Saturday evening we found out that the Young Women in our ward and their mothers had been invited to go to a special tour of the room where the brides prepare for their weddings as well as a sealing room (where marriages are performed). I scrambled to get tickets and to let everyone know.
Sunday was a busy day and by the time I sat in my seat before the tour, I mostly just wanted to go to bed. Then they showed us a video about Young Women and temples and...I cried. Then a couple spoke to us. The man found out where we were from. He said, "So this is thirty minutes from your home and you passed a temple to get here. Plus there is a temple the other direction even closer to your home."
He told us about his wife who is from Argentina. When she was baptized in the '70s, the nearest temple was 12,000 miles away.
That is staggering.
Not for the first time, I had the feeling that I'd better make something of myself since I have been given so many advantages and blessings in life.
He talked a little about the Provo City Center Temple. It used to be a tabernacle. It was used for church meetings and concerts. Adam and I had stake conference there when we were first married and when I taught at American Heritage School, we had our Patriotic Program at the Provo Tabernacle. It was a beautiful and serviceable building.
Then it caught fire.
It completely burned except the brick shell.
The bricks were soft and since the building was built by pioneers back in the day, it was not anything close to earthquake proof or sturdy.
Our speaker told us there was a lot of debate about what should be done with the building. Most everyone thought that it wasn't worth it to repair. Someone suggested it be razed and a new post office could be built in its place.
But then at the October 2011 General Conference, President Monson made this announcement:
Late last year the Provo Tabernacle in Utah County was seriously damaged by a terrible fire. This wonderful building, much beloved by generations of Latter-day Saints, was left with only the exterior walls standing. After careful study, we have decided to rebuild it with full preservation and restoration of the exterior, to become the second temple of the Church in the city of Provo.
The speaker pointed out that God had a different purpose for the tabernacle. He then said we are like the tabernacle. He said, "You are beautiful and do good things now. If you haven't already, you will someday have a fire. It may be small or you may really crash and burn. Some people, including you, may think you're worthless, but the Lord just has a different purpose for you."
He can make something magnificent out of the ashes.
The temple is stunning and gorgeous. It has been strengthened in amazing ways and is glorious in its new purpose.
It was meaningful to be there with the young women (especially Emma). As we walked through these elegant rooms that were enhanced by their significance in my life, it was a silent tour but I was sending them telepathic messages. Urgent ones: You want this in your life. You want to get married in a temple where you will be sealed to your husband and children forever. Don't settle for anything less. You want this girls.
An attractive college aged woman was leading our tour. At the end, when we were outside the temple, one of my girls, Rose, said to the tour leader, "I just have to tell you, you are beautiful." The woman was taken back but smiled happily. As we were taking the protective shoe coverings off our feet, the girls were still dazzled by the tour leader apparently. They told her they loved her shoes. "Thanks," she said, "I got them in New York when I was living in Connecticut."
That caught Emma's attention. She asked where in Connecticut (south of Hartford). Emma said, "I was born in New Haven."
"I love New Haven!" the woman said. "The best pizza restaurant in the world is in New Haven."
"Pepe's?" Emma asked.
The delight over being called beautiful and having her shoes admired was completely eclipsed by the Pepe's mention. The woman grinned widely and gave Emma a high five. Because Pepe's.
On the drive home I reflected on all I had to be grateful for:
1-close proximity to temples
2-opportunities to serve good girls
3-an eternal marriage
5-my kids who are mine forever
It's a pretty good life.