Reader Voices: Memories of the Draper Utah Temple dedication

By Rulon T. Burton

For Mormon Times

Published: Monday, May 30 2011 7:00 a.m. MDT

Latter-day Saints believe that obedience to the ancient Ten Commandments is essential for salvation. The temple reminds us this is so.

Today, in the southeast corner of Salt Lake Valley stands a beacon — the Draper Utah Temple. My wife and I see it shining brightly at night from our home a five-minute's drive away. How does that temple on Draper's Corner Canyon hill remind us that the Ten Commandments are commandments and not merely 10 suggestions?

I will give you my view. In each of the holy temples of the Lord, we make sacred promises to obey God's commandments. Temples are holy training places. They teach us over and over that it is not a mere suggestion that we keep ourselves chaste and virtuous; God commands it as an imperative for our salvation. We can't get a temple recommend to go to the temple unless we covenant by sacred promise to keep the Sabbath holy. We must make covenant to honor our fathers and mothers. We fulfill that sacred promise by doing the temple work for the ancestors of our fathers and mothers in the holy temple of the Lord. 

My wife and I watched the Draper Temple gradually rise from the ground. First came the groundbreaking ceremony, then the footings, the foundation, the skeleton framework, the beautiful granite from China laid as a covering and the placing of the golden statue of Moroni to cap the temple spire.

Then, after the inside of the temple and the grounds were finished, came the days of the open house that lasted 10 weeks from Jan. 5, to March 14, 2009. It was reported that 684,721 people participated.

The public open house was preceded by a private showing to the media and contractors whose work contributed to the temple's beauty. My daughter Charlotte, one of the artists who painted the mural of mountains and forest for one of the endowment rooms, was invited to attend and bring family members with her. On the Saturday before the public showing, Jan. 3, 2009, with other members of Charlotte's family, my wife and I saw the finished temple for the first time. Following the open house was the cornerstone ceremony and three days of dedication in 12 sessions starting the morning of March 20. On Tuesday, March 24, the dedicated temple officially opened, and a week later, on April 1, 2009, we were seated in one of the two endowment rooms doing an endowment for the dead. This was in that very room with the mural of mountains and forest.

Friday, March 20, Grandma and I and grandson Kenneth sat in the newly finished Draper Utah Temple in one of the extraordinary sealing rooms, and there we participated in the second dedicatory session of the temple. From the ceiling hung a large, sparkling crystal chandelier. With sunlight streaming through the spacious windows, we joined in the dedication of the temple. We waved our white handkerchiefs and gave the traditional Hosanna Shout.

The week previous we spent many hours in that magnificent building, including the four hours we served as ushers during the open house. I expended four more hours as an usher in two more dedicatory sessions the next day, Saturday, March 21. My wife and I spent many hours daily the week that began March 23 inside the magnificent edifice, beginning a new calling. We were coordinators over the laundry workers, some 400 of them.

Already, we were sweetly influenced by the spirit that dwells in that dedicated holy temple, when on Saturday, March 21, during the first two dedicatory sessions, I stood as an usher inside the entrance to the temple.

The Spirit was marvelous. I sat uninterrupted except for when a live dedicatory service was broadcast to all rooms of the temple and listened to the speeches and the dedicatory prayer. Standing alone, I took out my white hankie and waved it as all others waved their own white handkerchiefs and gave the traditional Hosanna Shout at the appropriate moment. The choir sang Evan Stephens's "Hosanna Anthem," a different choir singing at each session.

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