You’re not as lost as you may think

This video about the Provo City Center Temple hit me when I heard the phrase, “saving what was thought to be lost has enormous significance.” It isn’t just about rebuilding an historic building to beautify the city, it’s the entire message of the gospel encapsulated in one project.

Each of us is like the old building. Perhaps just outdated or worn, maybe even destroyed by sin. And Jesus Christ says to each of us, “you are precious and beautiful” and offers to rebuild us into a temple. Not just restoring what we originally were, but creating something magnificent.

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Image from  mormonnewsroom.org

It requires our trust to repent and let Him be in charge. Follow His way of doing things. It’s not easy.

As The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints builds this temple, it is a symbol to me of everything Christ offers to the members of the church. In Christ’s church there are those who will serve you, programs to help with improvement, leaders who will lovingly guide you as you repent, and friends you can work with side-by-side as each of you slowly becomes more like the temple Christ is creating in you. And all possible because Jesus Christ made His infinite sacrifice to save every soul who would let Him.

Phoenix Temple Photo

Hi! Just wanted to share a few photos I snapped the other day of my favorite temple.

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Phoenix Temple with storm clouds, north side.

It had been threatening rain, but here in Phoenix I don’t believe a forecast for rain unless it is at least 50%. The clouds looked beautiful and the rain actually materialized. According to a radio announcer it was the first time Phoenix has had rain during the month of June in six years!

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Phoenix Temple and fountain
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Detail from front of Phoenix Temple “Holiness to the Lord, the House of the Lord.”

Payson Utah Temple Open House

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Payson Utah Temple of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

Last week I attended the public open house for the Payson Utah Temple. Streams of people surrounded the temple and flowed through the building. I enjoyed joining them for a glimpse of the beautiful building. I won’t go into as much detail as my last experience at the Phoenix Temple open house. The basic tour followed the same format. The flower beds overflowed with perfect spring bulbs. The warm weather made it a great day to walk around the grounds.

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A riot of spring color on the temple grounds

I got to hold a charming, squirmy baby through the tour; a tangible reminder of the connection between temples and eternal families. Im-P1out-X72wn39gsdeiThe members in this area will love having a beautiful temple in their community. The exterior reminded me of a courthouse plus a spire. Lots of columns and embellishments. Layered corners. The stained glass gives a lovely splash of color. On the west side of the temple are the words “Holiness to the Lord – The House of the Lord”. As a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, I am trying to build my life like the temple–into the most beautiful thing it can be. With God’s help, it is possible. Payson-Utah-House-of-the-Lord

A Phoenix Temple testimony

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Bountiful Utah temple in winter by Jason Carlton

I am impressed by Jason’s blog over at Temples and Testimonies. I enjoyed reading the inspiring messages there. His photos inspire too!

Here is my testimony of the temple. Thanks Jason for providing the impetus to write it.

When I first moved to Phoenix I immediately felt dismay over the distance to the temple. While not impossible, the 90 minute drive meant a visit lasted 6 hours, too long for me to attend if I had a nursing baby at home. The difficulty taught me to appreciate the temple more.

I felt ecstatic at the Church’s plan to build a temple in Phoenix. Then I had to find extraordinary patience as the planning and building phases took six years to complete.

This past fall, I had the privilege of attending the Phoenix Temple open house with my entire family. Many of my friends volunteered in the open house and shared their inspiring experiences with me. I’ve felt longing for this House of God, and now joy at being able to go inside and worship there.

I know The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints offers saving ordinances restored from ancient times. Through these ordinances, available in temples, my family has a chance to be together eternally. I have never found a more beautiful piece of truth; one that inspires me to keep trying even when life is hard. My husband and children bring so much happiness to my life. And the gospel teaches us the principles needed to achieve that happiness. It’s amazing!

-Holly

Children restored

Today I read the Book of Mormon and found this gem:

For behold, the promises which we have obtained are promises unto us according to the flesh; wherefore, as it has been shown unto me that many of our children shall perish in the flesh because of unbelief, nevertheless, God will be merciful unto many; and our children shall be restored, that they may come to that which will give them the true knowledge of their Redeemer. 2 Nephi 10:2

This verse took on a different meaning to me this time. I picture Jacob, a righteous leader and father thinking about his children’s future. Inevitably, being righteous is hard and some fall away. Life is hard. Yet God is still merciful. He understands that we struggle through life’s journey. Sometimes we are casualties in the fight.

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All of God’s children are precious.

I love how it says “our children shall be restored.” One interpretation is the return of the House of Israel to righteousness in the latter days. But what about all of the casualties between Jacob’s day and the latter days? Those children are precious too. This time it occurred to me that through the temple, all children of all time have the opportunity to accept the gospel message of salvation. That is comforting to me, because I look at my children and think how precious they are. I would hate to lose a single one, yet I can’t force their choices. All of us are God’s children, and He considers us all precious. Even generations of children who lived without the gospel. Through the grace of God, because of our Savior Jesus Christ, we are all given a chance to accept everything God can offer us. And Christ is not finished until every child has been redeemed.

Phoenix Temple Tour

The Phoenix Arizona Temple (aka Phoenix Mormon Temple) is the newest temple of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and also the closest temple to my home. I got to tour it in October and wanted to share my experience.

Our family had a reservation on a Monday morning. The weather was perfect, with lots of sun and promising to be a hot day. We followed the volunteers who directed us to park in the lot of Wet-N-Wild water park. They were all super friendly. We saw one person we knew and got a 30 second update on how she was doing. I loved the helpful feeling exuded by everyone, they made me feel like they were so happy to be together and helping out.

My kids loved riding the tour bus the quarter mile over to the temple. They had never been on one before and we had to remind them to stay seated while the bus was driving.

