The Spirit of God was at the center of the hearts of the many families who gathered to witness the dedication of the Oquirrh Mountain Temple. Many woke up as early as 4 am to be at the temple grounds
Children lined the area set apart for the cornerstone ceremony. They waited, and wiggled and watched in their Sunday best. One girl clutched a camera, another put on glittery lip gloss. They watched with eager eyes for the Prophet to come.
Several impromptu choruses of “I Love to See the Temple,” “I Belong to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints,” and “The Wise Man Built His House upon the Rock,” were sung to help keep the children’s minds off the waiting and on the temple.
President and Sister Monson arrived first. President Monson noticed a young boy dressed sharply in a suit and tie, and commented, pointing to him, “Now there’s a missionary.”
The young man recounted the experience with a smile a few minutes later to other family members.
Just before the Prophet came out, the mortar was mixed and shining inscribed trowels were laid out.
Joy filled the children’s faces as the prophet rounded the corner and made his way to the cornerstone.
President Monson smiled and remarked that they had prayed for a beautiful day — sometimes they had to pray for a break in the weather to perform the ceremony, “but today our prayers were answered with sunshine in abundance.”
It wasn’t long before President Monson had everyone smiling and laughing with his comments and antics, as when he made the motion of “knighting” the man who handed him the mortar trowels.
The Prophet reminded us that he was not a professional, but would do the best he could. He also noted that when he invited others to help with the job, we would see they wouldn’t do any better than he; then, when everyone was finished, the “professionals” would come in and do it right.
When he’d finished, President Monson stood back to admire his handiwork.
As President Uchtdorf took his turn, President Monson joked, “Not bad for a pilot.”
When President Monson invited the temple president, Alan Layton, to participate in the sealing of the cornerstone, he commented that they were going to take his temple away from him and give it to the Lord. With respect in his voice, President Monson told the crowd they had to find President Layton in Chile, where he was building homes for those who needed them: “That’s the kind of man he is.”
President Monson chose several children from the crowd to participate. Most of them were eager except for one little girl who buried her face in her father’s shoulders. No one could suppress a smile as her dad tried to invite her to look up from the safety of his arms.
The crowd began pointing to a young man with Down syndrome. He would be a good choice, they seemed to say. President Monson invited him up. Matt, 19 years old, has a special connection to the temple. His mother told me that one day while visiting the temple grounds Matt said, “Look at the angel, Mom.” She replied, “Yes, that’s the angel Moroni.” “No Mom, look at the angels. They are guarding the temple.” Angels truly are coming to visit it the earth.
We’ll sing and we’ll shout with the armies of heaven. The choir filled the air with music, praising the Lord for this beautiful temple.
After the cornerstone ceremony was complete …
… the “professionals” came in with caulking guns.
I asked many of the participants what the Spirit of God felt like to them, today. Here are some of their responses:
“It felt like a fire. It was crystal clear. I was crying.” — Junior “It felt like a big group hug.” — Cory “It felt powerful, overwhelming I needed to take a deep breath.” — Cassidy “I felt a sense of well-being plus butterflies.” — Nick
“It was a simple feeling of peace; all worries disappeared.” — Landon It felt like the Lord was present. It was a warm fuzzy feeling.” — Kathleen “It felt like my heart strings are connected to my tear ducts.” — Candace “It made me want to sing. The Prophet was so happy and made everyone laugh. I felt so happy.” — Jordan After little Sam reported he felt really happy his mom said, “Now wasn’t that worth getting your church clothes on?” Sam (front) smiled, and shook his head to say, “No.”
Alice, a mother and grandmother, told me she woke up that morning crying. It was such a privilege and opportunity to be there with her daughter and her grandchildren. “Happiness comes from peace.” The kind of peace you feel here. We are truly a temple-loving people.
“Every foundation stone that is laid for a Temple, and every Temple completed according to the order the Lord has revealed for his holy Priesthood, lessens the power of Satan on the earth, and increases the power of God and Godliness, moves the heavens in mighty power in our behalf, invokes and calls down upon us the blessings of the Eternal Gods, and those who reside in their presence.” — George Q. Cannon
“Temples are the very center of the spiritual strength of the Church.” — President Boyd K. Packer The Spirit of God burns like a fire in the heart of Latter-day Saints and leads them to the temple. A place of love. A place of peace. A place where family is central and eternal.
A house of God.