Church News - The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

16-year-old's wish to visit Nauvoo temple

Published: Saturday, July 13, 2002

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NAUVOO, Ill. — The folks at the Make-A-Wish Foundation have spent more than 20 years helping grant wishes for young people struggling with life-threatening illnesses. Many of these young people want to spend a day or two at Disneyland. Others hope to shake hands, pose for pictures and maybe pass some time with a famous ball player or movie star.

Matthew Quist realized his wish inside the limestone walls of the Nauvoo Illinois Temple.

The 16-year-old recently traveled with his parents, Stuart and Dianna Quist of the Westwood Ward, Mesa Arizona Maricopa Stake, and older sister, Amy, via rail and road from their Arizona home to western Illinois. Matthew, who was diagnosed with Muscular Dystrophy a decade ago, simply wanted to take part in the temple's open house and visit historic Church sites in Nauvoo and nearby Carthage. His wish became a dream-come-true when he and his family were invited to join in one of the temple's June 28 dedicatory sessions.

"When Matthew was told he'd be in the Assembly Room and in the same room as President Gordon B. Hinckley his jaw just dropped," said Matthew's father, Stuart Quist.

"I felt very good and happy," said Matthew, who uses a specialized wheelchair to move around.

A straight-A seminary student, Matthew had developed a love for Church and U.S. history. Besides visiting the temple and Carthage Jail, he spent time in the state historical library in Springfield, Ill.

One of Matthew's Make-A-Wish contacts, Carol Watson, was thrilled to learn President Hinckley had acknowledged the young man during the temple dedication.

"I was completely overwhelmed," said Ms. Watson, program services director of the Make-A-Wish Foundation of Central Illinois. The foundation pays all the travel expenses for the "wisher" and his or her family — and even throws in a few dollars for souvenirs.

The Quists' Nauvoo experience is "something we'll be sharing . . . for years to come," Brother Quist said.

Despite the sultry heat, Matthew said he was unfazed by the Illinois sun.

"I'm from Arizona," he said, good-naturedly.

E-mail: jswensen@desnews.com