Many receive sweet blessings as they attend holy temples

Alberta Temple

Site dedicated July 27, 1913, by President Joseph F. Smith; ground broken Nov. 9, 1913, by Daniel Kent Greene of Glenwoodville, Alberta.

Dedicated Aug. 26, 1923, by President Heber J. Grant; rededicated after remodeling July 2, 1962, by President Hugh B. Brown; rededicated a second time by President Gordon B. Hinckley June 22, 1991.

Located in Cardston, Alberta, about 185 miles south of Calgary; octagonal shape with no spire; finished in white granite.

CARDSTON, ALBERTA - Approximately eight years ago, Mona Stubbs of the Magrath 2nd Ward, Magrath Alberta Stake, was involved in an automobile accident. She was thrown from the vehicle and suffered extensive injuries and was in a coma for many months.

However, through her efforts and determination and the support of her family, Mona has been able to learn to do many things again, including walking with canes. She spends most of her time in a wheelchair, but is able to walk slowly and haltingly with her canes.

Mona loved to go to the temple, and one of her goals following the accident was to walk through a temple session. She had been able to go to the temple for some time, but had to be carried up the stairs from room to room in her wheelchair.

The Alberta Temple is one of the older temples and has many stairs. During the session patrons move through four rooms, so there is a lot of walking and many stairs to negotiate. Mona has now been able to accomplish this goal after many hours of practicing walking with her canes. Her determination paid off when less than a year ago she was able to walk through a session.

As Mona goes to the temple to give service to those who have passed on, she is an inspiration to other workers and patrons. We are able to receive strength from her determination, faith and courage. - Sharon Gibb

Arizona Temple

Ground broken April 25, 1922, by President Heber J. Grant.

Dedicated Oct. 23, 1927, by President Heber J. Grant; rededicated April 15, 1975, by President Spencer W. Kimball.

Located in Mesa, Ariz., 16 miles east of Phoenix. Design suggests pre-Columbian influence, and resembles the Temple of Herod; finished in eggshell-colored terra cotta glaze.

MESA, ARIZ. - I have been richly blessed during the 2 1/2 years that I have been an ordinance worker in the Arizona Temple. I have had many spiritual experiences with patrons, especially in the initiatory area. However, the greatest blessing I have received was participating in the temple ordinances, along with members of my family, for 170 of our own ancestors.

I had done the research for these people over the years but had not submitted the names. Just before the temple closed for remodeling in June 1991, Sister Marjorie Allen, who was then the temple matron, issued a challenge to the sisters to do something meaningful while the temple was closed for six months. Because of her challenge, I cleared the names of my family, and we began the work for family members on Jan. 3, 1992.

My son-in-law and two of my granddaughters were proxies for the baptisms, and three of my grandsons did the initiatory work for 91 male family members. My daughter, daughter-in-law and a granddaughter were proxies for 79 female family members.

It was a great spiritual experience to take part during the temple sessions for a grandmother, aunts, and cousins I had known, and for other family members I had loved and felt I had known through oral histories. We also performed many of the endowments ourselves. Then my family and I gathered at the temple for three sealing sessions.

For many years I have had a great desire to give some meaningful gift to my parents and other family members. Now I realize that this work - their temple ordinances and sealings - is the greatest gift I could ever give them. - Grace Higgins

Boise Idaho Temple

Ground broken Dec. 18, 1982, by Elder Mark E. Petersen.

Dedicated May 25, 1984, by President Gordon B. Hinckley.

Located just off Interstate 84 at the west end of Boise, Idaho; includes three detached towers on each end; faced with light-colored marble.

BOISE, IDAHO - During construction of the Boise Idaho Temple, my five sisters were visiting me from out of town, and I was driving them around to see the sights of the city. As we followed a slight bend in the road, we were facing directly west, and suddenly the huge granite structure of the temple loomed in front of us.

We were overwhelmed as we let the majesty of the vision flood over us. About 150 feet away, the golden statue of the Angel Moroni, trumpet in hand, stood atop one of the six stately spires, as high as a 10-story building.

Even unfinished, the Boise Temple evoked reverence and awe. As we gazed in silence, I recalled being at the groundbreaking ceremonies:

Huddling in the crowd, I seek refuge from the brisk wind. The mud in the pasture where we stand is hardened by December frost. I hear Elder Mark E. Petersen say he is standing on the spot where the celestial room will be. I stand tippy-toe to see where he is, and mark the spot with my eyes.

