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Star Valley temple: ‘It’s all about happiness’

Credit: Julie Dockstader Heaps
Credit: Julie Dockstader Heaps

STAR VALLEY, WYO.

Late one night a few months ago, Peggy Frome stepped out into her yard on the east bench of Afton, Wyoming. Although she couldn’t see the darkness, she could feel it.

“It was almost thick darkness. I could hear something, probably an owl. It was kind of cold. I didn’t feel safe,” she recalled.

So she stepped back into her home — carefully feeling her way. Sister Frome, of the Afton 4th Ward, has been blind since multiple sclerosis took her sight more than 20 years ago. Back inside, she walked toward a large picture window looking out over this western Wyoming community in what is known as Star Valley.

“I knew that toward that window, I could look. I knew the temple was down there. You don’t have to have [the five senses] to feel. It’s very special to know it’s down there,” she told the Church News.

The sacred edifice to which she refers is the new Star Valley Wyoming Temple, which opened its doors to the public on Friday, Sept. 23, and which will be dedicated on Sunday, Oct. 30. (See the report in the Sept. 23 issue of the Church News.)

Sister Frome’s home sits just outside the mouth of a canyon adjacent to what was once known as the Haderlie Farm, upon which the temple has been erected on the east side of Highway 89. On a warm fall day, with the colors on the mountains surrounding this valley turning crimson and yellow, this sister known for her warm smile and homemade rolls spoke of her feelings for the temple after attending a special neighborhood tour.

And she expressed her heartfelt gratitude for the gift of a 3D replica of the new edifice recently presented to her by members of the temple open house public relations committee. Committee members JC Inskeep, who ordered the replica from an online business, and Pat Davis are members of Sister Frome’s ward. In addition, Sister Davis is her visiting teacher.

“To tell you my feelings about the replica, I can touch it and feel everything, but it’s the feeling inside. Isn’t the temple all about love, when it comes down to it? It’s all about love,” Sister Frome said, with the small model near her hands. “That’s the thing that touches my heart. It’s not feeling with your fingers as much as the feeling it gives me inside, that people are so thoughtful.”

It’s not easy, actually, to find anyone in this valley who doesn’t know Sister Frome. Along with rearing her six children here, she worked for many years as the school librarian at Star Valley High School as well as served in ward and stake callings, such as in Young Women and Relief Society. Now retired and a grandmother of 27, she’s known to whip up a batch of mini-bread loaves or arrange to make someone dinner.

“Our whole ward looks up to Peggy,” Brother Inskeep told the Church News. “If we could have the same countenance of the Savior that Peggy has, I think we’d all do better.”

Sister Frome is quick to speak of the Atonement when discussing life’s challenges. “Someday, it’s going to be all better because of what Christ did for us. I’m not going to be blind forever.”

And although she has seen with her eyes only eight of her 27 grandchildren, and she has endured the passing of a 21-year-old daughter, Kathryn, whose likeness is in a large painting in her dining room, Sister Frome is quick to turn attention from her own trials.

“I look at other people so much worse off than I am. I think if they trust in the Lord and they know that everything we go through, there’s a purpose. It’s how we become what we need to become.”

For this silver-haired former librarian, the temple is the key to that peace. And she wants the youth to realize this. “I want them to understand that it’s worth everything they have to be worthy. It’s all about happiness.”

And, she added, “Who doesn’t want happiness?”

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