We have a tradition in our Laie 4th Ward High Priests group where we invite visitors to share something about themselves beyond the usual “my name is, and I’m from” moment that we do in our adult Sunday School class . . . and on August 8, 2010, we were privileged to learn a little more about Tom Holdman from Lehi, Utah: His remarks were poignant — even more so because he has a lifelong speech impediment. Indeed, it was very touching to see him struggle sometimes just to get his thoughts into words.
Brother Holdman told us he’s in our small community doing the stained glass work on the Laie Hawaii Temple, which has been under major renovation for the past 20 months and is scheduled to be rededicated on November 21, 2010.
He explained that from childhood his severe stutter led him to express himself through art: “I believe that art is its own language,” he has said, adding he was an art major in college, and after serving a Latter-day Saint mission he prayed for inspiration about what he might do with his life. He said he received a two-word answer:
Glass art was not the answer he was expecting, but he said he followed the divine feedback into a stained glass career that has since allowed him to work on many projects, such as restoring the “tree of life” windows in the Laie Temple about four years ago, and 19 other Latter-day Saint temples — including Palmyra, New York; Winter Quarters, Nebraska; and Manhattan, New York. He said when he completes his work on the Laie Hawaii Temple, he’ll be moving on to the one in Rome, Italy.
At the end of his brief introduction, what Brother Holdman said far overshadowed the way he said it: “I have learned through experience that with a strong conviction you can overcome any affliction.”
I look forward to seeing his latest work in the Laie Temple.
See samples of Holdman’s work for yourself at:
— By Mike Foley (August 9, 2010)