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TEMPLE MOMENTS: A hope beyond


One of 13 children. Mabel Pearl Currens was 9 when she quit school to help provide for the large family in Harrodsburg, Ky. That same year - 1903 - Orville and Wilbur Wright made the first heavier-than-air flight less than 500 miles away in Kitty Hawk, N.C.

However, like most Americans in those years, she heard little of the flying machines that would have such an impact on her life. Mabel found work at a nearby settlement of shakers, learning patience, humity and hard work.In 1915, the same year invetors had replaced the Wright Brothers motorized wood and cloth experiment with steel, four-engine airships, she married Ormond VanArdsdall, the well-educated son of the mayor of Harodsburg. Like Orville and Wilbur, Ormond and his brother William were aviators, also caught up in the centuries-old passion to rise from the earth on amn-made wings.

During the next 12 years, the couple had four children. But in 1927, tragedy struck. The brothers made a flight in a new airplane. Mechanical problems developed. The plane plunged to the earth and both men were killed.

Mabel was left with four children and no assets. She struggled, at $13 a week, to provide for the children until they were grown. Life's challenges continued. Eventually both daughters died of cancer.

Her two sons became pilots. The oldest, Riker, was a colonel and pilot in the U.S. Air Force.

Mabel Pearl Currens VanArsdall worked up until her 92nd year. Then, only a diagnosis of cancer stopped her.

She came, by airplane, to live with Riker, who had joined the Church in 1980 and was then bishop of the DeFuniak Springs (Fla.) Ward. Convalescing at his home, she was taught and accepted the gospel and was baptized.

One of her desires was to go to the temple. On a singel day in the Atlanta Temple and in a wheelchair, she went through four times, and took part with her sona nd daughter-in-law Mary in sealings to her parents, brothers and sisters, two daughters, and to her husband, Ormond. Shortly afterward, her health took a turn for the worse, and she has beenunable to return to the temple. In the trying hours of her last days, the VanArsdalls take comfort in her words spoken after the temple sealing: "I know I will be with Ormond and our children forever." The VanArsdalls believe that for those whose flying machines failed them, there is more - a hope that extends beyond the earthly grave.