My tears are flowing as I convey love and gratitude to my Heavenly Father. I have just witnessed a common pasture transformed into a plot of holy ground.

My sisters and I returned home from our ride. One of them noticed the copper bowl hanging in the window above the kitchen sink. She could not see my memento of the groundbreaking - a handful of earth from that now-sacred site - but the little green ivy planted in temple-plot soil was thriving. - Naomi Christensen

Denver Colorado Temple

Ground broken May 19, 1984, by President Gordon B. Hinckley.

Dedicated Oct. 24, 1986, by President Ezra Taft Benson.

Located in Littleton, Colo., about 20 miles south of Denver; modern design with single 90-foot spire; faced with white precast stone.

LITTLETON, COLO. - In August 1992, my sixth child was married in the Denver Temple. All her older brothers and sisters had been married in other temples in Utah and Idaho before this temple was completed. They came with their spouses and children for this special day.

Can you imagine my joy as we gathered from many parts of the country to attend the Denver Temple? For many, this would be their first time there.

All went according to plan and schedule. I could see the joy and delight in my children's eyes as they greeted and hugged the temple workers - former neighbors, ward members, and school or Primary teachers from their youth.

We attended a session and were gathering in the celestial room. Many of us shed joyful tears.

I noticed my second daughter was especially overcome, and tears were flooding down her face. As I approached her to give her love and comfort, she held onto me tightly. "Mother," she sobbed, "when I was a little girl, I dreamed our whole family was together in a very celestial place. The feeling was so wonderful, and we were all there."

What a wonderful blessing to have the temple, to be able to do work for our kindred dead and unite families forever. - Deanna Thomas

Idaho Falls Temple

Ground broken Dec. 19, 1939, by Pres. David Smith of the North Idaho Falls Stake; site dedicated Oct. 19, 1940, by President David O. McKay.

Dedicated Sept. 23, 1945, by President George Albert Smith.

Located in northwestern Idaho Falls on the banks of the Snake River; modern contemporary design with single center tower; faced with white quartz aggregate and white cast stone.

IDAHO FALLS, IDAHO - Early on a Saturday morning in April 1991, I was assigned to the Idaho Falls Temple celestial room as an ordinance worker. Leonard Jensen, a sealer, came in with some family sealing papers. He explained to me that he was to do the sealing of female children for a Canadian sister, and he needed a female proxy to help with this work. He asked me to select a proxy for him.

My attention was drawn to a sister who stood on the far side of the room who seemed to be waiting for her husband. I was impressed to ask her to help, so I did. Her husband said he would gladly wait for her. When I introduced them to the Canadian sister and her husband, the husband informed me that they needed a male witness. It was arranged that the proxy's husband would be our male witness.

Later, just before I was to go upstairs with another session, someone came up and put their arms around me. It was the sister I had asked to be proxy for the sealing. With teary eyes she thanked me for asking her to be proxy and told me how grateful she was for the experience. She said as they read the names of the sisters being sealed, she recognized them as being the same names as those in one of her family lines. She had been trying to obtain information about them for a long time.

As they conversed, they were certain they were distant relatives, and these names were from the same family line.

The Canadian couple asked for the proxy's address. When they saw she was from Pocatello, Idaho, they became excited and told her their son was moving to Pocatello in a few weeks and would be happy to know he had distant relatives there. - Mona Leavitt

Las Vegas Nevada Temple

Ground broken Nov. 30, 1985, by President Gordon B. Hinckley.

Dedicated Dec. 16, 1989, by President Gordon B. Hinckley.

Located at the base of Frenchman Mountain on the east side of Las Vegas; six spires and faced with white precast stone.

LAS VEGAS, NEV. - In the fall of 1992, after extracting almost 2,000 names of her own direct ancestors from the parish registers of Balingen, Wuerttenberg, Germany, Irma England of the Hualapai Foothills Ward, Kingman Arizona Stake, felt she should extract the records from the entire village of Balingen. The records went back to 1577, and this seemed like a huge undertaking.

After extracting 1,500 names, she was prompted to send them into a temple and not wait until they were all extracted. Kingman Arizona Stake is part of the Las Vegas Nevada Temple District, and she felt this was the temple to which the names of people from the village of Balingen should be sent to have the ordinances done.

But when she tried to download the names from her computer for submission to the Las Vegas temple, she wasn't able to do it. Again she went to her knees thinking she should probably send them to the Frankfurt Germany Temple or Freiberg Germany Temple.

But in the middle of one night she was awakened with the feeling that they were to go to the Las Vegas temple, and that her stake, the Kingman Arizona Stake, should provide the proxies for these names.