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Photo Courtesy of Dave & Audrey Simonson from http://www.ldschurchtemples.com/phoenix

At the temple, we went into the church next door where we watched a brief video explaining temples and their purpose. I like the quote by Elder Holland, who says he can’t picture heaven without his wife and family–it just wouldn’t be heaven without them. I agree. I can’t picture heaven without being surrounded by the people who make me happy.

Our tour guides were also very friendly. They explained it would be a silent tour and encouraged us to enjoy the quiet feeling in the temple and save our questions for afterwards.

After our introduction, we walked over to the temple entrance. I like the desert landscaping around the building. As we approached the door, helpful volunteers put shoe coverings on for us to protect the carpet in the building. They were all talking and laughing and enjoying themselves.

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Courtesy of Dave & Audrey Simonson. From http://www.ldschurchtemples.com/phoenix/ November 14, 2014
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Photo by Matthew Reier. From lds.org news page 12 Oct 2014.
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Photo by Matthew Reier.

Inside the temple, we got to walk slowly through the entryway, with its beautiful door handles, mosaic floor, and sitting areas. Most of the walls are a pale sand color, but in the entryway there is a painting of Christ on a wall with dark paneling and art glass.

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Door detail. From mormontemples.org.

Next we went downstairs. The marble floor and marble stairs are shades of brown with swirls of pink. Very pretty.

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Stair detail. Photo by Matthew Reier.

The desert agave blossom motif on the anodized gold railing repeats throughout the building. I like how everything is very symmetrical and orderly and also uses themes from nature and neutral colors. To me, the interior design combines the best elements of a church, spa, and high-class hotel. Beautiful surroundings, peaceful, focusing on the experience of the individual. Only in the temple, the experience isn’t created to generate revenue for a corporation, instead the experience brings one closer to God.

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Baptistry in the Phoenix Arizona Temple. Photo by Matthew Reier. Photo from lds.org news page.

Downstairs we walked past many more paintings depicting Jesus Christ. Scenes from his mortal ministry remind each of us that this home belongs to Him. More marble covers the floors and walls. Everything seemed exquisite to the last detail, yet not ornate enough to draw attention to itself. I also enjoyed the way the sitting areas were arranged to encourage contemplation. I could picture myself returning and enjoying the atmosphere. The focal point of the lower level in the temple is the baptismal font, with its teal and coral highlights. The mural behind makes it appear to be a continuation of the river.

The next room we entered had a beautiful mural painted on two walls depicting the Sonoran desert near Lake Pleasant.

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Desert mural in Phoenix Temple. Photo by Matthew Reier.

My neighbor had told me a story about this mural, how this particular spot had a special meaning to one man who felt an answer to prayer there. He didn’t know that the mural would be painted at the same location where he liked to go for solitude. When he saw the mural for the first time, he felt surprised to see his “special” place depicted in the temple–another special place.

I enjoy the feeling of being outdoors while in the mural room. I love spending time in nature. It lends itself to contemplation. The murals of the desert feel like being outside here in Arizona, highlighting how “home” is always the most beautiful place, even in a desert.

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Photo from http://mormontemples.org/

The next room has beautiful columns that repeat the same agave blossom detail. Near the ceiling are geometric shapes that look like sunflowers and interlocking ovals. This room is brighter and lighter than the preceding room.

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Column detail. Photo by Matthew Reier. From lds.org news page.

The next room was the Celestial room, which is the most beautiful room in the temple. It had a gorgeous stained glass oval window in the center of the ceiling. The window is underneath the exterior spire, so during the day, sunlight illuminates it. At night there are lights in the spire that illuminate the window.

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Stained glass window detail. Photo by Matthew Reier. From lds.org news page.

Again, the rooms in the building are serenely beautiful with exquisite craftsmanship. Unlike the Gilbert Arizona Temple, which features a large crystal chandelier, this room has the oval window as a focal point with four smaller rectangular chandeliers. Stained glass windows surround the upper walls, repeating geometric themes found in the room.

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Photo by Matthew Reier. From lds.org news page.
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Interior room in Phoenix Arizona Temple. from mormontemples.org.

The final room of the tour is the room where marriages are performed. One of the core beliefs of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is “Sacred ordinances and covenants available in holy temples make it possible for individuals to return to the presence of God and for families to be united eternally.” (from The Family: a Proclamation to the World)

After walking through the entire temple, we exited through the main entry. We were able to enjoy walking across the grounds where there is a fountain that also acts as a reflecting pond. One nice gentlemen there offered to snap a photo of our family for us. He took a couple photos and was generally helpful.

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Reflection of temple. From http://www.ldschurchtemples.com.

As we exited the temple grounds, there was a covered tent with more information, water, places to sit, and a photo booth for picture taking. The booth was convenient because with the crowds and heat, our photos outside didn’t turn out great. Here’s our family photo.

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Our family at the Phoenix Temple photo booth

We hopped on the tour bus and returned to our car.

I was so impressed by how friendly everyone was. I loved the building and the beauty inside. I wanted to return again when it would not be busy so I could enjoy the serenity here. I also thought although this may be one of the most beautiful building in the state of Arizona, it probably doesn’t compare to what buildings are like in heaven. So why would God care about this building? He cares because when it has been dedicated, it belongs to Him. He also wants us to remember the beauty of everything He wants to share with us. He wants to give us everything He has.

So I got to tour this amazing temple, but unlike a construction worker who builds it and has to move on to the next project, I get to enjoy the beauty of this building for years to come. I also came away feeling inspired to keep my own home more organized and peaceful, to be more like the temple.

I hope you enjoyed this virtual tour, especially if you are not a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and wonder what a Mormon temple tour is like.