My father recently gave me a family possession as a gift. It was an old sepia colored photo of my great grandmother. Dressed in a fur wrap and short dark cap cocked to one side, her face is illuminated in a bright, sincere grin – something rare for a photo from that era.
Although the photo has been on my Grandma’s wall since I can remember, no one really knew exactly who the person in the photo was. After piecing some things together I figured out who the person was and it gave the gift a whole knew meaning.
Finding My Family
Family history on my father’s side is very spotty and in the last couple of years I have been working on filling up some of those holes and putting together a more clear picture. There isn’t a lot of documentation for various reasons and my grandmother’s memory isn’t the best so my work hasn’t always been easy. But it has been very rewarding.
One benefit of not having any family history information on my Dad’s side is a benefit all in itself. The fact that it doesn’t exist means that I am the original discoverer – the first person to open my own family’s “King Tut’s Tomb” so to speak. It’s so exciting to me to be able to solve these family mysteries of “who, when, where and why” little by little and report back to my immediate family. Read more
Ground will be broken for the first temple of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (often inadvertently called the “Mormon Church”) in Connecticut, USA, in August 2013.
Groundbreaking Ceremony for Connecticut Mormon Temple Announced
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints will break ground on the first Mormon temple in the state of Connecticut on Route 4 in Farmington next month.
The Church announced in a press release Monday that the groundbreaking service is scheduled for 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. on Aug. 17 at the 1024 Farmington Ave. site.President Thomas S. Monson of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints first announced the temple plans on Oct. 2, 2010, according to the release. The groundbreaking ceremony will be a religious service that includes “congregational singing, speakers from Church leadership, and a dedicatory prayer,” the release stated. At the conclusion of the service, “Church and community leaders will ‘turn the ground,’” the statement said.
“This is a very exciting time for the members of the Church in Connecticut,” Wayne Taylor, president of the Hartford Connecticut Stake, said. ”The groundbreaking draws us one step closer to the rich blessings that the temple will bring.” Read more
About 300 Miles north of New York City, and Southeast of Rochester, New York, begins a lively pageant atop Hill Cumorah each summer. The play is a live performance put on by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (often inadvertently called the “Mormon Church”). The play is a presentation of events that occurred in the Bible and The Book of Mormon.
Hill Cumorah Mormon Pageant
Mormon Newsroom.org outlines the folling information about the annual Hill Cumorah Pageant:
Trumpets will ring out in July, introducing the first of seven performances of the largest outdoor pageant in America — the annual Hill Cumorah Pageant, sponsored by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Featuring a cast of over 700 volunteers, the pageant portrays events from the Bible and the Book of Mormon: Another Testament of Jesus Christ. The 90-minute performance is staged a few miles from Palmyra, New York, on the Hill Cumorah, southeast of Rochester. The production features a 10-level stage, 50-foot light towers, brilliant costumes and stunning special effects performed to an audience in the thousands. Music recorded by the world-renowned Mormon Tabernacle Choir brings the night air to life. Read more
One thing I love about temples of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is the varying beautiful architecture of each temple. They always seem to reflect aspects of the local culture and history. One of my favorite temples, the Mesa, Arizona temple, is designed after Solomon’s Temple from the Old Testament. Recently I visited this temple at night. The temple is impressive and beautiful. It truly invokes the “Old Testament” ancient feeling. It makes me feel as if the truths taught inside are so precious and important. Like all temples, the Mesa temple grounds are beautifully manicured and included palm trees and a gorgeous reflecting pool.
Temples Are Built To High Standards
All the work, ceremonies, and practices that occur in temples of The Church of Jesus Christ around the world are all the same. The gospel is true and uniform no matter where you go in the world, but the design of temples varies.
The Church uses the finest materials and craftsmanship available and has meticulously managed grounds. Mormon Temples.org outlines the value of property around temples:
Experience worldwide demonstrates that temples positively impact property values. Latter-day Saint temples are built using the finest craftsmanship and materials available. They are beautifully landscaped and maintained and designed to complement the community.
Design and Architecture in the Early Church
In the early church, Joseph Smith and Brigham Young sent architects to study in Europe to bring beautiful designs to the temples.
