Two days between Heaven and Earth
Updated: Jun 25, 2022
10 Sessions, 10 Different Temples
This story begins as innocently as most other stories that begin at an event called “Meat fest”.
Prior to the Covid 19 pandemic, and shortly after the Chilli cup in late fall, the Westbridge Elders Quorum enjoyed a yearly tradition of “Meat fest” which is a basically just an excuse to get together and enjoy many different types of smoked, barbequed, and roasted meats. From Elk, to beef, to pork, to lamb, we tried it all!
One of these blessed events occurred in November of 2018 in which we feasted while watching “The holy war” football game between long time rivals BYU (The Lords University) and the University of Utah (The school of the Prophets) after a crushing defeat of 35-27, a few of us thought that it would be a lot of fun to attend a Game in person the next season.
Not wanting this to become of those, “We totally should, but never will” moments, I took it upon myself to start planning as soon as tickets became available. Tickets were purchased and commitments made. We discovered that the desired game would be the season opener for season 150 and would be held in conjunction with the labour day long weekend.
The four of us thought “What luck! We can have 5 days in Provo! Four single guys on the prowl.” Little did we remember that things in YSA move rather quickly sometimes and one of our party soon would meet and marry his bride and another would be hot on his heels.
We discussed what other activities we might want to do other then the football game. The Salt Lake Temple was set to close for renovation at the end of the year so we thought it would be nice to attend a session. Other ideas included things like camping or hiking. These ideas got turned down because of ability level of those in our group. (One was an avid outdoors man, and another was still recovering from having both of his legs broken in a car crash that he sustained on his way to the Cardston Temple) and the idea of driving the 12 hours or so back to Canada with a bunch of un-showered men did not sound appealing.
The Solution came to my mind like a bolt of lightning, we were indeed going to climb mountains but not mountains made of dirt and foliage, but mountains of the Lord.
We decided we wanted to do a marathon of temples! But surely, how many Temples could we attend in such a short time?
We attended the Holy War game which was truly an experience to enjoy with a pair of fighter jets blazing over head, a 90-minute rain delay due to a thunderstorm and getting to enjoy the last part of the game from behind the player’s bench. The game ended 30-12. We got to bed soaked and tired but eager to start the next morning to attend the 8:30 session at the agreed upon favorite Temple in Payson Utah. We were excited to be joined by Sister Rogers who recently returned home from serving in our ward for 9 months of her mission! But no time to doddle, to save time we even stopped tying our shoes, changing out of our white socks, ditched our suit coats and wore our white ties between sessions.
We had 1 temple down and many to go!
The newly built Provo city center temple was next, the story of this temple and how it came to be is well know, but what might not be known is how similar it is on the inside to Cardston. Many of the murals in the Chapel area, and in other areas of the temple are direct copies of the art found in Cardston. It is also well known that Provo is the home to two temples, and those two temples are 7 minutes apart. We were cutting it close on this one and due to some road work delays we nearly missed our session, but the temple held the session a moment to allow us to join because they were short on men that were not missionaries. They said they knew we could not be missionaries; our beards gave us away.
Session 3 was held at the Mt. Timpanogos temple at this point fatigue was starting to set in and one member of our company dozed off a little during the session only to wake up and sleepily ask “What Temple am I in?”
Our last session of the day was in the tiny but beautiful Draper Utah temple in which we were then again excited to attend with Sister Carter, another sister that served in our ward for a good long time. Sleep came quickly to us that night, good thing too as the 5:30 am session at Jordan River came early.
Next, we attend the Oquirrh Mountain temple, and the Lord continued to surprise us, one of the temple workers served with one of us and had no idea we would be attending that day.
One of the crowning jewels of our trip was to attend of the last live sessions to be offered in the Salt Lake Temple. This temple held a special place in one of our hearts since he had the privilege of cleaning it and providing service in that building as well as being able to walk halls that very few members of the public are able to go these days. The two hour wait time for a session was justified.
We had planned on attending the Bountiful temple but due to the wait in Salt Lake, this was not able to happen if we wanted to keep on track. We later learned that the storm the night before had started a fire near the temple which had closed the temple anyways. So off to Ogden we went! The newly rebuilt Ogden temple was a very close second for favorite temple, mostly due to the vanishing wall in the ordinance room.
The last temple of the evening, Logan Utah. There are many stories about how mysterious things would happen to wagons or horses while on the way to this holy house, our story was no different since our car overheated but we still made it on time!
At 10 pm we walked out of the Logan Temple tired in bottom but invigorated in spirit. What were we to do now? Drive straight home of course, we had callings to serve in our ward.
All along our trip we would bump into people, mostly temple workers that noticed something different about us. When we told them our plan, they all said “That sounds like so much fun! I want to do that!”
We also had many of our friends that we invited to join us that weren’t able but reported to us that they were inspired by our trip and as a result had attended more then one session when they next went or at least began to attend more regularly.
Another beautiful blessing was that we were able to perform the work for many of our own family members as we all shared cards with each other.
If all went according to plan, we likely could have done 12 temples on this trip, but we are grateful that we were able to attend the ones that we did.
There have been 12 more Temples announced in Utah since we made this trip, and we have all agreed to do this trip again with our wives in 2029. I wonder how many temples we will be able to attend then?
Westbridge YSA Ward, Lethbridge YSA Stake