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Matrons, pioneers and special memories: Members share experiences, admire renovated Ogden Utah Temple

Published: Thursday, Sept. 4 2014 11:33 p.m. MDT

Updated: Thursday, Sept. 4 2014 11:33 p.m. MDT

Elder Richards has read and transcribed his ancestor’s journals. The apostle lived in Ogden for 30 years, from 1869-1899, and had a home on Lincoln Avenue, a few blocks from where the temple stands today. His journals talk about the growth of Ogden and his work as a probate judge. He also traveled to Promontory, Box Elder County, to witness the driving of the Golden Spike.

“I can just imagine how he feels, looking down as it were, upon this beautiful structure as he was so engaged (with life in Ogden),” Elder Richards said. “He had a great love for Ogden, the people who were here and the challenges they faced. It’s always been a special place.”

One special day

John and Kathryn Hadfield served in the Ogden Temple from 1991-1993. After serving a mission, they returned to labor for an additional five years. The couple from Brigham City relish many wonderful memories and friendships made over the years, but one day at the temple stands out.

Around 1992, a large group of church members from the Riverton Wyoming Stake, including young men and women, drove more than six hours to Ogden to perform temple ordinances for pioneers from the 1856 Willie and Martin handcart companies who perished along the trail to Utah. Many now refer to their work as “The Second Rescue.” The Hadfields were in the temple that day and recall the joy and happiness on many faces. They described it as a “special experience.”

Kathryn Hadfield had read some of the pioneer accounts and was especially moved by the story of a 9-year-old Danish girl in the Willie Company named Bodil Mortensen, who was found frozen to death one morning after a blizzard. When asked if she would like to assist with the work for Mortensen, Kathryn Hadfield said she would be honored.

“It was a spiritual experience. We felt that little girl’s spirit,” Hadfield said. “We thought of her heartache and loneliness, the way she left this earth, but I’m sure she was warm, happy and thrilled when the work was done. That was a thrill to me. Christlike love was what I felt that day.”

Family temple

Jerry and Denise Simon are grateful to have access to the Ogden Temple again. The sacred building has been a special part of their lives for decades.

Thirty-five years ago, Jerry proposed to Denise in the Ogden Temple.

While serving as a local church leader, Jerry attended the temple every week for about five years. He found spiritual strength and the answers to many prayers within the walls of the temple, he said.

Denise and most of their six children received their endowments at the Ogden Temple.

“The Ogden Temple is a very special place. It’s had an impact on my life,” Denise Simon said. “To see the change is almost breathtaking. It was beautiful before, but I think any young couple would consider being married there now.”

Denise Simon also remembers attending the temple dedication at age 15 in 1972. She was invited by some friends and said it was one of the most powerful experiences of her young life.

“I remember feeling an overwhelming spirit,” Denise Simon said. “It was probably the leading factor in my conversion.”

While the Ogden Temple was being renovated, the Simons attended the temples in Bountiful, Brigham City and Logan. They are ready to stay closer to home now, Jerry Simon said.

“We have missed it. It was so convenient, I think we took it for granted,” Jerry Simon said. “We’re really excited that the Ogden Temple is going to be open. I don’t want to ever feel like we have taken it for granted again.”

Email: ttoone@deseretnews.com Twitter: tbtoone

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