An international flare for art and architecture found a place in the early years of Church organization. British, Scandinavian and Swiss artists illustrated early events in the history of the Church. Others created portraits of Church leaders. Even the original temple building projects in Kirtland, Ohio, and Nauvoo, Illinois, felt the influence of the artist’s touch.
In his instructions on building the unique Nauvoo Temple in the 1840s, Church founder Joseph Smith counseled temple architect William Weeks and others to employ persons “with knowledge of antiquities.” Brigham Young is known to have spent several days studying London’s cathedrals during the 1830s when he served as a missionary to Great Britain. That classical architectural influence appears in the construction details of the Salt Lake Temple.
In a bold move to expand the capabilities of its gifted artists, fourth Church president, Wilford Woodruff, in 1890 appointed John Hafen, Lorus Pratt and others to study in Paris and then to return to paint murals on the walls of temples. In addition, Church leader Heber J. Grant commissioned the returning Hafen to produce art for general Church use on a three-year assignment, beginning in 1907.
Inside the Temple
The inside of temples varies as far as some design choices and layout, but they include the same basic parts in every temple. To see a video tour of the inside of a temple go HERE
Mormontemples.org clarifies what the inside of the temple is like:
Many people are under the impression that the interior of a Latter-day Saint temple is like a great hall or cathedral. Actually, temples are made up of numerous smaller rooms designed to accommodate functions such as marriages, baptisms and small gatherings, as well as personal reflection and contemplation. Inside the temple, Church members change into simple and modest white clothing before taking part in temple ceremonies. The white temple clothing symbolizes purity and reverence.
Lds.org explains the basic parts of the inside of a temple:
“At the temple the dust of distraction seems to settle out, the fog and the haze seem to lift, and we can ‘see’ things that we were not able to see before and find a way through our troubles that we had not previously known.” —President Boyd K. Packer
The temple is a peaceful, sacred place, set apart from the cares and turmoil of the world. All areas of the temple are beautifully and carefully maintained to preserve a spirit of reverence. The temple has many rooms to accomplish the ordinances performed there.
In the Bible, Jesus taught about baptism (see, for example, John 3:5). Because many people do not have the opportunity to be baptized in this life, the fonts in temples are used by the living to be baptized in behalf of those who have died. The baptismal font rests on the backs of 12 oxen, following a tradition dating back to the Temple of Solomon that is described in the Old Testament. The oxen represent the 12 tribes of ancient Israel.
In ordinance rooms an overview is given of God’s plan for His children. Latter-day Saints learn of their premortal and mortal lives, the creation of the world and the Fall of man, the central role of Jesus Christ as the Redeemer of all God’s children, and the blessings they can receive in the next life.
The celestial room symbolizes the exalted and peaceful state that all may achieve through living the gospel of Jesus Christ. This room represents the contentment, inner harmony, and peace available to eternal families in the presence of Heavenly Father and His Son, Jesus Christ.
In a sealing room, a bride and bridegroom are married not only for this life but also for eternity.
Manner of Dress
Those who attend the temple go to a dressing room to change from their street clothes into white clothing. This change of clothing serves as a reminder that visitors are temporarily leaving the world behind and entering a holy place. White clothing symbolizes purity, and the fact that all are dressed alike in the temple creates a sense of unity and equality.
What do you, personally, believe is your greatest purpose? What do you believe is the most important thing you could achieve in this life? Once you have defined that one, specific goal, wouldn’t you do all you could to prepare for it throughout your life?
In the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, (often inadvertently called the Mormon Church), it’s no mistake that we begin teaching about the family early on. The Family and marriage between man and wife are the basic foundational principles of the Gospel of Jesus Christ and are the abiding goal of almost every church member.
Forever Families Are Important to Latter-day Saints
Elder Eric B. Shumway said in October 2008,
Ponder this statement. This single truth—that the cosmic purpose of this earth and the universe has as its central feature marriage and the family, with husband and wife at the core—should inspire our souls and our imaginations. Marriage and family are not human inventions or social constructs evolving from human necessity. They are part of a heavenly order that leads to eternal life and eternal happiness.
