In the top of the mountains

If you haven’t figured out yet, I’m a Mormon, a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and I love architecture particularly religious architecture. To me one of the most sacred places on earth is the temple, one of the more than 140 LDS temples around the world. Being in a temple for me is akin to being on top of a mountain, in a vast forest and lost in nature. I feel the presence of a loving creator and parent, and I feel peace.

Hong Kong Temple

I believe that the temple is the house of the Lord. It is a place where I can commune with Him, learn and gain insight into His plan, and perform service for my fellow earthly sojourners. And, one of the best things about temples, is I don’t have to go and seek out a quiet piece of wilderness or climb a mountain to find this peace and communion. I’ve found it in New York City across the street from the Lincoln Center and in Hong Kong just one stop from Mong Kok; I can drive thirty minutes after work and find three close to where I live now.

LDS Temple in Manhattan

LDS Temple in Manhattan

Because of how I feel about the temple, I’ve tried to visit as many as possible. Remember my road trip to South Carolina a few years ago? Or how about my other road trip to California when I got back from China two years ago? At this point I’m up to 54 of the 170 dedicated, announced or under-construction temples around the world (see my temples list).

As you might guess, there are more temples in the State of Utah than anywhere else because of the concentrated population of Latter-day Saints. So, when I was there last month, I took the opportunity to visit one of the temples I hadn’t seen before and tour one that has just been completely reconstructed. In addition to those two I saw nine other temples. At this point I’ve now seen all 16 in Utah that are built or are under construction (a seventeenth has been announced).

The Ogden Temple Open House

Aug 2014 Ogden Temple Open House (7)The oldest settlement in Utah is Ogden about 40 miles north of Salt Lake City. In 1972, the first version of the Ogden Temple was dedicated. About five years ago, the church announced it would redesign the facade of the building and create a lovely landscaped park around it as part of the city’s downtown revitalization efforts. When they started the work, they realized more needed to be replaced than originally expected, so they basically tore it all down and reconstructed the temple from the bottom up.

Before a temple is dedicated, the church holds a public open house for all interested parties to go inside before it is closed to the public. When I found I would be in Utah during the open house, I made reservations immediately. I was excited to not just see the beautiful exterior renovations but also the new interior. It was the second open house I’ve experienced this year and won’t be the last with the Phoenix Temple opening to the public for a few weeks in October prior to its dedication.

The building is exquisite with stunning details and magnificent design elements, but what makes it truly special is the feeling one has when visiting. I was fortunate enough to share this experience with my family—four generations of it!

Two Landmarks of Faith

Aug 2014 Brigham City Temple (10)Besides visiting the Salt Lake and Oquirrh Mountain Temples and driving by others, the one that I made a special trip to see is in Brigham City even further north. This temple was dedicated in 2012 after I had moved from Utah after college, so this was my first time seeing it. Unfortunately, it was closed for its regularly scheduled annual cleaning, so we just saw it from outside the fence.

Right across the street though is the historic Box Elder Stake Tabernacle, a pioneer-era building that has been the center of worship for Latter-day Saints throughout this northern Utah region for more than a century. The doors were open inviting my dad and me to go inside.

Aug 2014 Brigham City Tabernacle (11)It is a beautiful work of pioneer craftsmanship and perseverance (the current building is the second after the first burnt down six years after construction in 1896). It is listed on the National Register of Historic Places as a National Historic Landmark. Positioned right across the street from the much newer temple, the two complement each other and reflect the rich heritage of faith in this small city.

Temples dot the mountains and valleys all around Utah. Here are pictures of the other Beehive State temples.

If you’re interested in having one of my temple pictures on your wall, please send me a message, so I can send you the full resolution. My pics are hanging on the walls of homes around the country.

The post title references a verse in the Old Testament book of Isaiah (2:2-3), which reads: “And it shall come to pass in the last days, that the mountain of the Lord’s house shall be established in the top of the mountains, and shall be exalted above the hills; and all nations shall flow unto it. And many people shall go and say, Come ye, and let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, to the house of the God of Jacob; and he will teach us of his ways, and we will walk in his paths …”  
This passage can also be found in The Book of Mormon.

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