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Episode 164: Historian Matthew C. Godfrey on the ongoing legacy of the St. George Utah Temple

Early Saints celebrated the St. George Utah Temple, exclaiming ‘glory, hallelujah!’ Now the renovated temple will be rededicated by President Jeffrey R. Holland

The historic St. George Utah Temple of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is the Church’s longest-operating house of the Lord. Originally dedicated on April 6, 1877, and rededicated on Nov. 11, 1975, the temple is set to be rededicated again after extensive renovations. President Jeffrey R. Holland, Acting President of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, will rededicate the edifice on Dec. 10. President Holland is a native of southern Utah who was married in the St. George Utah Temple.

This episode of the Church News podcast features Matthew C. Godfrey, senior managing historian for outreach and engagement in the Church History Department, discussing how the temple in St. George has changed the lives of generations of Latter-day Saints and how the most recent maintenance of the temple will continue to point its patrons toward Jesus Christ.

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Transcript:

Matthew C. Godfrey: You know, one of the really interesting things about temple work in the Church is it really has been there from the beginning. I mean, when you think about it, when Moroni appears to Joseph Smith in 1823, one of the scriptures that he quotes is from Malachi, that talks about the sealing power, which, of course, is instrumental in the temple. And now, there’s so many that have been announced or under construction or operating at this time. You can really see the hastening of the Lord’s work and how it’s so important to have these ordinances, because they really do bind us to the Savior, to Jesus Christ. And we need that strength so much as we go through these challenging and difficult days. So, I just feel blessed to live in a time when we have so many temples.

0:59

Sarah Jane Weaver: This is Sarah Jane Weaver, executive editor of the Church News, welcoming you to the Church News podcast. We are taking you on a journey of connection as we discuss news and events of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

The historic St. George Utah Temple of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is the Church’s longest-operating house of the Lord, having been originally dedicated on April 6, 1877, and rededicated on Nov. 11, 1975. The temple is set to be rededicated again Dec. 10, after extensive renovations. The St. George Utah Temple is just one of a handful of pioneer-era temples to undergo renovations in recent years, with President Russell M. Nelson reminding listeners in an October 2018 general conference talk, “Building and maintaining temples may not change your life, but spending your time in the temple surely will.”

This episode of the Church News podcast features senior managing historian for outreach and engagement in the Church History Department, Matthew C. Godfrey. He will discuss how the St. George temple has changed the lives of generations of Latter-day Saints and how the most recent renovations of the temple will continue to point its patrons towards Jesus Christ. Welcome to the podcast, Matt.

Matthew C. Godfrey: Thank you. It’s great to be here. Thanks for having me on.

St. George Temple with taller tower and annex, circa 1900. | The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

2:26

Sarah Jane Weaver: Now, you’ve spent so much of your career focused on Joseph Smith. Give us a little bit of your background.

Matthew C. Godfrey: So, I come from a family of historians. My parents were both historians, and I guess it kind of got into my blood. I have a Ph.D. in history, worked for about eight and a half years as a historical consultant in Montana — doing a lot of research for the federal government — and then came to the Joseph Smith Papers in 2010 and worked on that project for a long time. I was the managing historian of the project for about eight years. I’m also still a general editor on the project. I’ve been a general editor since 2015. And I also was the lead historian on three volumes in the Documents series. So, spent a lot of time with Joseph Smith. Absolutely loved it. The Prophet’s a real hero of mine, and I’ve really enjoyed studying his life.

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3:19

Sarah Jane Weaver: Well, I’m so glad that today we get to talk about something that was so important to Joseph Smith as well as the prophets who followed him in the latter-day Restoration, and that’s temples and temple building and temple ordinances. Let’s talk about the St. George temple. Tell us about the early Latter-day Saints that settled this area.

3:41

Matthew C. Godfrey: Yeah, it’s kind of interesting. So, for me, when my family and I moved to Utah, we started to go to St. George quite a bit. I think a lot of people who live in northern Utah go to St. George, you know, for the sun and the warmth, especially in the winter. But when settlers were called by Brigham Young and other Church leaders to first go down there and settle the area, most of them were not enthusiastic about it. They saw the area as, you know, a dry, hot, dusty place. Many of them had established farms already, and they didn’t want to leave their farms and their houses to go start over yet again in the St. George area.