She called and set up an appointment with stake Pres. Larry R. Romney, but they were not able to get together for some time. Before they met, Sister England felt that possibly she had received the wrong inspiration and decided to send the names to Salt Lake so she could stop worrying about them. When she did visit with Pres. Romney, she was nervous and thought that possibly all her impressions to have her stake do this work were wrong. She presented all that had transpired the past few months to the president.

Pres. Romney's said: "Sister England, I have felt for several weeks that our stake needed to be involved in a temple project such as this and have prayed for direction in how to accomplish it. You have presented me with an answer to my prayers."

Work for the deceased residents of Balingen began and continues today. A great blessing has come upon Kingman Arizona Stake members as they unitedly serve in the temple.

Los Angeles Temple

Ground broken Sept. 22, 1951, by President David O. McKay.

Dedicated March 11, 1956, by President David O. McKay.

Located atop a hill two miles west of Beverly Hills and about 10 miles west of downtown Los Angeles; modern design with a single spire; faced with crushed quartz in white cement.

LOS ANGELES, CALIF. - During the terrifying and seemingly endless 59 seconds of the Jan. 17, 1994, Northridge earthquake, our pattern of life was abruptly and completely changed. However, during those long seconds in which we were tossed and thrown in all directions with sounds of furniture crashing and fragile items breaking, a feeling of inner peace came to us. That inner feeling of peace has continued with us as the seconds turned into minutes, hours, days and weeks.

As we looked at the broken pieces of glass, china and crystal that lay in heaps, were were reminded of the fragile nature of not only our china, but of other aspects of this temporal existence and of life itself.

It had been only a few months previous to the earthquake when, following a trip to the Los Angeles Temple, we were robbed at gunpoint in our home by masked intruders. They threatened our lives if we did not cooperate and took our jewelry and other belongings.

They fled and left us unharmed, and we then called the police. We did not recover anything from the robbery, but we felt a peace and calmness throughout both that unpleasant experience and the subsequent earthquake and have been able to get on with our lives.

Our blessings have been added upon as we have gone to the temple not only to fulfill our callings as ordinance workers and a sealer, but to renew our own temple blessings as patrons and to receive much-needed spiritual infusions. We know that the voice of the Lord, telling us what to do, is a reality. And we know that the temple provides a spiritual perspective and power that allows the Lord to better guide us in overcoming life's problems. - Wayne F. and Edith M. McIntire

Oakland Temple

Ground broken May 26, 1962, by President David O. McKay.

Dedicated Nov. 17, 1964, by President David O. McKay.

Located on an eastern hill overlooking Oakland, Berkeley and San Francisco Bay; four small spires and one large central spire with Oriental motif; faced with Sierra white granite.

OAKLAND, CALIF. - Sept. 26, 1992, was a busy Saturday in the Oakland Temple Youth Center. This day was a bit unusual because we had several children with different needs. There were two older teenagers, four young Tongan children, two infants and three Hispanic children. The Hispanic children spoke no English.

All of these young people had come to the temple that day to participate in sealing ordinances with their parents. Volunteers at the Youth Center are always concerned that each child's needs are met and are especially sensitive when their backgrounds are as varied as they were this day. No matter how old or young the children are, we try to comfort, love and teach them.

On this Saturday morning, one of the infants was crying and uncomfortable, having been separated from her mother. The Tongan children were playing together with toys. The teenagers were plunking out familiar Primary melodies on a small keyboard, and the Hispanic children timidly kept to themselves. The teenagers began to play the melody of "I Am A Child of God."

Suddenly, the oldest of the Hispanic children, an 8-year-old boy, came to the center of the room and began to sing in his native tongue the first verse of this much-loved Primary song. The Tongan children looked up from their toys, the teenagers' keyboard accompaniment faded, and the infant's cries were stilled.

The boy's voice was clear and strong. His little face shone as he stood in the center of the room and sang. Everyone else was silent, listening and watching with wonder. When he finished the first verse, he took a deep breath and started the second. He sang each verse in Spanish. One of the workers started to sing with him. Someone else joined in, and soon voices from all the corners of the room were chiming in, each in their native tongue. When the song ended, the little one who was the leader, looked around and quietly went back over to his two younger siblings.

