Sister Jordan Anderson, a new lacemaker from Payson, Utah, just completed an altar lace for the Payson Temple to be dedicated soon. She told me of her experience with her first altar lace:
“Just over a year and a half ago my Relief Society president announced the call for altar cloths for the new Payson Temple, which is just on the other side of our ward boundaries. I have a strong pioneer heritage on both sides of my family and many of them contributed to the work of building temples, so I jumped at the chance to make my own offering for the house of the Lord. Little did I know what a huge and wonderful undertaking it would be.
Before starting this altar cloth I had limited experience with crochet. I’d made a few hats and scarves, but that was it. The Relief Society President gave me a packet of seven approved patterns and I chose the one I thought was best suited to my abilities, the Daisy Lunch Cloth. Because I was so new at this endeavor it was essential that I follow the pattern exactly. There were times I thought I knew better than the pattern…but I didn’t. It wasn’t until I humbled myself enough to really study the instructions that I gained an understanding of how to be successful with each motif. I had a moment of inspiration and felt the Spirit reminding me that the scriptures and the words of the prophets are the pattern for our lives. Disregarding the pattern only brings frustration, especially as one who is learning and growing. Even more touching to me than that lesson was the renewed testimony of the Atonement. I made many, many mistakes in the process of completing the altar cloth. With every mistake I ripped out the work I’d done and changed my stitches to fix the problem. Now there is no evidence that those mistakes were ever made but there is a complete and flawless whole. The Savior does the same for us when we turn our mistakes over to Him for healing and grace. I did not expect my testimony to be strengthened by crocheting an altar cloth but I am grateful for the experience.
Work on the cloth has come and gone in spurts. For the past several weeks I have felt the fire under me to complete it. I have a baby on the way and I came to the realization that if I were to wait any longer I may not have to time to finish before the temple is dedicated. This past week I have both finished the cloth and come across many stories of my pioneer ancestors. As I finished work on the border I thought about so many in my family line, from pilgrims who came on the Mayflower to pioneers who crossed the plains, who dedicated their lives to the service of God. I’ve been blessed to feel their influence on the generations of my family down to my own children. I have two ancestors in particular, one from my father’s side and one from the line into which my mother’s father was adopted, who worked on the Nauvoo temple. The first, John Carling, did carvings on the doors and woodwork throughout the temple and the other, Peter Shirts, made the keys and locks for the doors. They knew full well they would abandon their beloved temple and their work would be lost to them, but they gave the best they had to give. As a tribute to them and as a gift to the Lord I can now give something that is the best of myself. I am still learning and my work is not perfect, but it is my very best and any mistakes I made have been removed. I’m so grateful to have had the opportunity to give my offering to the Lord and to give it with the confidence that I gave my all. It is amazing to me that what I have already received from the learning process is far greater than what I gave.” –Sister Jordan Anderson, Payson, UT