Out of the original settlers who are called to go down there in 1861, only about half of them stayed. The other half left. But I think those who stayed really were some of the, you know, greatest pioneers that we had from that generation. Some of them just wanted to do what the Lord asked them to do, wanted to do what their leaders asked them to do. One of the great stories that I love about this, Robert Gardner Jr. was asked to go down and settle St. George. And according to one account, this is what he said at that time: He said, “I looked and spit, took off my hat and scratched [my head] and thought and said, ‘All right.’” And then he went and took off and did his best to build up the area. But some people, when they got down there and they saw kind of the bareness of where they were supposed to settle, it was really daunting for them.

George and Ann Jarvis were another couple who went down to St. George. They got there, they got to the land where they were supposed to settle. All they could see was really this big mesquite bush on the land. And so, George said to Ann, “It’s time to get out of the wagon. This is the place.” And she got out and started to cry. And then she kind of stopped herself, composed herself, and said to her children, “Don’t you dare cry. This is where we’ve been asked to come and settle. And we’re going to do the best that we can here.” And so, I think that attitude really portrayed the attitude of a lot of the people who went to St. George and really built up the area down there.

Andy Kirby, director of historic temple renovations for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, talks to members of the media outside the unfinished entrance of the St. George Utah Temple on Friday, Nov. 6, 2020, in St. George. The new entrance replaces an older one built in the 1970s and reflects the aesthetic of the original temple. The historic temple is undergoing renovations that are expected to be completed in 2022. | Nick Adams, for the Deseret News

6:01

Sarah Jane Weaver: Well, I’m so glad you talked about this terrain. Elder Jeffrey R. Holland — who calls St. George home, who talks about growing up with red sand in his shoes and in his bones — has said repeatedly that this is a hot, rocky, sandy place where the Virgin River flooded every year. And then this landscape had to have brought extra challenges to the construction of a temple.

6:29

Matthew C. Godfrey: Sure. It’s interesting; one of the major challenges that they had is not one that you would think of, necessarily, when you think about St. George, because it is so hot and dry down there. But the area that Brigham Young selected for the location of the St. George temple was actually a marshy area, and people worried that it would not be able to support such a large building as a temple.

And so one of the things that they had to do before they built the foundation of the temple is they had to haul in black volcanic rock from the surrounding area, they took it to the area where the temple was to be built, and they had to pound it into the ground to provide kind of a stable footing for the foundation. And they used this cannon that they had, that they had repurposed as a pile driver, and they’d pull the cannon up in the air and then drop it till it hit the ground. And that would pound the volcanic rock into the ground. And they knew that the ground was stable enough when, if they dropped the cannon, it bounced three times. If it did that, then they understood, “OK, it’s good,” you know. “It’ll support a foundation.” So, that was one of the challenges that they faced.

The other thing that I think is interesting is actually the St. George temple, because of the climate of the area where it was built, it actually provided some advantages to the Saints, because you could basically work on the temple year-round. And, of course, at the same time that they’re building the St. George temple, the Salt Lake Temple’s under construction — that takes many, many more years to build, and there’s a whole host of reasons for that, but one reason was they couldn’t work on the Salt Lake Temple, necessarily, year-round.

But in St. George, because of the mild temperatures in the winter, you could have people in northern Utah who were farmers, and in the offseason, they would come down to St. George, and they’d work on the temple for the winter before going back up to their homes. So there actually was a few advantages that the climate and the area provided for building the temple.

8:34

Sarah Jane Weaver: Well, that’s really fascinating. I’m going to throw some numbers out — and if they’re wrong, you’ll have to correct me — but it took 40 years to build the Salt Lake Temple.

Matthew C. Godfrey: Right.

Sarah Jane Weaver: The St. George temple is completed in just six years, announced in 1871 by President Brigham Young. Why did they put so much effort so quickly into building a temple when it probably was fairly daunting just to build the community?

8:59

Matthew C. Godfrey: Yeah, that’s a great question. The community of St. George really gets settled in 1861. And so, 10 years after this, you have Brigham Young announcing that a temple will be built in the area. And I think there’s a couple of different reasons for this. One was — because it was so hard to build the community down there, because you had so many people who would come down and leave — I think Brigham Young foresaw that perhaps having kind of a public works project down there would help unite the people together. It would prove to be an economic boon and kind of facilitate the establishment of St. George.

The St. George Utah Temple of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
The St. George Temple of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is shown Friday, March 24, 2023 in St. George, Utah. Renovation work that began in 2020 is nearing completion. | Nick Adams, for the Deseret News

So, just a couple of years after they settled the area in 1861, Brigham Young actually announced the construction of the St. George tabernacle. And so, the Saints were working on that before they started working on the temple. But I think Brigham Young understood that when that came to an end, the community still wasn’t established enough, and they needed something else to work on. So I think that’s one reason why he really wanted them to build the temple.

