Thursday, May 28, 2009

Must be from Utah...

I was reading a Church News here the other day and caught on to something that made my eyes roll. Now, for those of you who don't know, the Church News is a weekly publication The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints puts out through Deseret News in Salt Lake City. It contains a variety of inspirational material and news related to the Church from around the world. For the most part I find it very informative and interesting, though this recent article, like I said, had me shaking my head. It appeared in the May 16th issue, page 3, in an article about the upcoming Oquirrh (pronounced OAK er) Mountain Temple open house, scheduled to begin June 1 in South Jordan, Utah, a suburb of Salt Lake City. Once opened, the Oquirrh Mountain Temple (pictured left) will be the 4th temple in the Salt Lake Valley (which only goes as far north as the city of North Salt Lake) and the second in the city of South Jordan, making it the only city in the world to have two LDS temples. The quote is as follows: "Following the 1893 dedication of the Salt Lake Temple, members waited almost a century for a second temple - the Jordan River Temple - to be opened in the Salt Lake Valley. Almost three decades passed before the Draper Utah Temple became number three."

First, those who aren't LDS should understand that temples are very important to Latter-day Saints. They are different from a standard church meetinghouse where we have our regular Sunday services and weekly activities. Temples are used during the week and involve very sacred and important ordinances that members of the Church feel are an important and vital part of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. For most of the world, going to the temple is something that is done a few times a year or even less. In Utah and many western states, where there are more temples, members of the Church can go to the temple quite often. While most don't go daily, it is not uncommon to see people go weekly or even more than once in a week. Going to the temple is a very spiritual and uplifting experience, so it's something members of the Church like having close by so they can experience more often. Here in Ohio, our nearest temple is in Columbus, which is a two hour drive, so it's not something that can be done quite so often. While it sure beats the 6 hour drives to the Toronto and Washington, DC temples we took before Columbus was built, it still isn't quite close enough to be considered "convenient."On a side note, when the Washington, DC Temple opened in 1974, it was the only temple in the US east of Salt Lake City. It served members in the entire eastern part of North America.

Now that said, reading the beginning of the article, entitled "Unique blessing in rich temple history," I just had to exclaim, "Oh cry me a river!" It makes it sound like members in the Salt Lake Valley had to endure some kind of hardship waiting "almost a century" for a second temple and then "almost three decades" for a third, like it's some kind of right for them to get temples and that they were ever really that far from the Salt Lake Temple or another temple. Not only will the Salt Lake Valley soon have 4 temples, but within an hour both north and south are 4 additional temples; Bountiful (which is practically in the Salt Lake Valley) and Ogden to the north and Mount Timpanogos and Provo to the south. Never mind the fact that it took 100 years for the Valley to grow so that people actually lived in the areas getting temples. I'm not opposed to the Salt Lake Valley getting more temples; if the existing ones are being used at or near full capacity and there is a need, why not? But don't make it sound like it was some huge burden for the poor members there to have to go "all the way" to Salt Lake, Bountiful, or Jordan River before the Draper and Oquirrh Mountain temples were built. For those of us who have to take a day or more to attend the temple, we have no sympathy for your "hardship." It reminded me when the Rexburg Idaho Temple was announced in 2003 and I read quotes like "now we won't have to go all the way to Idaho Falls." Idaho Falls is not even 30 minutes from Rexburg (I made the trip many times). Here in northeast Ohio, the first LDS temple was built way back in 1836 in Kirtland (pictured above right), but this temple is no longer owned by the Church and had a different purpose anyway. We're still waiting for our first temple here. As my mom said, "they (many members out west) just don't get it." Amen! There are many places still in the world where members of the Church can only go to the temple once in their lifetime if ever since the nearest one is so far away. Thankfully, that is becoming less and less common (the opening of the Oquirrh Mountain temple will make 130 temples in operation around the world), but it still not completely gone.

See also www.mormon.org for more info on LDS temples or just ask!

6 comments:

Julie said...

I can't wait for the day when they announce a new Kirtland temple or how about one near the John Johnson farm? Think of the interest that would come to those two church "sites" When Palmyra, NY Temple was built we saw tons and tons of people touring those sites that had never been there before...and learning more about the gospel. It also certainly stimulated the economy in that region. Columbus temple is just a bit out of reach for us... I can't put the kids on the bus...drive there, do a session, and drive back and beat the bus home. So that is going to leave us out of more frequent attendance for quite some time. Also wouldn't it be great to just "show up " like at bigger temples...now scheduling appointments etc. Makes it even more difficult to coordinate...With all that said...I love the temple!

The Huwe Family said...

So true. My parents got married in Idaho Falls. It was that or Oakland for residents of Washington back then. We have a "mini" temple 45 minutes away in the Tri-cities and people still complain of the distance. Give me a break. It's lucky, that's what.

Becky said...

I've noticed now that I'm in Utah that the distance is taken for granted. People truly do not understand just how lucky they are. I'm glad I am not like that! I enjoy being able to go through different temples just because there are so many close by (there 8 temples within the time radius that we had when we drove to Columbus, not counting Oquirrh Mountain). Anyway, not that it matters, but the open house actually starts June 1 (I know because that's the day we are taking Katie). I agree that that article reeks of Utah Bubble mentality!

Muffin and Husky said...

I trust the profit knows exactly what he is doing and that the temples are going where they are needed. I have not read the article but I am sure the people in that area are grateful and not complaining about what a hardship they have had. I live an hour away from the temple but I can go anytime I want. Some temples in Utah you have to wait two hours just to get in. Maybe that is why the people are grateful for another temple not because there is not one near. And I am sure that there are many people who do not recognize blessings not just people in Utah.

Muffin and Husky said...

oops...Prophet. Gotta love spell check.

JRid said...

No question the temples are going where needed (said that in the blog) and didn't mean to imply there was any complaining from members...it's the tone and wording in the article that made it evident that the writer probably never had to worry about a 6-hour or longer one-way trip just to GET to the temple like those of us back East, so the "wait" for the Salt Lake Valley members for another temple rang pretty hollow. Do they need it? Absolutely, but don't pretend like it was some hardship before the temple was opened or that people had to go out of their way to sacrifice to go to the temple at all.

The only people who have to wait 2 hours to go to the temple out west are those who show up during peak hours (evenings and weekends), but even then that's pretty rare and you can usually do something else like sealings while you wait. When I lived in Idaho I purposely avoided going to the temple on Saturday or in the early evenings because it was always crowded. Most times during the week it was largely empty.

And last, didn't mean to imply that Utah is unique in not recognizing blessings. I'm only pointing out, again, a major perspective problem which certainly does exist in Utah and other heavily-LDS areas where the church is far more convenient than it is here. See the quote from BYU-Idaho about going "all the way to Idaho Falls" before the Rexburg temple was built. For someone like me who had to go 6 hours to Toronto and later "just" 2.5 hours to Columbus, a 30-minute drive from Rexburg to Idaho Falls was downright close.