Primary children walked quietly up the front path to the Mount Timpanogos Utah Temple. The boys wore white shirts and ties, the girls their best Sunday dresses.
Visitors waiting in line to attend the temple open house watched the children, from the Highland 10th Ward, Highland Utah Stake, proceed with their arms folded toward the steps of the temple. There they sang "I Am a Child of God," "I Love to See the Temple" and "My Heavenly Father Loves Me."The visitors stopped chattering and listened.
The children's choir was one of the more than 800 Primary choirs – made up from every ward and branch in the temple district – that will perform near the front entrance to the temple at least once during the open house from Aug. 6 though Sept. 21. Members of the temple committee say the children, who will not perform during school hours or late at night, will set the tone for the visitors who enter the temple.
"As people come by hearing these beautiful hymns, their hearts are touched and they enter the temple with a spirit of reverence and gratitude," said Stephen M. Studdert, vice chairman of the Mount Timpanogos Utah Temple Committee and president of Highland Utah East Stake.
Pres. Studdert explained that people visiting the temple have just come from busy congested streets. As they hear the children sing of the Savior, he continued, it touches them and helps them think about what they are going to see. The songs cause "you to ponder who you are and the magnitude of the Lord," he said.
Carl L. Cook, president of the Orem Utah Sharon Park Stake, said the children bring a great enthusiasm for the temple – which the visitors feel – with them when they perform. "Today there was a group of about 15 youngsters," he recalled. "They were singing with all their heart. It was just as loud as some of the largest choirs."
Pres. Studdert said the temple committee hoped to "engage the children in a way that would sweeten the temple open house experience and sweeten their life."
Pres. Studdert said during the last four months that the children have had their assignments, Primary leaders focused on the temple during their lessons and sharing time. In turn, the children shared their enthusiasm and knowledge about the temple with their families.
Donna Wade of the Highland 10th Ward said the children have been talking about singing at the temple since they received the assignment.
Elder M. Russell Ballard of the Quorum of the Twelve said during a media tour of the temple that this is an experience the choir members will remember for years to come.
"Just think," he said, "what it will mean to these little children, when they have children, to be able to come to the temple and say, `When I was your age I was able to stand out and sing to those who came to the open house at the Mount Timpanogos Temple.' "