In the last few days, a story has begun to circulate widely among many LDS members, which claims to be the testimony of an assistant matron at the Los Angeles California Temple. Here is the story, as it has been publicized by e-mail and blogs:
Date: Saturday, November 15, 2008, 6:16 PM
My dear family, brothers and sisters, friends and leaders:
My heart is overflowing with joy and gratitude to our Heavenly Father for His tender mercies and mighty miracles in our behalf. I just have to share this with you.
As most of you know, I am a Temple ordinance worker and work the morning shift in the LA Temple every Saturday. Today, I had the priviledge oftranslating sister Martz-the new assistant Matron’s-message during our devotional. She started like this “The prophet Joseph Smith said that no unhallowed hand would be able to stop this Work from progressing. These past few weeks when mobs have combined and armies have gathered against the saints, the Lord has protected His house”. She went on to say that those, like her, who were inside the Temple when mobs were surrounding it, did not realize how scary and terrifying this looked on TV to the rest of us, because inside the House of the Lord all was calm and there was peace abundant.
After Proposition 8 passed, the Temple began receiving threatening calls and mail from those opposing it. They were warned that more than 5000 people would come to the Temple and burn it to the ground, and stop its work.
The first Thursday when the mob came, the new LA Temple President called the Salt Lake City Temple Offices for instructions. He was instructed to call the local police and to insure the safety of those attending the Temple by closing the gates. The assistant Matron said today, that it was a tender mercy from the Lord that the mob chose that Thursday to come since they had only one person coming to receive his own endowment that day, which he received in time to leave before trouble started.
The LAPD and the FBI responded quickly to the Temple Presidency’s summons and patroled the grounds and kept the mob from entering the same. Most of them had never been there before and expressed their surprise at how beautiful and peaceful all around was. They were invited to come back during the Christmas season to see the lights and they promised they would.
On Thursday, November 13th, sister Campbell, a secretary in the Temple, was opening the mail and upon opening a large manila envelope found inside a smaller one. When she opened this one, a white powder flew all around her desk. She thought this could be related to the demonstrators and feared the worst-ANTHRAX. She contacted the President, who in turn called the Salt Lake City Temple office again for instructions.
The FBI, the LAPD, and even the SWAT teams were once again in the grounds to investigate, and the Temple once again had to close from around 11:30 AM to 5PM. They closed the gates and were instructed to keep all the people there wherever they were found at the time. Those in the parking lot had to remain in the parking lot. Those entering the Temple had to remain in the first floor and those already upstairs were taken to the Celestial Room.
Then, the miracles began to happen: A brother serving as a recorder that day is a Microbiologist by profession and used to deal with hazardous substances every day. He was the first to say the white powder in the envelope was only talc, and put every one at ease. Then the sister coordinator upstairs was impressed to call upstairs to the sealing area, and said “They said we can’t go down but no one said we can’t go up, and I have many people in the Celestial room with their ceremonial clothes on ready to work. Could they do some sealings?” As it happened, there were four sealers present that day and they ran four sealing sessions non stop while the Temple was closed.
Downstairs, someone else thought to invite those in the Lobby to do some initiatories, which they promptly did for all those hours too, brothers and sisters alike. Among those waiting in the parking lot there was a large group of young men and women with their leaders who had come to do Baptisms for the dead, and who waited patiently all those hours and decided when the Temple was reopened to go ahead and fulfill their assignment instead of driving back home.
The Temple reopened in time for the 5:30 PM session. The next day when recording the ordinances, they discovered that they had performed 2000 sacred ordinances on Thursday, only one less than the day before when three stakes had been visiting the Temple. Once again the assistant matron reminded us of the words of the prophet Joseph Smith, “No unhallowed hand can stop the Work from progressing…”.
But, this is not all, a prophecy was fulfilled also. When the new LA Temple President was set apart by President Uchdorft of the First Presidency, he received a blessing and these words were pronounced: “The time has come for the LA Temple to come out of obscurity and become an Ensign for Righteousness to the world under your Presidency.” The pictures of the Temple have been shown on TV, newspapers and the internet, not only in this country but worldwide. People of other faiths have called and sent letters to the Temple thanking the Church for defending marriage and protecting the family, and commenting how impressed they are by how beautiful and majestic the Temple looks.
One minister of an African American church, who by his own admission had harbored ill feelings against the mormons before said “I am impressed by your integrity and Christ like behavior, and even if I am not ready to consider you my brothers and sisters in Christ, we can be first cousins!”. I asked the assistant matron if I could share her comments and she said to go ahead.
I can only add my own testimony that I know the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints has the power and authority of God on earth. God Lives and Jesus, His only Begotten Son and our Savior is coming soon to redeem His people. I am grateful to know this and I pray we stand firm, steadfast and immobile while the prophecies of the signs before His Coming are fulfilled. “Be not afraid, only believe” He has said, and also ” What I the Lord have spoken, I have spoken, and I excuse not myself; and though the heavens and the earth pass away, my word shall not pass away, but shall all be fulfilled, whether by mine own voice or by the voice of my servants, it is the same.” I testify that this is true and testify it in the Holy Name of Whom I strive to serve, even Jesus Christ. Be faithful and safe is my humble prayer.
Your sister in Christ, Patricia H. Arnazzi
When I read this story, a few things made me suspicious—and not just from any “disbelief in miracles” standpoint. First, since when does the Federal Bureau of Investigation respond along with local police, just to guard against a protest, when no illegal act has yet been reported? Published photos show LAPD in riot gear, but I haven’t seen any photos of FBI agents there for the protest. Second, given how the LDS church has responded to the protests in general, I’d truly be amazed if they didn’t publicize an actual threat of 5,000 people coming to “burn the temple to the ground.” Third, while I understand there are protocol issues involved, does a temple president really need to call Salt Lake City before contacting law enforcement about a potential anthrax delivery?
So, I did a little digging, and it didn’t take long. I pulled up the Associated Press article on the Los Angeles Temple “white powder” scare, at
and I found this important detail:
“The temple in the Westwood area of Los Angeles was evacuated before a hazardous materials crew determined the envelope’s contents were not toxic, said FBI spokesman Jason Pack.”
The fact that the Los Angeles Temple was evacuated before the hazmat crew did their work, demonstrates that the above “faith promoting” story isn’t just a little off on details, but fundamentally fraudulent.
Friends don’t let friends spread false stories to all their fellow church membes (and more), no matter how “faith promoting” they appear to be. Even the LDS general authorities have had to intervene with similarly “faith promoting” stories, to declare that they are unequivocably false.