But I think an even more important reason than that was that by 1870, I think Brigham Young realized that he probably was not going to live to see the Salt Lake Temple dedicated. And he really wanted there to be an operating temple in Utah. He wanted to see that happen. The Saints had the Endowment House at the time, where they could do their own ordinances. But Brigham did not believe that ordinances for the dead should be performed in the Endowment House. And so he really wanted a temple to be constructed, where the Saints could do this work for their dead. And so I think he asked the Saints in St. George to build the temple, hoping that it would be completed before he died, which it was, and that he could see this operating temple again.

10:50 

Sarah Jane Weaver: Well, I think that’s beautiful. So, this is not just the first temple completed in Utah, but it’s also the first house of the Lord where sealings and endowments are performed by proxy for deceased ancestors.

Matthew C. Godfrey: Yeah, that’s right. That’s right.

Sarah Jane Weaver: Can you tell us some of the history of the St. George temple that people might not be familiar with?

11:11

Matthew C. Godfrey: Yeah, so I think that is one aspect right there. I think sometimes we think that the Saints were doing ordinances for the dead, you know, in Nauvoo or in the Endowment House before the St. George temple was completed. But they really did not do any endowments for the dead until the St. George temple. That was the first temple where those were performed. I think another interesting aspect of this is that before the St. George temple was dedicated, the endowment was only communicated orally. It was not written down.

And so, again, Brigham Young, I think, foreseeing that there would be more and more temples constructed, wanting to make sure that there was a standardization of the ceremony between all the different temples, he instructed Wilford Woodruff; his son, Brigham Young Jr.; George Q. Cannon; and some other local leaders in St. George to take on the task of actually writing the endowment ceremony down. And so, they worked on that from about January to April of 1877. They would work on it, Brigham Young would review it. And finally, he said, “This is right. This is what it should be.” And so this is the first time that we have kind of that standardization with the endowment ceremony, was with the St. George temple.

Construction of the St. George Temple, showing sandstone structure, circa 1875 | The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

12:31

Sarah Jane Weaver: Well, and then the St. George temple, we think of it because we have this idea of how temples are dedicated today, where the temple is completed and there’s a big dedication and then the temple becomes operational. But the St. George temple was actually dedicated in phases. Is that correct?

12:51

Matthew C. Godfrey: Yeah, so they, in January — Jan. 1, 1877 — they wanted to start doing temple ordinances as soon as they could. But the entire building wasn’t finished by that time. So what they did is they had a dedication; Wilford Woodruff dedicated the basement of the temple, which is where the baptismal font was, so that the Saints could begin performing baptisms for the dead there. Erastus Snow, one of the Apostles, dedicated the second-floor assembly room so that they could start doing the endowment there. And then Brigham Young Jr. dedicated one of the sealing rooms so that they could do sealings.

And this wasn’t unheard of. If you think back to the Kirtland Temple and the Nauvoo Temple, Joseph Smith was also performing ordinances in the Kirtland Temple before its actual dedication in March of 1836. And the same thing with the Nauvoo Temple. The Nauvoo Temple wasn’t completed in December of 1845, but Brigham Young dedicated the attic portion of the temple so that they could begin doing the endowment ceremony there. And so it kind of followed that pattern of the Saints just really wanting to get going with temple work. And so portions of the building were dedicated in January, but the entire building wasn’t dedicated until April 6, 1877.

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14:11

Sarah Jane Weaver: And I was so thrilled to see, when the Church released photos of the interior of the renovated St. George temple, that there is still an assembly room in that temple. I think that’s something that we’re not familiar with, with most temples. You know, we’ve seen that in Salt Lake, of course, in Washington, D.C. What did early Latter-day Saints use the assembly room for in the temple?

14:36

Matthew C. Godfrey: Yeah, so if you go back to the Kirtland Temple, where you had kind of a large assembly room, you have to understand that when the Saints built the Kirtland Temple, they saw it both as a place where they could, you know, have kind of spiritual experiences, but also a place that was just a meetinghouse as well. And so the Saints would hold meetings in the Kirtland Temple, in this assembly room, meetings that we might characterize today as sacrament meetings, or something like that. They were holding those in the Kirtland Temple. 

