One of our farewell wishes was to visit the Salt Lake temple. Andrew hadn't been to a session since before his mission and I have never been at all. I have, of course, been to Temple Square several times, just not inside the temple. I've always wanted to go, though, because it's one of the few temples that still uses live actors instead of the film. It also has beautiful murals on the walls.
We left Rachel in the care of Bonnie. She was happy enough to play with Amy and only cried on and off for the first hour she was there. From then on she was a good little girl, from what I hear, and even folded her arms for prayer at dinner time. It's always nice to hear that your children were on their best behavior!
After swinging by to pick up Reid from work, we headed onto Temple Square, parking under the Conference Center. You can park there for free if you're going to the temple--they'll give you a token when you leave and you just feed that to the machines and you're let out for free.
We walked from the Conference Center to the Church Office Building, where Uncle Matt works, after we made it up the elevator. Reid had to stop to wonder whether to push the up or down button. Since we were already underground we all made fun of him before telling him to push the up button. We got a little lost in the lobby of the Church Office Building because we went in the north doors and there was a scary reception desk and a bunch of official looking metal detectors and things that we had to walk past, but we eventually made it to the east lobby and found Uncle Matt waiting for us, eating his lunch.
He took us down into the tunnels and gave us the grand tour.
"This yellow brick road leads straight to administration," he said.
"And that door leads to the Lion House. And this is where the Twelve park...Oh, hello," he said.
"Hello," we all mimicked politely before asking, "Who was that?"
"Elder Condie," he answered.
We got to the temple doors. Surprisingly they looked just like every other door in the tunnel--just like an underground parking lot. Still, it was fun to get to walk through.
I was glad to have Karen with me. There were so many doors everywhere--even with all the temple workers to help show the way I would have been hopelessly lost. Karen was just there a couple of weeks ago with her sisters so she was a little more familiar with the layout of the dressing rooms.
It was obvious that the temple was designed a few hundred years ago. I stepped on several creaky floorboards along my way and the decor is "dated." Karen said that some of it seems rather French, and I do have to agree. The architecture and murals were very interesting to look at.
And, of course, I loved feeling the spirit there. The Salt Lake temple has always been special to me. When I was a little girl we would visit the temple so rarely. In Vancouver we had to drive across the border to Seattle to visit the temple, and in Calgary the nearest temple was in Cardston. To get to either temple required quite a bit of planning. I remember doing some all-day temple trips with the youth in High River to do baptisms for the dead. And I remember babysitting well into the night to allow some parents to attend a session or two.
We always made sure to visit Temple Square whenever we came down to visit my Grandma and Grandpa Layton--which I think was about as often as we ever made trips to Seattle or Cardston--and I was always amazed by the grandeur of the square. I loved the gardens and the Tabernacle and all the historic houses. There is just something special about it to me.
I've heard people talking about it like it isn't a big deal. When you live here, they say, it's just normal. For me, though, it's still special. I love going to Temple Square and seeing all the missionaries and people milling about. I love the spirit that is present there--it evokes reverence and awe in everyone around.
Actually getting to go inside the temple was a wonderful experience. It made me reflect on the sacrifices that the saints made to cross the plains, settle the valley, and build the temple--an amazing feat; no doubt the hand of the Lord was in it.
Perhaps I risk being labeled nostalgic, but the Salt Lake Valley will always hold a special place in my heart. I will never tire of seeing the temple spires reach toward heaven. I love to see the temple.