On Friday, April 28, 2017, Yasuo Niiyama, president of the Tokyo Japan Temple, passed away, according to lds.org. “We express our deepest sympathies and condolences at the passing of our esteemed brother in the work of the Lord, President Yasuo Niiyama,” a letter from the Asia North Area presidency states.
Born in Niiyama Kobe, Japan, on April 25, 1944, President Niiyama had just turned 73 years old. He and his wife, Tomiko Hatakeyama Moulton Niiyama, had served as a temple president and matron since November 2015.
Aside from his Church service as an Area Seventy, a member of the Church Area Government Relations Council, president of the Japan Sendai Mission, regional representative, stake president, high councilor, and branch president, President Niiyama was also the retired CEO of the Selnate Group and a member of the Japan Immigration Association.
In 2004, President Niiyama wrote an article for the Ensign. In the article, he shared his testimony as well as a dream he had that changed his life:
Some years ago I had a dream that changed my life. It also changed the way I treat my wife and children. In the dream, I was driving a car on a dark night. It was a two-lane road in a rather quiet countryside. I saw a car coming from the opposite direction at high speed; suddenly it swerved into my lane. I did my best to avoid the car, but the other driver increased his speed. I knew we were going to crash and found myself praying hard: “Heavenly Father, please help me. I cannot die yet. I have a sweet wife and [at that time] three lovely children. Please, please …” I felt the impact and was thrown out of the car. When I hit the ground, I immediately woke up and found it was just a dream. “Oh, what a relief!” I thought. Then I asked myself, “Have I been a good husband and father? Can I say I have been the best husband I could be? What would I leave my children if I died?” I could not go back to sleep that night. I recommitted myself to the Lord and decided to love my wife and children more. So that my family would have my testimony recorded, I wrote down 42 statements expressing my belief in doctrines and principles of the gospel, the things I would most want to leave my children if I were to die. . . .
May we stop and think, pondering and reflecting on how we are doing in our own families. May peace come to each family member as husbands and fathers preside over their families in love—that same peace promised by the Savior: “Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid” (John 14:27).
President Niiyama shared five ways priesthood holders can preside righteously over their families, principles that can apply to all of us: 1) know doctrine and principles, 2) work on improving yourself first, 3) acknowledge each other’s roles as family members and work together, 4) exercise the priesthood righteously, and 5) teach children the important things.
President Niiyama exemplified these principles in his life. May we learn from his example and work on appreciating and improving our families now.