Now, the Nauvoo Temple is patterned after the Kirtland Temple. Of course, the Saints don’t really have the Nauvoo Temple for very long. They’re completing it as they’re also facing persecution. They’re realizing they’re going to have to leave, and so that temple, you know, what the assembly room would have been used for there, probably would have been similar to the Kirtland Temple.

But with the St. George temple, it really became a building that was focused on temple work and on temple ordinances rather than kind of a meetinghouse for community or church meetings. And so, from the start of the St. George temple, that assembly room was seen as a place where they could hold meetings for temple workers and hold kind of sacred gatherings there, solemn assemblies, that type of thing. And so that’s really why they had the assembly room there.

The assembly hall inside the St. George Utah Temple. | The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

15:59

Sarah Jane Weaver: Are there some anecdotes of these early temple-building efforts or even temple-going Saints that you can share with us?

Matthew C. Godfrey: Yeah. One that I really like — it’s interesting. As this renovation occurred, they found in the building something that had been placed into the wall by some of the people who had been working on the construction of the temple. They put kind of a time capsule in this temple in 1876, and this time capsule had various things in it. It had the family history of one of the workers, but a few of the workers actually wrote poetry. And they had placed these poems in this time capsule. One of the individuals who had done this was a man by the name of Joseph Townsend. At the time, he was 27 years old, he was working on the temple, he was also a storekeeper. But he would go on to write some pretty beloved hymns of Latter-day Saints. He wrote the words to “Choose the Right,” “Let Us Oft Speak Kind Words (to Each Other).” So, he becomes kind of a famous hymnist.

But at the time, when he was 27, he writes this poem that he puts in the St. George temple. And if I could just read that, I think it’s a great poem. So, it says, “Whatever be my failings and desires to Thee, O Lord, my heart be firm and true. Thy law, my law. Whatever God requires, this be my hope, His loving will to do. And whatsoever I love, with act or breath, if I should love Thee less than how I can. Remember me, O Lord, in life or death, as one that ever loves his fellow man.” So, I think that kind of shows his promise as a hymnist. It’s a beautiful poem that he writes. And he wanted it to be preserved in the St. George temple, both to show that he had worked on the temple, but also to show his dedication and his consecration to the Lord.

17:54

Sarah Jane Weaver: Well, that’s what I was thinking, that it reflects the feelings of this community at large, that are working hard to settle a community in a place that’s hard and to build a temple at the same time.

Matthew C. Godfrey: Yeah. They really had to be united and consecrated and dedicated to this work.

Sarah Jane Weaver: Wow. Well, in his dedicatory prayer, President Daniel H. Wells prayed that the temple would “stand as a monument of purity and holiness as long as the earth shall remain.” How have we seen that prayer come to pass?

18:29

Matthew C. Godfrey: Well, for me, whenever I drive into St. George, you know, you have the beautiful red rock surrounding the area. And then the temple is just stunning, because it’s so, so white, and it looks so pure there. And so I think just the appearance of the temple showcases what President Wells was talking about in his prayer. But I also like how he says that he wants it to “stand as a monument of purity and holiness as long as the earth shall remain,” because I think that’s one of the reasons why this extensive renovation just took place in the St. George temple, was to be able to make sure that the temple would be able to last until the Millennium. 

And so I think these renovations occur so that we can keep using the temple and so that we can see President Wells’ fulfillment that it will remain as this monument of holiness and purity, which all temples are when they’re built, you know; they all symbolize that holiness and purity.

19:30

Sarah Jane Weaver: Well, and I love this idea that for such a resilient people, that there is also a temple that can be resilient, that can stand the test of time.

Matthew C. Godfrey: Yeah. And I think they really — it was a great thing for them when that temple was announced. When Brigham Young said in the meeting in January 1871 that they were going to build a temple, Erastus Snow kind of couldn’t help himself and exclaimed, “Glory, hallelujah!” Kind of like, you know, when President Nelson announces temples today, sometimes there’s kind of a murmur and a lot of joy there. So, they had that in St. George, too.

The exterior detail of the St. George Utah Temple. | The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

20:06

Sarah Jane Weaver: Well, great. So, the temple has been renovated several times. How has it changed over the years?

Matthew C. Godfrey: Yeah, so there’s been a few significant renovations. For one thing, the original tower on the temple was struck by lightning in 1878, and it was severely damaged by that. It was kind of a miracle that the temple didn’t burn down at that time, when it was struck by lightning, but it was preserved. So they had to replace the temple tower fairly early on. They built a new one in 1882. The first annex of the temple burned down in 1928, and so they had to replace that as well.

