Looking into the Heart of Texas

What am I to do when we fly to San Antonio and in four days I shoot 1,256 pictures and after publishing three major cover stories I still have 1,181 shots left?  (And this is the least I’ve ever shot due to my camera breaking.  You can’t imagine how enormous our archives are from all these journeys).  Well, the best thing to do is publish another photo essay (we work our webmaster to the bone). 

We were bowled over by the kindness and friendliness of the people of Texas.  Everywhere we went strangers were offering to help us, to direct us, to feed us.  What a place!  It was a delightful experience to be among the Latter-day Saints (and like-minded friends, like Ben Fettig (see 16 Minutes of Glorious Light).

The best thing that could happen with this particular essay is for the Latter-day Saints of central and south Texas to send these links to as many as they can.  This particular piece is a photographic exploration ‘looking into the heart of Texas.’  I love to photograph the faces of our people.  I love to capture the moments and the memories of special events.  I love the interaction of President Gordon B. Hinckley with the children at the coverstone ceremonies—this one was precious.  I love to see the youth come to the temple.  I love parents, couples and families.  You’ll see samples of all these things in the following pages.

I have prepared 48 pictures for you to look at.  Maybe you’ll see somebody you know.  Please take the time to “click to enlarge” the pictures so you can enjoy them more fully.  There are subtle things in many of them.  I’ve divided the essay into five basic parts:  1)  The member meeting on Saturday night; 2)  The youth coming to the temple; 3)  Adults and families; 4)  President Hinckley with the children; and 5)  A variety of individuals and families.

I will only give brief captions to lead you through this essay.  This essay is a tribute to the fine folks of the San Antonio Temple district.  Blessings to you all as you come to love your new temple on a hill.

This is indeed a new landmark in San Antonio. Everyone is talking about “the Mormon Temple.” It sits as a beacon on a hill “which cannot be hid.”

Members of the choir sing for the Prophet and the audience of about 25,000 in the Alamodome on Saturday, May 21, 2005.

President Gordon B. Hinckley arrives and waves with his characteristic smile to the friendly Saints gathered in the Alamodome.

Choir and guests sit on the stand with the large logo of the youth Jubilee as the backdrop

President Hinckley, Elder Didier and Elder Ballard look out upon the audience of Saints.

At one point in his talk, Elder M. Russell Ballard of the Twelve asked the youth to raise their hands if they were planning on serving a full time mission when they reached the age of 19 (or 21 for the young women). A sea of hands went enthusiastically into the air.

Elder Ballard surveys the audience as President Hinckley speaks.

President Hinckley gave the youth some powerful advice from his own teachings. He wanted them to remember these four points: Be true. Be clean. Be smart. Be prayerful. He promised them if they did these things they would grow in faith and the Lord would bless them.