Consider the following comments from Elder Russell M. Nelson of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles: “Marriage brings greater possibilities for happiness than does any other human relationship. … [It] is the foundry for social order, the fountain of virtue, and the foundation for eternal exaltation. … [It] is sanctified when it is cherished and honored in holiness. … Marriage is both a commandment and an exalting principle of the gospel.”
Angel Moroni Atop Mormon Temples
Perhaps one of the most recognizable symbols for temples of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (often mistakenly called the Mormon Church), is of the Angel Moroni. The prophet from The Book of Mormon (a companion scripture to the Bible that testifies of Christ), is memorialized in statue form with applied gold leaf atop most Latter-day Saint (LDS or Mormon) temples.
Who Does the Statue Represent?
The statue of Moroni is not a figure of worship, but rather one of respect for his role in the Restoration of the gospel of Jesus Christ. Moroni was a real person, an ancient prophet in the Book of Mormon who revealed the location of golden plates to the young Joseph Smith in 1823 from which the sacred book of scripture was translated.
With the horn pressed to his lips and his right hand holding the outstretched horn, the statue of Moroni symbolizes the restoration and the preaching of it to the world.
Latter-day Saints believe Joseph Smith restored the original church established anciently by the Lord Jesus Christ.
The symbol is powerful for members of the Church. In modern history in Christ’s Church, the saints (a saint is defined as a faithful member of The Church of Jesus Christ) initially built temples in near-impossible circumstances and against heavy opposition. More than once, temple building brought violence on the early saints of the Church and they were forced to abandon their precious temples.
Therefore, a temple built is a humbling blessing and triumph for truth in The Church of Jesus Christ. The symbol of the statue of Moroni being lifted atop a temple spire is an incredibly potent and moving moment in the life of a temple.
Ogden Utah Temple Receives Moroni Statue On Top of Spire
The temple still undergoing renovation construction in Ogden, crews placed an angel Moroni statue atop the new temple spire in the beginning of May 2013. The 14-foot, 2-inch figure is the same statue that topped the temple before it was closed. The statue was removed at the beginning of the project and completely reconditioned.
The addition will bring the height of the renovated temple to just under 190 feet. The statue is made of fiberglass coated with gold leaf, supported by a steel structure and weighs nearly 800 pounds.
“The estimated completion date for the temple is late 2014. Dates for the open house period have not yet been announced.
The temple’s entire exterior will be reshaped with new stone and art glass. The entrance to the temple will also be moved from the west side to the east side, where it will face Washington Boulevard.
Inside the temple, some rooms will be reconfigured, but the core building design will remain the same. As has been the case in renovations of other temples, old electrical, heating and plumbing systems will be replaced with modern, energy-saving equipment. Other notable improvements include underground parking and a complete relandscaping of the temple block with a major water feature.”
Seeing the Statue Raised
I’ve only seen an Angel Moroni Statue placed on top of a temple once. I was in college in Rexburg, Idaho, and the temple construction finished shortly after I graduated. I’ve never been in the temple, but I was there for the groundbreaking and other construction milestones.
My roommates and I wanted to participate in the groundbreaking, but being young and silly, we didn’t want to wait in line to overturn dirt. So being cheeky, I guess, we went the next day with what “tools” we had laying around and overturned dirt with our kitchen ladles and spoons.
My experience with the Angel Moroni statue was much more serious. Hundreds waited outside the temple as the statue was lifted by a crane and placed at the top of the tall, sacred building.
I was even more moved than I thought I would be. It was astounding to me that the early pioneers sacrificed all they had for just one temple, one moment like this. And now, temples are being built constantly all over the world.
As I watched that symbolic and beautiful statue lifted higher and higher, I felt it was a fulfillment or prophecy, and that Moroni’s wish was coming true. He had compiled and abridged the ancient scriptures for us in our day, and his entire wish was that we would have them and accept them.
Why Do Mormons Build Temples?
Temples are so significant to “Mormons” (Latter-day Saint or LDS), because it is where God’s ordinances can be preformed. It is where the highest level of the gospel that was restored from Christ’s original church is exercised.
Inside temples, we learn how to return to God. Inside temples we are joined with our families and it is there that we receive the keys to be together forever.
This is why temples are so sacred, cherished and important to a Mormon.
So seeing a symbolic statue raised to the top of one, can, in fact, be a big deal.