The assembly room on the second floor — because there were two assembly rooms originally in the St. George temple — and the one that’s on the second floor in 1938 was actually divided up into ordinance rooms so that the endowment ordinance could be performed all on one floor. Prior to this time, some of the ordinance rooms were in the basement, and so you had to start there, and then you’d move up to the second floor. And so they renovated it in 1938 so that you could just stay there.

And it’s interesting, too, because when they made those ordinance rooms in 1938, they had these beautiful murals that were painted and placed in the rooms. But in 1975, when they did an extensive renovation of the temple — in large part so that they could begin showing the temple film in the temple — they took down all the murals, and there were some other historic features of the temple that were eliminated at that time as well. And so, in this most recent renovation, they actually commissioned artists to paint new murals for these rooms. And those murals are absolutely beautiful. They depict kind of the surrounding area. And it just kind of shows that with this most recent renovation, they’ve really tried to put in features and woodwork and light fixtures and other things that really have a historic character, to kind of make it seem like what it would have looked like back when it was originally built in 1877.

22:15

Sarah Jane Weaver: Well, that’s beautiful. And I love the fact that Brigham Young announced the temple and then did not waste any time and broke ground for the temple on the very same day. Why did he act so quickly to make sure the project started right then?

Matthew C. Godfrey: Yeah, I think there’s a few reasons for that. One, again, was just he really wanted to see an operating temple in Utah by this time. But I think it also just shows how important the temple has always been to the Latter-day Saints. If you think about it, you know, Brigham Young was instrumental in making sure that the Nauvoo Temple got completed. According to one of Brigham’s recollections before Joseph Smith died, Joseph told him about the endowment ceremony. He said, “Brother Brigham, this is not arranged right. But we have done the best we could under the circumstances in which we are placed.” And Joseph then told Brigham Young, “Take [the] matter in hand and organize and systematize all these ceremonies.” 

And, again, before Joseph Smith’s death, he met with the Apostles, according to Orson Hyde, and he conferred upon them all of the keys. And we sometimes think that those keys are just the keys to administer the Church. But one of the important aspects of those keys were they were also the keys to administer temple ordinances. And Joseph Smith very much wanted to make sure that those keys remained on the earth so that the Saints could have their temple blessings. And so I think from these experiences, Brigham Young really understood how important temple ordinances were. And so he really wanted to make sure that the Saints had this operating temple in Utah, and so he wanted to get it going as fast as he could and just proceed along and make sure it was done before he passed away.

Details on the steps of the staircase inside the St. George Utah Temple. | The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

24:08

Sarah Jane Weaver: Well, thank you for focusing on Joseph Smith’s emphasis on the temple. I heard an interview with President Russell M. Nelson, during the pandemic, where he said closing temples was heart-wrenching because Joseph Smith and Brigham Young had sacrificed so much to bring those blessings to the earth. And we now have 335 temples announced, under construction or operating, and President Nelson has announced 153 of those. Do you think that Joseph Smith had any idea that the day would come when we would have so many temples so accessible to Latter-day Saints in so many lands?

24:50

Matthew C. Godfrey: That’s a great question. I think he probably hoped that that would happen. You know, one of the really interesting things about temple work in the Church is it really has been there from the beginning. I mean, when you think about it, when Moroni appears to Joseph Smith in 1823, one of the scriptures that he quotes is from Malachi, that talks about the sealing power, which, of course, is instrumental in the temple. And the first temple was announced in 1831, so not long after the Church was first organized.

And temple work really was key to Joseph Smith. It was very important to him. It was very important to Brigham Young as well. And so I think both of these leaders certainly hoped for — and probably foresaw — the day when the Saints would be blessed by having temples in ready proximity and have temples where they could go and perform these ordinances for themselves and for the dead.

25:45

Sarah Jane Weaver: A few years ago, we did a Church News interview with Elder David A. Bednar, who made reference to the Nauvoo Temple. And then he said he often contemplates that the Saints only went to the temple once, sometimes in their whole life. And so then they get to Utah. It takes 40 years to build the Salt Lake Temple. Certainly, the St. George temple is not accessible to Saints everywhere within the pioneer corridor of the early Church in the West. How do you feel now that temples are within two hours for almost all the members of the Church across the globe?

