Tuesday, September 28, 2010

I love to see the temple

My new Ensign arrived yesterday. That is, my substitute for the Ensign. The church has updated and republished its Temples booklet and sent it to all Ensign and Liahona subscribers. I like the new edition.

The reasons given for the reprint? The old version was out of stock in various languages, the old version excluded many of the new temples, and (of course) the old version didn't include a message from our present prophet, President Monson.

I enjoyed leafing through last night to see the temple photos. Personally, I would have enjoyed more large-format photos of temples rather than of people illustrating various articles, but I was pleased to see so many temples represented throughout the magazine.

I also enjoyed seeing detail shots from some of the temples featured. The interior murals from the Manhattan New York Temple were a surprise to me. Very cool.

I live in Southeast Michigan where we have the Detroit Michigan Temple, dedicated in October 1999. Having a temple so close (we're about 45 minutes away) is an incredible blessing. I grew up in Pittsburgh, and our family drove to the nearest temple to be sealed in 1968 – Salt Lake City. When the Washington, DC temple was dedicated in the 1970's we counted ourselves about as lucky as we could be.

I've spent time at BYU in the shadow of the Provo Utah Temple, and during my years there I had periods of taking good advantage of that resource and years in which I was distracted by other things. After grad school in Pittsburgh, we moved to Michigan and the Chicago Illinois Temple was the closest – about as long a drive as Washington was from Pittsburgh, unless there was a traffic issue in Chicago (and when wasn't there?). The Toronto Ontario Temple shortened our commute, and was personally delightful for me because my wife and I were able to sing in the choir for one of the dedicatory sessions.

When "our" temple was announced in Michigan we could hardly believe it. We did not grow up here and do not have the same sense of history that some do in this area (though we've now called Michigan home for over 20 years), but we know that the foundations for the Detroit Michigan Temple were laid by many saints working over many years to build the church here.

The Detroit Temple sits on Woodward Avenue. At the groundbreaking, the Bloomfield Hills stake president suggested it was likely Joseph Smith had passed the site of the temple, as Woodward Avenue is likely the road that Stephen Mack (Joseph's uncle) had paid to build between his farm in Pontiac and the city of Detroit.

At the dedication of the Detroit Temple, I sat in the stake center next door with our children who attended while my wife played the organ for the choir in the celestial room. (I gave up my seat -- available to me as spouse of the organist -- in the celestial room to be with our kids.) My wife remembers hearing President Hinckley talk about his lovely wife while she sat on the front row. Since my wife was at the organ, she had a clear view of Sister Hinckley during the president's tender remarks. It was quite a moving experience.

The new Temples magazine includes an edited version of President Hunter's article on our being a temple-going people. It's one of my favorites as President Hunter taught repeatedly that we are a temple-motivated, temple-loving, temple-attending people. He encouraged us to hold a recommend even when we were not close enough to attend a temple regularly.

I'll write about some of my temple experiences over the next few posts. I've laid some of the groundwork here, but for me temple worship is uniquely private, personal and sacred. Like so many spiritual things, common physical experiences do not always yield the same spiritual result. But for me, the temple has been a place of peace, of comfort, of testimony, of learning, of growth.

The new Temple magazine will be available for viewing at lds.org, though it wasn't yet there when I checked this morning.

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