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Columbus youth literally build a ‘covenant path’ that leads to the temple

‘The youth of the Church have been instructed by prophets that true happiness can be found as they stay on the covenant path that leads to the temple’

COLUMBUS, Ohio — In preparation for the open house and rededication of the Columbus Ohio Temple, Latter-day Saint youth from the temple district literally built a path that led to the temple.

The path was also an answer to the prayers of members of the subcommittee assigned to oversee parking and transportation for the open house of the renovated temple — which was rededicated by President M. Russell Ballard, Acting President of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, on June 4, 2023.

President Gordon B. Hinckley announced the Columbus Ohio Temple during a visit on April 25, 1998; he later dedicated the completed edifice on Sept. 4, 1999, as the Church’s 60th temple.

Closed for three years to undergo extensive renovation, the 11,745-square-foot temple sits on 5 acres in central Ohio and will serve about 57,000 Latter-day Saints in congregations in Ohio, Pennsylvania and West Virginia.

The temple is located next to a Latter-day Saint chapel, with both buildings utilizing the same parking lot. For the open house, however, members of the temple open house committee had to find additional parking space.

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President M. Russell Ballard, Acting President of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, waves to those in line as he arrives for the first of two sessions of the Columbus Ohio Temple rededication on Sunday, June 4, 2023. | Scott G Winterton, Deseret News

During the original 1999 open house, the land across from the temple was fields and those were used during the open house and dedication. However, in the 24 years since the dedication, businesses have filled the open space.

Stephen Kron, a member of the rededication committee overseeing parking, noticed that a neighboring industrial plant, separated from the temple by a swath of trees, seemed to regularly have open spots in their large parking lot. As he worked to contact the plant manager and get approval for the volunteers, missionaries and others to park there, his committee also worked to figure out a way so people could get to the temple, as there wasn’t a sidewalk. 

The business had a gravel path for employees to use, and Kron got permission to connect their path to the temple’s parking lot. Youth from the Marysville Ward, Columbus Ohio North Stake, literally built the path.

“The youth of the Church have been instructed by prophets that true happiness can be found as they stay on the covenant path that leads to the temple,” Kron noted. “All young people have the chance to do that if they so desire. However, few of those youth will ever have the opportunity to help build the path that leads to the temple. The youth of the Marysville Ward can be counted in that select group of path builders.”

With the help of area youth, members of the local temple committee built a path between a parking area and the temple grounds, which they dubbed the “Covenant Path” because it leads to the Columbus Ohio Temple. Photo taken on Saturday, June 3, 2023. | Scott G Winterton, Deseret News

The path — which the youth dubbed the “Covenant Path” — also has great meaning to people in Ohio, where the first Latter-day Saint temple was dedicated on March 27, 1836.

As recorded in Doctrine and Covenants 110, the Savior appeared to Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdrey on the day of the dedication.

“I have accepted this house,” He told them of the Kirtland Temple. “... The fame of this house shall spread to foreign lands; and this is the beginning of the blessing which shall be poured out upon the heads of my people.”

Astrid Kron and Stephen Kron, pose for photos outside the Columbus Ohio Temple prior to the second of two rededication sessions on Sunday, June 4, 2023. | Scott G Winterton, Deseret News

Following his ordination as President of the Church in January 2018, President Russell M. Nelson addressed Latter-day Saints from the Salt Lake Temple annex.

“As a new presidency, we want to begin with the end in mind,” President Nelson explained. “For this reason, we are speaking to you today from a temple. The end for which each of us strives is to be endowed with power in a house of the Lord, sealed as families, faithful to the covenants made in a temple that qualify us for the greatest gift of God, that of eternal life.”

In a press conference following that sacred address, President Nelson added: “Now, to each member of the Church I say: Keep on the covenant path. Your commitment to follow the Savior by making covenants with Him and then keeping those covenants will open the door to every spiritual blessing and privilege available to men, women and children everywhere.”

After working to prepare a literal path to the temple, Kron said the youth in the Columbus Temple district have a better understanding of their own covenants.

“There were so many people that came on that path,” he said. 

People line up to enter the Columbus Ohio Temple prior to the first of two rededication sessions on Sunday, June 4, 2023. | Scott G Winterton, Deseret News
The Columbus Ohio Temple of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints on Saturday, June 1, 2023. | Scott G Winterton, Deseret News
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