three days earlier. At the time, a typical trip across the ocean, and then the plains, took weeks!

Bishop Ballard’s young daughter explained that she had been playing on the sidewalk when two strangers handed her the paper and gave strict instructions that she deliver it to no one except her father. Upon inspection, Bishop Ballard found the newspaper to contain a story with the names of sixty people and their accompanying dates of birth and death.

The next day, Bishop Ballard sought an explanation from Temple President Marriner W. Merrill. After listening to the bishop’s story, President Merrill said, “Brother Ballard, someone on the other side is anxious for their work to be done and they knew that you would do it if this paper got into your hands.” Bishop Ballard made certain the temple work was complete, and later it was learned that most of the people named in the newspaper were related to the Ballard family.

More than a half-century later, a young M. Russell Ballard, the great-grandson of Henry Ballard, was serving a mission in England and made a visit to the offices of the Newbury Weekly News. “I visited the Newbury Weekly News,” he records, “and verified that the newspaper had never been postdated or mailed out early. I held the issue of 15 May 1884 in my hands and photographed it. There is no mortal way that, in 1884, it could have reached Logan from Newbury within three days.”

Lead images from LDS Church Temples
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