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A closer look at the Draper Temple

By Molly Farmer

Mormon Times

Published: Wednesday, Feb. 4 2009 12:04 a.m. MST

Latter-day Saints at the south end of the Salt Lake Valley who are accustomed to the Jordan River Utah Temple will experience some differences when their district divides to accommodate the newly constructed temple in Draper.Like many other smaller temples being built around the world, but unlike most temples in Utah, the Draper Temple does not have a cafeteria or clothing rental facility, and appointments will be required for attendance during certain times of the day. Utah's newest temples — Monticello, Draper and Oquirrh Mountain, which is currently under construction — follow the same model.Elder M. Russell Ballard of the Quorum of the Twelve, who along with Elder Quentin L. Cook gave local media a tour of the temple in January, said practicality is the reason for the changes.Clothing rentalThe process required to store temple clothing in enough varied sizes to meet the needs of a temple district, as well as the hours and facilities used to wash and press them, is \"a massive handling process that we're trying to simplify,\" Elder Ballard said.\"That's been a policy where smaller temples have been built all over the world. We're encouraging the members of the church to have their own temple clothing,\" he said. \"And they're made available to be purchased at a very reasonable price through our distribution centers.\"CafeteriaThough there are small lunchrooms on the lower floor, the Draper Temple does not have a cafeteria.\"To run a cafeteria — is a big challenge. It takes a lot of people. It takes a lot of time and what we're trying to do is convert the work of those people that would be in the cafeteria to do the work of salvation,\" Elder Ballard said. \"I think it's a practical decision, and if people want to be here all day, they can bring a little sack lunch, put it in a locker and they have a little place where they can sit down and have a bite to eat.\"AppointmentsOnce the temple is dedicated March 20, patrons will be required to call ahead and set up an appointment in order to attend a session or perform baptisms. Elder William R. Walker, who is the executive director of the church's temple department, said this requirement stems in part from the Draper Temple having seats for only 50 people per session. The Jordan River Temple seats 120 per session.\"So we don't have people disappointed and standing in line and waiting to get into a session, we're going to institute a reservation (system),\" Elder Walker said. \"This is not designed to keep people away, it's designed to not make people frustrated when they come and it's too full or busy.\"The reservation system was instituted in the Rexburg Idaho Temple after its dedication last February. Once it was determined which times of the day weren't busy, the reservation requirement was dropped for those times.\"But we kept it for the prime times, like Friday evening and Saturday,\" Elder Walker said. \"Here (the prime times) could be Wednesday, Thursday and Friday. We'll just see how it goes.\"Elder Ballard said, \"The only thing we're trying to do is level out the flow so that people won't come to the temple and have to stand or — have to sit around for an hour or two before they can go through a session.\"The temple will be closed Sundays and Mondays, and sessions will run every hour.BaptistryThere is a separate entrance on the lower level of the Draper Temple where persons who want to perform baptisms for the dead can enter. Elder Ronald A. Rasband of the Presidency of the Seventy said the entrance is \"rather unique.\"Not a lot of temples have a separate entry,\" he said.Elder Rasband said youths flock to the temple to perform proxy baptisms, and he anticipates many will come as early as 5 a.m. during the week to perform that ordinance once the temple is open.\"Probably the busiest time in the baptistry will be in the morning before school,\" he said. \"The youth are becoming very interested in their roots.\"Baptistry clothing will be available.Ordinance roomsThe endowment session will take place in two rooms, which are simply called ordinance rooms, with two A rooms and two B rooms. The instruction — as with all other temples except Salt Lake and Manti, which have \"live\" sessions — will be given via DVD.Some of the rooms have extra-wide seats designed for patrons whose size might make sitting in a regular seat uncomfortable for them, Elder Rasband said.Sealing roomsThe Draper Temple has the largest sealing room — where marriages are performed — in Utah. It has a seating capacity of 80, and is one of only three temples in the world that size, along with the Rexburg Idaho and Twin Falls Idaho temples. There are four other smaller sealing rooms.Elder Rasband said the decision to construct rooms that would accommodate more than 50 people took place when he \"had to do the presentation to President Hinckley, and I presented on the basis of all the large families in Idaho\" that had so many family members, it was hard to fit them all in one room. Because they have been well-received, it was determined to construct one of that size in the Draper Temple.E-mail: mfarmer@desnews.com

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