Gradually the toy train began to toot again, story time continued, the normal activities of the day resumed. But something had changed. The workers who held the infants held them just little closer and cuddled them with just a little more love. All of the children seemed to be able to communicate and play together even though they were speaking different languages. From the youngest to the oldest, for just that brief moment in time, everyone had listened reverently to a little child impart his testimony in song. - Saralynn Borrowman and Jill Van Orden

Portland Oregon Temple

Ground broken Sept. 20, 1986, by President Gordon B. Hinckley.

Dedicated Aug. 19, 1989, by President Gordon B. Hinckley.

Located in a wooded suburb in Lake Oswego about 10 miles southwest of downtown Portland; design features six spires built into temple; faced with white marble.

LAKE OSWEGO, ORE. - Unique conversion stories always emerge from open houses prior to the dedication of temples. The Portland Oregon Temple open house produced many, but one stands out as special.

A non-member woman approached the temple to participate in the open house with thousands of other "curious" individuals. Just prior to entering the temple grounds, she noticed a man who was handing out "anti-Mormon" literature. Feeling that Mormons, as well as people of other religions, should have the right to worship at will, she asked the gentleman if he really felt it was appropriate to be distributing literature contrary to this religion's beliefs. The man was not dissuaded.

After touring the temple, the woman exited the building. She again noticed the man standing outside the gate. She approached him once more and asked if he had ever been inside the temple. He said that he had not. She then offered to hand out his literature if he would go inside.

Upon returning to his post, he said to the woman that he had decided to abandon his efforts and destroy the material in his possession. An update about the man is unknown, but the woman was so strongly impressed by the feelings that came to her in the temple that she invited the missionaries to come to her home to teach her about their religion.

She and her husband were taught the discussions, were baptized, and a year later returned to that House where there was such a powerful feeling and were sealed together by the power of the priesthood so they could enjoy the blessings of an eternal marriage.

San Diego California Temple

Ground broken Feb. 27, 1988, by President Ezra Taft Benson.

Dedicated April 25, 1993, by President Gordon B. Hinckley.

Located on a knoll overlooking the San Diego Freeway in north San Diego City near the suburb of La Jolla; modern design features two major towers surrounded by multiple points; faced with marble chips in plaster.

SAN DIEGO, CALIF. - In the San Diego California Temple rests an envelope addressed to Jesus, c/o the San Diego Temple. It's there because of the beautiful faith and devotion of a child.

At a family home evening, this youngster, not yet 4 years old, completed coloring a Nativity scene in a coloring book. When he was through he asked his "daddy" to mail it to Jesus. Dad said he didn't think it would be possible to send it to Jesus because there is no postal service in heaven.

A thoughtful discussion followed. The inquiry from the boy, then, was could the letter be delivered to the temple, because "that's where Jesus lives." So, the next evening, the father, mother, and twin children brought the envelope to the temple, the House of the Lord.

It was a moving experience for the member of the presidency who met them at the entrance to receive this sacred trust and to witness in the eyes of an almost 4-year-old wonderment, love, devotion and faith.

Seattle Temple

Ground broken May 27, 1978, by President Marion G. Romney.

Dedicated Nov. 17, 1980, by President Spencer W. Kimball.

Located in Seattle suburb of Bellevue on Interstate 90; modern design with single spire; faced with white marble aggregate and cast stone.

BELLEVUE, WASH. - In September 1993, we were still quite new to the Spokane 22nd Ward, Spokane Washington East Stake, our family having recently moved to Spokane, Wash., from Utah. We had been used to looking out our bedroom window and seeing the Jordan River Temple, a 10-minute drive from our home. Traveling five hours to go to the Seattle Temple now seemed like quite a task and a bit of a sacrifice, but we looked forward to going with our new fellow ward members on a planned ward temple trip.

When we arrived at the temple we met ward members whose faces lit up as they saw us. It was as if a light went on inside us and has stayed on at least to some extent since then. There has been a brightness in our lives since. Each time we saw a member of our ward in the temple, that same brightness and joy was expressed on their faces. We felt love, joy, and a sense of belonging to the ward.

Going though as proxies for relatives of our new ward members was a very special experience. We felt the Spirit so strong.

It was also very special to do two sessions with ward members as officiators. Seeing familiar faces in those roles made the experience personal and made us feel closer yet to our ward friends. We truly felt among friends - safe, secure, loved, and at home.

Our family has not lost those feelings since we returned home. Our testimonies and our commitment have grown. The time in the temple was a most special experience that changed us forever. Our oldest children can hardly wait for the next temple trip to do baptisms. We are all planning and anticipating the next trip to the Seattle Temple with more excitement than at Christmas. - Jay and Cathrin Hales

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