Thursday, January 14, 2010

Baby Born at Tonga Temple

If you haven't heard yet, there was a baby born last Thursday (January 7, 2010) at the LDS temple in Tonga. I have pieced together the details from the two sisters' stories who helped deliver the baby: Sister Fredricka ten Hoopen's from this article, and Sister Roberta Clayton's from her own account in an email to one of my collaborator's friend's mothers. (It's a small Mormon world, isn't it.)

The story begins the day before the birth when the mother, Ati, went to see her doctor, who told her the due date was not till February 14. The couple decided to go to the temple the next night. Her labor started suddenly in the session and happened very quickly (it was a fourth baby). At the end of the session, they put her in a wheelchair and took her to a private waiting room off of the foyer. Sister Clayton, a temple worker, who had 8 of her own children and may grandchildren says she knew that she was already in transition when they brought her to the room.

When Sister ten Hoopen, who had had some training as a nurse 37 years before, arrived at the temple for the 7 p.m. session, she says the temple president had been praying her to come. (Apparently the phones were down and they couldn't call out.) When she got to the woman, the baby was already partially delivered. The mother delivered him mostly in the chair. Sister Teni, as she is called, turned the baby over, elicited the desired cry, and then they cut the woman's clothes away and laid her on some towels on the floor to wait for the delivery of the placenta. In Tonga, they have an important tradition of immediately burring the placenta in the hole in they earth, usually in the family's yard.

Sister Clayton made sure that the mother and baby got skin on skin suckling time (so important), and the paramedics arrived after it was all over. The baby was a boy and he weighed about 9 pounds. What a legacy to be able to say that you were born in the temple. I wonder what is in store for that little guy.

He is not the first baby that I have heard about born in a temple. Heatherlady told me of a story of a baby born in a small anteroom of the Salt Lake City temple during its dedication ceremony. We may include that story in the book, and we are hoping to talk to the mother of this miracle Tonga temple baby and get her side of the story for the book.

What a great, timely story. If we think of our bodies as temples, and pregnancy as building a temple for a new spirit, then bringing that new body (temple) into the world in such a sacred place makes sense. Of course, we can't all go to the temple to have our babies, but if you are yearning to birth in a sacred place, consider what we know about the home. Our prophets have taught us that "Only the home can compare with the temple in sacredness."

Home birth isn't for everyone, but it is an wonderful option for normal pregnancies. Of course, this decision is one you have to make with the Lord, and He knows what you and your baby need more than anything. Apparently, this baby needed to know that he was born at the house of the Lord.

I will post pictures as soon as I get permission.


  1. I often had daydreams about giving birth in the temple, especially during my first pregnancy. I knew it was a long shot--in part because it's several hours to get to one, so I wasn't likely to pop on over at 40 weeks pregnant--but I would still imagine it in my mind. Wouldn't that be so neat?

  2. Thank you for sharing my exclusive story as part of your fun post. Please provide readers with the direct link which gives the full story and copyrighted photos at, entitled "Miracle Birth At The Tongan Temple". I have linked the post to my name in this comment - Thanks! - MoSop

  3. Hey Mormon Soprano,

    I linked it already, but thanks for stopping by. Cheers!

  4. P.S. I'm a bit of a dork - I now see you already linked to my article. Sorry. Thanks for sharing the miraculous story. There are so many tender mercies to ponder. I have included your link on my "Kudos List". - Cheers! - MoSop

  5. As much as I'd like to take credit for the SLC temple story it is Katy who has it. I haven't read it yet and am hoping she'll post it soon!

  6. That is a great story! What a special birth for that mom and son!

  7. Wow! That is amazing! Thank you for sharing. What an incredible story!

  8. I've often wondered if any babies had been born in temples. My 3rd baby came very quickly - 20 minutes of active labor. So when I was 37 weeks pregnant with my 4th and traveling 5 hours to the St. George temple for the sealing of my sister to her family, this was a very real concern for me!

  9. Woahhhhh! A-MAZING! Love it! I will have to share my birth story with you some time. I have some really great pics at home with a few of my sisters from RS (my RS president is a home-birth midwife and attended the birth!) ;)

  10. Ok, I got my pictures up. THey're here:
    Thanks for the amazing blog and I enjoyed snooping around tonight and reading some more articles!



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