I did a Sharing Time a couple of years ago about the temple. I gathered images of nine different temples and connected them with personal stories: these were temples where I had been endowed, or performed baptisms for the first time, or where I was sealed. As usual, the personal stories connected well with the Primary children!
It was meaningful to me to gather my temple worship into a kind of timeline, and these places of worship became a family history capsule. I wanted to share it here, partially to record the stories. I think it would make a great sharing time or family home evening to put together your own “Temple Timeline.” A beautiful way to capture the steps on your covenant path. Even if, somehow, the same temple has been your home temple for all of the ordinances and endowments for you and your family (is this even possible?) it would be lovely to collect these same stories with historic photos of that temple over the years.
Bern, Switzerland Temple
The first temple in my story is the Swiss Temple! This is where my parents were sealed. My mother was living in Germany with her family, who were fulfilling a building mission with the church. My father was serving in the military in Germany during the Vietnam war. He was stationed at a detox/rehab unit for addicted GI’s. They met and married in the Swiss temple, arriving back in America only after giving birth to my older brother Jeremy! Welcome home!
The Swiss temple was the first temple built outside of America, and was the 9th operating temple. It was built with audio-visual capabilities designed to serve multiple languages, a huge innovation for temple worship.
Frankfurt, Germany Temple
My Opi, Henry A Haurand, helped build the Frankfurt and Stockholm temples as part of his work in the church building department. Later he and my Omi served as temple president and matron of this temple. They carefully oversaw the building of the temple as well as the temple president’s quarters (you can see them in this photo: the cream colored timber-framed home in between the spire and the temple itself is where the temple president and some temple workers live) with careful consideration for the needs of the temple president and his wife. Then they were able to take advantage of these careful plans themselves! What a sweet blessing.
The white building on the right with the black roof is a dormitory for temple attendees who often travel great distances and speak many different languages to attend the Frankfurt temple.
I visited the Frankfurt temple on a month-long backpacking trip across Europe with my friend Beckie. After spending several days on trains and in youth hostels, coming to the temple to rest, perform baptisms, and eat sauerbraten in the temple cafeteria was a sweet relief.
The 41st operating temple, the Frankfurt temple in many ways represented a full-circle restoration and healing for the European saints who had suffered through World War II.
Provo, Utah Temple
The next temple that deeply affected my life was the Provo temple! My family moved to Provo, Utah for high school (go Bulldogs!) and we lived just above the temple. As a teenager I used to run from my house, circle the temple with it’s grueling uphill grade, and make it back up the hill. I don’t think I ever made it without walking some part of the way. I used to drive by this temple every day on my way to school and attended a handful of early morning testimony meetings on the upper temple grounds with our Seminary classes. This is also the temple I visited for the first time for baptisms and for my endowment. It has always felt like home to me.
The 15th operating temple of the church, the Provo temple is well known for it’s high volume and efficiency. Located just east of the main Provo MTC, missionaries and BYU students alike keep the temple humming day and night. After Randy and I were married, in fact, we attended this temple every other week! Even though there are sessions every 20 minutes, it was not unusual to wait for an hour or more in a completely filled chapel to have a turn to participate in a session. I compare every other temple to Provo in terms of efficiency and performance.
San Diego, California Temple
On December 28, 1995 Randy and I were married in the San Diego temple! It was a 72 degree day: absolutely perfect in every way. Randy and I drove together to the temple in our Toyota Camry: I remember that Randy forgot his tuxedo shoes. I also remember that this is the most nervous I have ever seen Randy! Just before the ceremony, my Opi met with us. It was a quick meeting: short and to the point as German’s are wont to do. This was not long after my parents’ divorce and so my family was still figuring out how to negotiate all the complications of a divorce. The Davis family was extraordinarily gracious and helpful and with their help Randy and I were able to savor our marriage and sealing.
This is also the first temple we attended with our son, Josh, who received his endowments here in 2017.
