Bountiful temple inspires volunteer spirit

The dedication of the tabernacle in Bountiful, Utah, by President Heber C. Kimball, first counselor in the First Presidency, in 1863 was the culmination of five years of hard work by numerous Latter-day Saints. The tabernacle stands as a tribute to the faith and sacrifices of the Mormon pioneers, and holds great historical significance.

Now, 131 years later, another edifice in the city - the Bountiful Utah Temple - stands as a tribute to the faith and sacrifices of the Latter-day Saints oftoday and holds great eternal significance. The new temple, which will be the 47th operating temple in the Church, is nearing completion and being prepared for the open house and public viewings.

Again, members here are offering their time and talents as they prepare for these events at the temple, located about two miles east of the tabernacle. They are working with haste as the open house is scheduled for Nov. 5-Dec. 17. Because of limited parking, tickets are required to attend the open house, but the tickets are free of charge.

"We anticipate from 900,000 to 1.1 million to attend the open house," said Blaine Jensen, vice chairman of the Bountiful Utah Temple committee. "This means that much coordination and work must be done.

"So far, 200-300 members have been helping to prepare for the upcoming events, and we expect over 35,000 volunteers to have helped by the time the open house is over.

"We have made it our policy to actually create opportunities for service so as many as possible in the temple district (in southern Davis County) can be involved in the open house and dedication, and the response has been overwhelming in every instance. When we have asked for assistance, the responses have exceeded the requests."

Included among the many volunteer assignments are the sorting of more than 1 million open house tickets and processing ticket requests coming into a ticket center set up in the Bountiful Regional Center. To help coordinate this effort, Charles Burgoyne, coordinator of information and communication systems for the local committee, has created a computer software program that tracks the number of tickets available, how many tickets have been allocated to stakes, and the number promised to individuals.

Up to 20 volunteer telephone operators at a time work on individual computers. As telephone operators approve the tickets, they have the computers right in front of them so they know how many tickets are left. Then the subtraction is made on the screen, so there is a running total of how many tickets are available for each day of the open house. It is anticipated that up to 2,000 visitors can be accommodated every hour.

For members in the 275 stakes in the Utah North Area, which now also encompasses what was the previous Utah Central Area, tickets are being allocated on a per-stake basis. Stake presidents have been asked to call stake and ward ticket specialists. Tickets will be sent to these specialists, who will then provide tickets to the stake members.

Individuals outside the Utah North Area planning to go to the open house should request their tickets from the ticket information center by calling (801) 299-4222. They should then pick the tickets up at the Bountiful Regional Center prior to attending the open house.

"Sorting tickets and handling ticket requests are only a small portion of the work of volunteers from the temple district," Brother Jensen noted. "Each of the 28 stakes in the district is assigned to a subcommittee.

"In addition to ticket coordination, subcommittees focus on such things as parking and transportation, security, publicity, audiovisual, medical facilities, food, VIP tours, missionary exhibits, ushering and hosting, cleaning, physical arrangements and coordination of all volunteers. There is much effort required to ensure all detailed planning occurs between these subcommittees."

The open house tour will start at a pavilion on the temple grounds. In the pavilion will be a Christus statue and placards explaining the Plan of Salvation and the purposes of temples. Included in the presentation in the pavilion will be a short video. Then visitors will proceed into the temple for a silent tour through the major rooms of the temple. The tour will take approximately one hour.

When a person receives a ticket for the open house, a sticker will indicate the day and time of his or her open house visit. Transportation and parking instructions will also be on the back of each ticket.

Enthusiasm has been apparent on the part of volunteers, as attested by Brother Burgoyne. "It's an experience I will never forget. It is a great experience to work with people who are so excited about a project."

He recalled: "I got a call from one brother who had been contacted by his ward. He said to me, `I retired yesterday from a position at a local bank, and I am now ready to serve the Lord where I am.' He's faithfully been here every week.

"We have one sister who just lost her husband. She came to us and said, `I need something to do.' She volunteered to put the stickers on the back of the tickets. She just loves it. She has just blossomed."

Continuing, he explained that his wife, Mary Lou, supervises the training of the telephone operators. "We have four sisters who help my wife. They have put in untold hours. They came and have devoted most of their time to this project."

Along with helping volunteers have a positive experience, Brother Jensen said that a main goal of the Bountiful Utah Temple Committee is to ensure that those who "come to the open house have a special spiritual experience in this very sacred and beautiful place."

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