President and Prophet of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Thomas S. Monson, announced on 25 January 2010 that a new Temple was to be constructed in Payson, Utah. The 96,630 square foot edifice which will rest on 10.63 acres, will be located at the corner of 930 West and 1550 South in Payson, Utah. The groundbreaking ceremony was held on 8 October 2011, and Church leader, Elder Dallin H. Oaks, presided over the ceremonial occasion and dedicated the site. In the course of his remarks, he noted, “Standing adjacent to I-15, the major north-south artery in Utah, the Payson Utah Temple will be a dominant and visible influence on the millions who pass by here by day and by night.” (The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints News Release, “Groundbreaking Held for Payson Utah Temple,” 8 Oct. 2011.)
The Payson Utah Temple will be the fifteenth temple built in Utah and the third temple built in Utah County. According to the LDS Church Temples.com site, “As of late February 2013, precast concrete panels are arriving at the site of the Payson Utah Temple for attachment to the exterior of the building. Work is well underway on the interior of the building including electrical, plumbing, HVAC, framing, and drywall.” Below are a few pictures of the ongoing construction work. The pictures were obtained from Payson Temple Construction – April by Mark Johnston.
The Mayor of Rome, Italy, got a rare personalized tour of the construction site of the Rome Italy Mormon Temple. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, (often mistakenly called the Mormon Church), builds temples all around the world, and on October 4th, 2008, President Thomas S. Monson surprised the Church by announcing plans to build a new temple in Rome.
Plans to Build a Temple in Rome
This will be the first Mormon temple in Italy. The Religious and Cultural Center of the Church, the first of its kind in Italy, will include a temple, multi-functional meetinghouse (including a cultural hall and facilities for conferencing), visitors’ center, family history center and patron housing, all surrounded by lovely gardens.
LDSchurchtemples.com/rome perfectly describes the feelings at the announcement of the temple:
Italian members met the announcement of the Rome Italy Temple with the animated cheering and enthusiasm you might expect to see in a sports arena during a last-second win, explained President Massimo De Feo, president of the Rome Italy Stake, in an interview. He added that since the temple announcement, the Stake is seeing the baptism of full families for the first time. In just the past five years, the number of stakes in Italy has grown from three to six. And temple attendance at the distant Bern Switzerland Temple has been much higher from the Saints in Italy than from any other country in the temple district. Read more
Imagine that you are walking through the center of your town when your eyes suddenly behold something that seems not only amazing, but also almost completely unimaginable. That is perhaps precisely the impression that residents of Provo, Utah have had as they have watched the ongoing construction of the new Provo City Center Temple during these past few months.
A Community Landmark Gutted and Refined by Fire
In December 2010, the historic Provo Tabernacle in Provo, Utah was gutted by what was described as a four-alarm fire. It was reported that the fire had supposedly started in the second floor of the building. Although there was rapid response from firefighting officials, the intensity of the fire prevented them from being able to battle the flames from inside the building.
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints issued the following statement regarding the fire:
The fire at the Provo Tabernacle is tragic. The building not only serves our members and the community, but is a reminder of the pioneering spirit that built Utah. The damage appears severe, and until we make a structural assessment we won’t know whether this historic treasure will be able to be saved.  Read more
A 3D rendering of the Provo City Center Temple of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (often mistakenly called the Mormon Church) has been released in March 2013. The rendering was created by Brian Olson. The building was formerly the Provo Tabernacle, an historic landmark. After a serious, but accidental, fire, the Church of Jesus Christ decided to rebuild (retaining the historic exterior) and convert the tabernacle into a temple. The current temple in the area, the Provo Temple, which in on the east bench of north Provo near the Missionary Training Center, is often filled to capacity.
Land near the tabernacle had to be procured in order to accommodate the grounds and gardens, and parking for the temple. It will grace the downtown area of Provo and surely cause the whole area to be revitalized as no other sort of initiative could possibly do. City offices and the large NuSkin office are nearby, as are many small shops.
Nearby, on 500 North University Avenue in Provo, the Provo City Library was remodeled some years ago, retaining the historic exterior. The resulting, modernized building is beautiful. These two special buildings will anchor the Provo Downtown area.