A Special Tour of the Ogden Utah LDS Temple

I have a lot of catching up to do, but I am also going to attempt to record (and then actually post) things as they happen. A couple weeks ago, Steve came home from work and handed me this invitation. It kind of made my day. 

So this afternoon, Steve and I were able to go on a special tour of the Ogden Temple. The following photos are from www.mormonnewsroom.org. 

The tour began in the tabernacle, which has been completely renovated and looks sharp. We went into a room and watched a 12-minute video about temples with our tour guide, Elder Marlin Jensen.

Elder Jensen asked everyone in our group to introduce themselves. There were quite a few people from Salt Lake, a man from Saratoga Springs, a couple from Pennsylvania, and others from the Ogden area. Steve said that we were Steve and Emily Ballard from Ogden. Elder Jensen asked if we were business owners. . . which means I must have been dressed nice enough to be confused with someone who does business instead of a stay-at-home-mom who spent all morning cleaning the baseboards. Steve told him we owned Sonora Grill. Elder Jensen immediately stopped and told everyone he would like to bear his testimony of the Chicken Tostada Salad. It was awesome.

There's been a lot of chatter about the interior finishes in the Ogden Temple, and it doesn't take long to figure out why. The dark mahogany African wood next to the Egyptian marble is unusually dramatic.

Elder Jensen expressed his concern about all of the ornate finishes in the temple and made the analogy of a precious jewel inside of a box.

The box that holds the jewel becomes precious and valuable because of what it contains. But he hopes that everyone who goes through the temple will focus not on the box, but on the jewel, which is the covenants that are made in the temple. He later explained covenants as "promises that help guide our behavior".

Steve absolutely loved the paintings in the baptistry. The paintings throughout the entire temple really were phenomenal. Before we left the baptistry, Elder Jensen paused and said, "Doesn't that water look inviting? We'd really like to baptize some of you before we move on, but they won't let us do that today."

We spent quite a lot of time in the brides' room. . . probably about as long as I did on my wedding day. 

Elder Jensen had such magnificent things to say about the temple. I wish that everyone who goes through the temple during the open house could have him as their guide. It felt like we were listening to a general conference talk in every single room. I had to pull out my phone a few times to take notes.

Elder Jensen served as president of the Utah North Area while my Grandpa Malouf was in the Logan Utah Temple Presidency. He told me he remembered eating bread with my grandparents in their home and mentioned how healthy they ate. He looked up at me and said, "You are much taller than them. The bread must have worked!"

The chapel that you sit in while you are waiting for a session is beautiful with lots of light. . . I'm thinking it must be located on the other side of these windows: 

There were some nonmembers in our group, so he attempted to explain how going to the temple makes him feel. He said that the word temple is associated with the "center" and we can go to the temple to feel "centered". Whatever difficulties and hardships we are facing, we can go to the temple and gain a renewed sense of focus. 

Steve sat down on the left side in this instruction room, also known as an endowment room, for his first time ever. . . 

While we were in the endowment room, Elder Jensen said that a rich person endows someone with money. At the temple, we are endowed with context. "We are in a three-act play" he told us. "But we are stepping into the second act without any context." Before we left the room, Elder Jensen bore us his testimony of temples. It was a special thing to hear.  

There was no talking while we were in the celestial room. It was exceptionally quiet. 

Everyone sat still. . . except for Steve, who walked around and inspected everything


We exited and walked around to the south side of the temple where a large tent is set up to provide a reception area. There were a number of displays about temples and a couple of tables covered with sandwiches, fruit, cheese, cupcakes, chocolates, and cookies. (I asked if they would be serving cookies at the open house, and the answer is no. The mess at the Brigham City Temple open house caused some problems, so the Ogden Temple open house will only be serving water.)

I've had a few discussions about iPhone pictures lately, and these next couple of pictures that I took are a great example.

I took this picture with my new (expensive) camera:

And I took this picture with my iPhone: 

The iPhone (and Snapseed) wins. . . 

Steve and I walked around the entire exterior of the temple: 

And then we down the block to Sonora Grill because we were in need of a new picture of the restaurant for Facebook. It took about 15 minutes to catch a break without cars driving through the intersection, but we finally got one:

It's really exciting to feel the energy in downtown Ogden. The community has been working to prepare for the estimated 750,000 visitors who are expected to come to town over the next six weeks. Steve has been involved with preparing downtown businesses for the influx in visitors and we have seen a lot of neat projects come to fruition. I lived in Vernal during the dedication of the Vernal Temple in 1997 and feel lucky to be involved with my second temple open house. (In comparison, the Vernal Utah Temple was toured by approximately 118,700 visitors during its two-week open house.)


Stephanie said...

This makes me wish that we lived in Utah again. Almost. I can't wait to go to this Temple, again. For the first time.

Rebecca said...

That is so funny about what Elder Jensen said about the bread and about the salad at Sonora Grill!

Gloria said...

Thanks for the wonderful review of your open house. When we went through Gilbert there was too many people to do any talking. How lucky you got this special tour. Great memories! I love the new picture of Sonora!