26:24

Matthew C. Godfrey: It’s really a remarkable thing, I mean, when you look back at the history and how it kind of progressed fairly slowly with the construction of temples. I think by the 1920s, there were just eight operating temples around the world. And now, like you said, there’s so many that have been announced or under construction or operating at this time. You can really see the hastening of the Lord’s work — as the Brethren talk about — and how it’s so important to have these ordinances, because they really do bind us to the Savior, to Jesus Christ. And we need that strength so much as we go through these challenging and difficult days. So, I just feel blessed to live in a time when we have so many temples.

St. George Utah Temple is pictured in this 2023 handout photo. | The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

27:11

Sarah Jane Weaver: And are there any significant facts about the St. George temple that we have not discussed?

Matthew C. Godfrey: So, one of the interesting things — when the temple was dedicated in April of 1877, it was actually dedicated as part of general conference. So they actually held general conference in the St. George temple, and the dedication of it was part of that. And I think that kind of showcases how important the Saints thought that the temple was, that Brigham Young wanted to have general conference held there to kind of indicate, “This temple has been dedicated. We can use it now.” So, I think that’s an important thing.

The first baptisms for the dead were done on Jan. 9, 1877. And Susie Amelia Young Dunford was the first person baptized and confirmed for the dead in the St. George temple. Wilford Woodruff was the one who performed the ordinances at the time. The first endowments were performed on Jan. 11, so just a couple of days after this. And so, again, it just kind of shows how excited the Saints were and how readily they went and started performing these ordinances for the dead.

28:18

Sarah Jane Weaver: Can you share with us your personal feelings or reflections about this temple?

Matthew C. Godfrey: Yeah, it’s interesting; I’ve never actually been through the temple. I’ve never done any work down there. But back in September, I was able to go down and go through the temple and was just stunned by the beauty of it, both the exterior and the interior. And it’s just such a place of peace. As we talked about before, it really does serve as a beacon, I think, of peace, of holiness, a symbol of our Savior’s Atonement as well. And I love seeing it whenever we go down to St. George. It’s a wonderful temple, and I could really feel the spirit, I think, of those who had built it, when I went through it. There was just a strong spirit there of the sacrifice and the consecration that those Saints had made to build this temple.

The celestial room of the St. George Utah Temple. | The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

29:14

Sarah Jane Weaver: And I think that kind of brings us full circle. We have a tradition at the Church News podcast, where we always give our guests the last word, and we always ask them the same question, and that’s: “What do you know now?” And I hope you’ll also take this opportunity to share your testimony of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and of temple work. But what do you know now, after studying early Church members and the construction and dedication of the St. George Utah Temple?

29:42

Matthew C. Godfrey: The thing that’s really stood out to me is just the sacrifice that they made to build this. You have this community of Saints — it’s, you know, 10 years old — and they’re trying to construct this major project. They didn’t have a lot of food, and so you had donations that were made from Saints all in Utah of food and of other supplies that the workers on the temple could have. And it was just really a tremendous sacrifice that they made. And as we’ve talked about, we have so many temples on the earth today. You know, I have a temple, right now from where I live, if I drive 15 minutes, I can be at the temple. And yet, how hard it is for me to sometimes get to the temple. And so when I look at the sacrifice and consecration that these Saints made, it makes me think I need to do a much better job of sacrificing what little time it takes to go to the temple, because the blessings are innumerable there.

I love the temple. It really is a place for me where I find peace. And it always hasn’t been that way for me. I remember kind of early in my married life not really feeling the spirit of the temple when I’d go there. And sometimes I just wanted to go and get it done to say I’d done it. And I think it changed for me when we moved outside of Utah and we moved to Montana. We didn’t have a temple that was readily available there. And so our stake used to do temple trips to the Spokane Washington Temple. And that’s really where my love for the temple began.

We’d go there. We would do work as a stake. And there was such a unity there and such a Spirit there. And I’ve felt that Spirit as I’ve continued to go to the temple. And I really feel close to my Savior when I’m in the temple, and I’m so grateful for temple work, for temple ordinances, for the fact that it binds us together as families and that it binds us to the Savior, because I can feel that strength in my life.

32:04

Sarah Jane Weaver: You have been listening to the Church News podcast. I’m your host, Church News executive editor Sarah Jane Weaver. I hope you have learned something today about The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints by peering with me through the Church News window. Please remember to subscribe, rate and review this podcast so it can be accessible to more people. And if you enjoyed the messages we shared today, please make sure you share the podcast with others. Thanks to our guests; my producer, KellieAnn Halvorsen; and others who make this podcast possible. Join us every week for a new episode. Find us on your favorite podcasting channels or with other news and updates on the Church on TheChurchNews.com.

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