San Diego was the 45th operating temple and the 3rd temple in California (after Los Angeles and Oakland). The temple is well known for it’s unique, symbolic architecture (princess castle!) and location. It is widely considered to be one of the most beautiful temples in the world.
Denver, Colorado Temple
After graduating from BYU, Randy and I moved to Castle Rock, Colorado! The Denver temple was only 30 minutes from our home. It is a smaller temple. This was the first temple where I attended with Primary children (to tour the grounds together). As a young couple with two children, it was a time of our lives where we learned to build the temple into our lives as we grew and stretched into the roles and expectations of parenthood and adulthood. We spent time here serving was ward missionaries, so I also have meaningful memories of attending with members who were experiencing the temple for the first time.
Denver was the 40th operating temple.
Salt Lake City, Utah Temple
In 2003 we followed a job back to Salt Lake and moved into Emigration Canyon. This meant that we were in the Salt Lake City, Utah temple district. I grew to love the live sessions at the temple, which, in my opinion, allow for a depth of personal interpretation and more clear understanding. I also grew to love the convoluted dressing and waiting rooms! It’s quite a maze in the temple basement.
Salt Lake is the fourth operating temple, after St. George, Logan, and Manti temples. It is often used to represent temple worship throughout the church. The temple was dedicated on April 6, 1893—three years before Utah became a state in 1896.
Draper, Utah Temple
In 2007 our family moved to Sandy, Utah where we enjoyed the Jordan River temple. Several years later the Draper, Utah temple was announced and our stake was the in the Draper temple district. It was not the first temple dedication I had attended, but it was the first dedication where we were asked to be involved! I was asked to narrate a tour bus ride up to the temple for a few days. I was serving in Primary and we were able to take our Primary children to attend a tour before it was dedicated. This was the first temple I toured with my children! Josh loved the painted ordinance rooms. This is also the first temple where I became well acquainted with the baptistry: I served in YW and we took the youth once a month to early morning baptism sessions. The baptistry is extremely well-designed for the process and is a huge blessing to those of us worshipping in those rooms.
Draper was the 129th operating temple and the 12th built in Utah, obviously happening during the middle of a great building boom of temples across the church. The sego lily is a theme for the temple, carried as a motif from carpets to windows.
Oakland, California Temple
Twist! In 2012 our family moved to Half Moon Bay, California! Suddenly we lived an hour and half away from the closest temple, a beautiful compound on the top of the hill, across the city, and over a bridge from our home. It served as a refuge for us as a couple as we struggled through big changes in our life and family far from any home we had known. We also loved the familiar tone and established feeling of the grounds: for some reason the Bay Area does not excel at landscaping! But the temple grounds, of course, are lovely: flowers in season, well groomed grass, and beautiful trees. In fact, many families bring their daughters in their Quinceanera dresses and limousines to the temple grounds for professional photographs! There is a sign in the grass near the front of the temple announcing “No photos!”
The 13th operating temple, Oakland was second in California, after Los Angeles. Although it’s not designed with a clear style, it undoubtedly displays unique Art Deco influences.
Los Angeles, California Temple
Somehow our current temple is always my favorite. I love the expansive, solid nature of the LA temple in Santa Monica. It’s architecture expresses the optimism of a westward expanding Mormonism in the mid-20th century: the ordinance rooms are huge, the locker rooms are huge, the lawns are sprawling. We are here to stay. I recently discovered from my grandmother that my dad and his family travelled here for the temple dedication! He would have been four years old. My grandmother remembers the long drive. As only the 10th operating temple, the occasion would have been monumental.
Interestingly, the LA temple is where Randy first attended as the San Diego temple was not yet open. He received his endowment just before his mission to Guayaquil Ecuador in 1992. His parent were also married here, just a year after opening. It all comes full circle, yes?
LA is the 10th operating temple, the first one in California. World War II delayed the construction of the temple for many years.