Last Friday night (January 31), we had the honor of touring the newly-finished Draper LDS Temple.
(Photograph by David C. Moore)
We left Anthony with my parents, because, frankly, he’s three and reverence isn’t a strength of his, and I’ve learned he doesn’t *do* crowds. Well, not without a lot of weeping, wailing, and gnashing of teeth. (That goes for forced reverence, too.)
Anyway, I’d been preparing the kids for about a week before our tour. We broke out the wedding album and they oooh-ed and aaah-ed over our wedding photos (what I wouldn’t give to wear that size again!). We talked about the different rooms they’d see, and what the significance was. I made a special point to talk about the Bride’s Room to each of my kids, telling Alex to get a good look, since he wouldn’t ever see the inside of one again. I also told my girls that there are two times a woman gets to see it– when they get married in the temple, and again when their daughters do. We talked about the baptismal font and the significance of the oxen, and Alex and Kendra were elated to know they could utilize it as soon as they turn 12. We talked about the Celestial Room, and how it’s such a beautiful, sacred place. They were thrilled to be learning more about the temple, and I was thrilled that they were so excited about it.
When Friday came, they were literally bouncing off the walls.
We went to a local Stake Center where we waited to view a video about the history of the Draper Temple, and then we boarded a shuttle bus that took us to it. After walking through a maze of tents, we made it into the building, and from the minute we walked through the doors, my kids were in awe. Gold drinking fountains! Flower arrangements! Marble flooring! Stained-glass windows! Etched glass! Carvings in the ceiling! Shiny wooden furniture and trim with nary a fingerprint! (That was me.)
My funny kids were excited about every little thing we saw. (Lockers! Keys! Mirrors!) When we walked into the Bride’s Room, I thought Kendra and Hannah were going to die of beauty overload. (The sconces! Oh, the sconces… and the golden three-way mirror! And the chandelier!) Even Kenny and Alex were impressed. The tour moved on, and we wound our way through each room with the thousands of others who were there. (I only had the urge to “baaa” a few times, when I was feeling especially claustrophobic, but I refrained. See? You CAN take me out in public!) I was so proud of my kids. They were polite and reverent and patient, and genuinely interested in seeing every square inch of the temple.
When we got to the Celestial Room, it literally took my breath away. I’ve only been to the Salt Lake Temple once, for a wedding, and all the rest of my temple experiences have been at the Jordan River Temple. The Celestial Room there is equally beautiful, but different. When we walked into the Draper Temple room, my eyes were immediately drawn upward, to the vaulted (exalted?) ceiling. It seemed to go on forever, which was probably the intention, but it was just so amazing. There were sconces on the walls there, too, that matched the chandelier, and Sego Lilies carved into the ceiling. I wanted to curl up in one of the chairs and absorb the impact of the room, but we were hurried through too quickly.
After our tour ended, we went to the adjacent LDS church for refreshments. (Insert Mormon joke here…) They had an amazing display of temples throughout the world, and it was really neat for Kenny to be able to show the kids the picture of the Freiberg Germany Temple and tell them, “I went there when I was on my mission. We went there a lot!” We saw a list of temples currently under construction, and counted up all the temples that were dedicated in 2004. (I can’t remember. Twelve? Fourteen?)
Long story short? It was an amazing, uplifting night.
For over a week now, I’ve tried to harness the good feelings I brought home from the temple. I decided that since I can’t actually live inside the Draper Temple (darn it!), I will have to do my best to make my own home as close to the temple as I can. I’m not sure I’ll ever have shiny, glossy wood furniture without smudges or fingerprints, but I can have an orderly house. I may not have etched-glass windows or elaborate floral arrangements, but the house looks pretty when the blinds are opened during the day, and it won’t be long before the tulips start to bloom. It’s not practical to expect a house of whispered reverence (especially with a rambunctious three-year-old), but we can make sure we speak words of love and respect. Of truth.
It’s a lot to aspire to. I realize this. It’s going to take a lot of hard work, some major sacrifice, and a few hundred trips to Deseret Industries, but in the long run, it will be worth it.
After all, who wouldn’t want to come home to this every night?