Yesterday morning my family was able to go to the Provo City Center Temple Open House. After LDS temples are constructed but before they are dedicated for regular use they have open houses when people of any age or faith can have the opportunity to tour the temple and get a view of what happens inside.
Before we went I told my boys a little bit about the history of this temple. The Provo City Center Temple was built using the exterior of the Old Provo Tabernacle which had been built a century ago by the early saints on the area. The tabernacle had been used for many years for large church functions in the area – including a couple of General Conferences. The building held a special place in my heart as I had attended several functions there during my time at BYU. I remember going to a few choir concerts and stake conferences, but my most memorable experience was when I was engaged to Eric and we attended a stake conference where President Uchtdorf and his wife Harriet were the keynote speakers. I don’t remember his exact message but I do remember the feeling of standing nearby as he exited and having the distinct feeling – “This man is an apostle of the Lord.”
On December 17, 2010 the building caught fire after some theater lights were stored incorrectly and when powered on created too much heat in a speaker box, which eventually set fire to the building. I remember waking up on December 18th and being so sad to see that this beautiful building had been destroyed.
Then in October Conference 2011 President Thomas S. Monson announced that the decision had been made to rebuild the Provo Tabernacle, but this time as a second temple for the city of Provo. I will never forget the wave of emotion that hit me when he made that announcement. I couldn’t stop crying for joy for at least 10 minutes, and considering the announcement over the next few weeks would bring me to tears again. It’s been really cool to watch the progress as it’s been re-built.
As we went through the temple the thing that most struck me was the juxtaposition of the two events. On December 18th as we looked at the tragedy and the ruins of this once beautiful building there was great mourning and loss. What a horrible thing to have happen. But then to see how from that great tragedy they were able to create such a beautiful new building – while still retaining many of the qualities of the old building. The new temple is magnificent, and it was such a pleasure to have the opportunity to tour it – to see the beautiful stained glass, and furnishings and artwork. The whole place is simply breathtaking.
As I pondered on this I thought about the way the Lord works with us in our own lives. So many times as we’re going through trials it seems like the end of the world. We feel like we’re being completely destroyed in a way that will never be made right again. But somehow, on the other side, the Lord has takes that destruction to create something new and better than we could have even imagined. He takes parts of us that we think are good and rebuilds them into something great. It’s so hard to trust the Lord when it feels like our whole world is burning, but if we have faith and trust in him, He can make us too into something magnificent.