True Religion and Undefiled

This is how I spent my weekend:

The church mobilized 400 workers from 13 different stakes in 6 states Saturday and Sunday to help with hurricane cleanup hereabouts.  Many thanks to all of them, and a whole lotta love to the men from Beaumont, TX who allowed me to work with them on their crew, even though my chain saw skillz are almost nonexistent.  And when it comes to tractor driving, I don’t know enough to get out of my own way.  You are saints in very deed. 

These are my people.


Cooking for an army, making pain perdu.


Camping at the temple.  Sacred work takes many forms.



Getting it done.  Sometimes a man’s just gotta have a loader and a chainsaw with 34″ blade.



  1. Larry the cable guy says:

    I’m uplifted at conference time to see the vast swath of white shirts and ties during the priesthood session, but I think a cluster of those yellow t-shirts scores even higher for me.

    Honest question though Mark, how much of that gas grilling equipment was available only because the LSU game was cancelled this weekend?

    Here’s hoping this doesn’t become an annual ritual for you.

  2. thank you so much for sharing. i couldn’t stop my eyes from welling up when i read “you are saints in very deed. these are my people.” lovely!

    does it get any better than camping at the temple?! and the mormon grilling equipment and skills always amaze me. we’ve yet to be in a ward where the high priests couldn’t whip up meals for a thousand on a moment’s notice.

  3. I think of all the pictures I have ever seen of a temple, that one probably is the most beautiful. What an amazing opportunity.

    Thanks so much for sharing it with us.

  4. Awesome. Thank you for sharing.

  5. I never got to serve a mission, something I’d dreamed of doing since being a small child, because I got married first. When we had the awful fires in socal last year, I got one of these shirts when I went out volunteering. I keep it and cherish it like the missionary name tag I never got. There’s an interesting comparison/contrast between the two kinds of artifacts I think.

  6. Wow. Wow.

    And what the heck is pain perdu?

  7. I’m with Melissa: awesome “take” on the whole temple thing.

  8. (pain perdu is french toast. four years of high school french finally pays off!)

    if that was “my” temple, i think i’d hang that picture in my home.

  9. I visited friends in south Alabama last year, on the weekend when their stake went down to Mississippi to continue the clean-up from Katrina. Two years after the fact, the congregations down there were still rotating weekends and cleaning / fixing houses. It was one of the most inspirational weekends of my life.

    Thanks for this, Mark.

  10. Our stake in Houston got the call after both Katrina and Rita–I was really hoping we would get called in for Gustav, but I never heard a word about it. Those several weekends in Fall 2005 were wonderful experiences. I am jealous of you…

  11. Left Field says:

    I’m a volunteer truck driver for the Bishops’ Storehouse in this area. Saturday morning, I made the regular fortnightly Mississippi run. I was told that just after I pulled out of the storehouse lot, they got a call asking the truck to also deliver supplies to Baton Rouge. Because I had already left, another driver made the drive to Baton Rouge after I returned. He told me today what a great experience it was to provide supplies to those serving at the temple grounds. I understand that the temple might not have electricity for a month. However, the storehouse delivered generators to keep enough air conditioning going in the temple to prevent mold and mildew.

    True religion indeed. The photographs bring back memories of Katrina. I recall with gratitude the 20 hermanos from the Houston Spanish Stake who arrived after Katrina with machetes and chainsaws and cleared the debris from my yard in 20 minutes. They piled the storm debris in a row by the curb 10 feet high and 30 feet long. It would have taken me weeks to do it myself. By contrast Gustav only took down one limb, and it took me less than 30 minutes to clean up the yard. Folks to the west of us were not so fortunate, but I am pleased to see the church once more stepping up to the plate in a time of need.

    I see the photograph of the temple, and can only think of the appropriateness of the inscription above the door, Holiness to the Lord.

  12. Kevin Barney says:

    I absolutely love this kind of stuff, Mark. Thanks so much for sharing with the rest of us.

  13. So proud of you, Mark, and pleased to call all of you my people.

  14. Count me among those who are pleased to be among you. Very nice, Brother Brown.

  15. Great temple picture.

  16. That’s so awesome! Thanks for showing us. I hope I get a chance to do something like this too one day.

  17. Steve Evans says:

    pain perdu = a variant of French toast, Mark?

  18. Mark,

    Good for you and your people. I have one of these T-Shirts left over from the Centralia, WA floods a little over a year ago, when a couple thousand volunteers showed up to shovel mud and clean up. Anyone who wears one of those shirts is “my people”.

  19. Jim Donaldson says:

    Geography isn’t one of my strengths. Which hurricane or storm? Which temple?


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