Winter wonderland in L.A.

The Los Angeles Temple grounds, with its green-leafed palm trees and Southern California shrubbery, became a winter wonderland Nov. 25 when 150,000 multi-colored lights were turned on by Temple Pres. Glen H. Walker.

Some 8,000 people, including many government, business, religious and civic leaders, watched as Pres. Walker gave the signal for myriad red, green and white lights strung throughout the temple grounds to be turned on. Set against a backdrop of the white, lighted temple, hundreds of green lights snaked up the trunks of palm trees, topped with red lights "spidering" out the palm leaves.The leaves on other trees glowed with bright white lights. Included among the festive decorations is a Nativity scene.

Before the lighting ceremony began, some 200 attended a special reception in the visitors center. Attending were major television and media executives and personalities, including Mark Willes, chief executive officer of the Times-Mirror Corp., which publishes the Los Angeles Times, and who is a member of the Church; and interfaith leaders, including those from local Muslim and Jewish communities.

Every year, the Christmas lights draw people onto the temple grounds, and many into the visitors center. Elder Ralph Meadows, who is serving with his wife, Dolores, as missionaries in the visitors center, noted that some 7,000 came into the visitors center during November. During December, that number is estimated to reach 10,000, he added.

In describing his observations of those looking at the lights, Elder Meadows related: "The other night my wife and I were walking around the temple grounds and walked up to the Nativity scene. The people there seemed so reverent and enthralled with that."

A series of Christmas concerts, free of charge, is planned for the holiday season at the visitors center. The lights will be turned off Jan. 5.