Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Ogden Temple Dedication - Preparing the Rose Park Stake

On Saturday September 20th, members of the Rose Park Stake prepare our chapel
for the dedication of the Ogden Temple
As a Stake President, you have frequent thoughts about the welfare and needs within the membership of your Stake.  Some are general in nature, others more specific.  I try to act upon them when I feel prompted by the spirit of the Holy Ghost, but I am not perfect and sometimes I simply just miss things.  It is a challenge to say the least.  

A few weeks ago, after some leadership training for Stake Presidents in the area, and discussing Section 110 of the Doctrine & Covenants and the keys that were restored through the Prophet Joseph Smith, I was thinking about the dedication of the Kirtland Temple and why so many of the members had such powerful spiritual experiences associated with that dedication.  One direction that is clear, came from their individual consecration in building that Temple and their personal sacrifice associated with it.  Joseph Smith also gave them instruction on how to come prepared both physically and spiritually including preparation of the building itself.  I felt impressed that not only should members come worthily (there is a worthiness recommend required for all in attendance) but the building as an extension of the Ogden Temple should also be prepared.  While the Lord might not walk within its walls I did hope that to the extent possible, it might be worthy of it.  On a Saturday evening session of our Regional Conference, I invited every member in the Stake to join us on Saturday afternoon prior to the dedication to help us prepare the building and grounds so that we might be ready for the Temple Dedication.  I understood that there might be conflicts and it wasn't necessarily a sign of individual commitment, but where possible, old and young alike were invited to help us prepare our building.

Chairs that had years of use were cleaned and polished
Cleaning assignments were prepared and distributed.  Wards invited members the following Sunday and individuals were invited through Relief Societies, Priesthood Quorums and by friends.  You are never quite sure when that time comes, how individuals will respond.  Yet you know that's the impression you received and an exercise in faith is in order.  At the appointed hour, 4 p.m. individuals started arriving of all ages, both as families and as friends and my heart began to be full of gratitude as I witnessed the faith and dedication of the members of the Rose Park Stake.  They were scattered through the building from Primary Rooms to restrooms, Chapel to the grounds.  Each in their own part, looked at spots in need of a deep cleaning that went overlooked during our weekly cleaning assignments.  Members helped each other and in a period of about one hour, the building looked beautiful.
While many rooms were not used in the dedication, they were
still cleaned so that the whole building would reflect
the sacredness of the event
I love the Rose Park Stake Center.  It was built originally by much sacrifice of the members of the Stake and refurbished extensively with mechanical and seismic upgrades in 2007.  However on Sunday morning, when I arrived for my 7 a.m. Presidency Meeting, I arrived early and walked down the halls of the building to the chapel and I felt a spirit that I have never felt before in my nearly 49 years of being here.  I walked into the chapel, sat on the stand and looked out and reflected upon the commitment of the members in not only preparing the building, but in their attendance that day.   I felt the Lord's acceptance of their work, it was an overwhelming feeling. Close to 700 members came during three sessions and I believe each one felt the sacred nature of the occasion.  It will be impossible to maintain the pristine nature of the building going forward.  While it will be kept clean, it is a building intended for a variety of uses.  However for this one day, it was reflective both physically and spiritually as an extension of the Ogden Temple.  I am grateful for the tender mercies of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.