The Sacramento California Temple

Angel Moroni - In the Trees landscapeThe Sacramento Temple was our 28th temple. At the time of this writing, there are 201 temples either operating, under construction, or announced. So we’ve visited about 14%. We have a long way to go, and the list is just going to get longer (which is awesome!).

Sacramento Temple Front NarrowSo why all the nerdy numbers?

If you’ve read my other temple posts, you know that I am prone to rave about the beauty of each temple and to carry on about the grounds. Sometimes maybe it gets redundant, but it’s all true, so what else can I say?

Anyway, the Sacramento California temple grounds take the cake. My favorite so far. And I think it will take a lot to surpass them. They are truly incredible. Immediately around the temple are gorgeous flowers and trees and kind of the usual stuff, but beyond that, it is set in on acres and acres of park land, full of oak trees.

Sacramento Temple Grounds (2)

It also sits atop a hill, where at the bottom you are greeted with stunning landscaping, both natural and planned.

Sacramento Temple Grounds EntranceI love that anyone can go and enjoy the beauty – member of the church or not.

Sacramento Temple East Side ViewWhile we were there, on a busy day, there were many patrons going in and out of the temple, and many more people picnicking in the park around it.

Angel Moroni atop Sacramento TempleAnd one more thing… Turkeys!

The Sacramento Temple has wild turkeys on its grounds!

Sacramento Temple SidebarDate Visited: March 30, 2018

Miles From Home: 595

Location: Rancho Cordova, California

Dedication:  September 3, 2006 by Gordon B. Hinckley

From the Dedicatory Prayer: We pray for this nation of which we are citizens, that the liberties and freedoms of the people may be preserved, that righteousness may reign, and peace may prevail. Take from our hearts all bitterness and hatred, and end the conflicts which rage in many quarters.

The Fresno California Temple

Angel Moroni - Fresno TempleWe stopped by the Fresno Temple on our Spring Break trip to California. It was unexpectedly closed because they were tarring the parking lot, so we just walked around outside of the gates, tiptoeing around the fresh tar.

Fresno Temple EntranceIn spite of the parking lot situation, it was a lovely visit. The Fresno Temple sits in a quiet neighborhood next to a park. It’s one of the small temples, virtually identical to the Spokane and Medford temples that we have been to. So small, that I think it is smaller than the church building that it shares a parking lot with.Fresno Temple Gate

As with all temples, the grounds were lush and beautiful, with some fresh spring blossoms popping up on the trees. Fresno Temple Grounds

It was dedicated in 2000, which was kind of a big year for temple building. President Hinckley had recently (in 1997) announced the smaller temple concept, and temples were popping up all over the place.

Blossoms at the Fresno TempleThere were 31 temples dedicated that year, with Fresno being the 10th. Amazing to think about!Fresno Temple Spire - Soft White

Date Visited: March 29, 2018

Miles From Home: 737

Location: Fresno, California

Dedication:  April 9, 2000 by Gordon B. Hinckley

From the Dedicatory Prayer:  We thank Thee for this nation of which we are a part. We are grateful for the Constitution under which it functions. May the precious liberties guaranteed thereunder ever assure freedom of worship to Thy people. To Thee be the honor and the praise and the glory now and forever more, and to Thy Son, our Redeemer, likewise praise and honor and glory. Smile with favor upon us and let Thy blessings attend us as we look to Thee in faith and appreciation…

The Oakland California Temple

Oakland TempleThe Oakland Temple is as beautiful as it looks in photos. Moreso, even. I had long dreamed of visiting this unique temple- ever since I saw pictures of it when I was a kid. It did not disappoint. (As if a temple ever could!) In fact, it was breathtaking when we drove around the corner and I saw those spires. Even while under an extensive renovation, it’s beauty surpasses expectation. I really look forward to visiting it again when the renovation is complete.. a year or so from now.

Oakland - OilWe stopped by the grounds on our drive from Portland to Monterey, giving us some much needed time out of our van. Though the temple is closed, the grounds and the Visitor’s Center are still open, so we got to explore a little.

Oakland Temple Visitors Center ChristusThere are only a handful of temple visitor’s centers around the world – I think maybe 11 or 12. We’ve got one here in Portland, and we’ve been to the visitor’s centers at the Idaho Falls Temple and in Salt Lake City. Each is unique but brings the same feeling and serves the same purpose. But the visitor’s center at the Oakland Temple is my favorite so far.

It has this amazing view of the bay and San Francisco, which can be seen through a giant, full-wall window inside, as well as from other areas outside. There was a room where we watched stories about missionaries, where the front wall was covered with missionary tags from all over the world.

TulipIn the areas not blocked off for construction, the grounds of the temple were full of flowers and palm trees. I am still amazed each time I experience it at the spirit and peace that can be felt just by walking the temple grounds. Even here, where it was closed and had many areas fenced off, the spirit of peace was felt. How cool is it that anybody can go and feel that! You don’t have to be inside to know it’s a special place.Oakland Temple Spires with Palm Tree

Date Visited: March 25, 2018

Miles From Home: 627

Location: Oakland, California

Dedication:  November 17, 1964 by David O. McKay

From the Dedicatory Prayer: We are grateful for this land of America, “choice above all other lands.” The freedom vouchsafed by the Constitution of the United States which guarantees to every man the right to worship Thee in accordance with the dictates of his own conscience, made possible the establishment of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. O Father, may the American people not forget Thee! Help us to see the greatness of this country. We express gratitude for the right of the people to resort to the ballot, and for freedom to meet in legislative halls to settle problems and disputes without fear or coercion of dictators, secret police, or slave camps. Help people everywhere to sense more clearly that government exists for the protection of the individual—not the individual for the government.

The Meridian Idaho Temple (Open House)

We are lucky enough to live a half day’s drive from the Meridian Idaho Temple and were able to attend the open house last October. I had been anticipating the open house for a couple of years, excited to take my boys.Meridian Temple

We zipped over Friday night and got up for the 11:00 tour on Saturday. I am so impressed with how organized these events are. We’ve also been to the Provo City Center Temple and the new MTC open houses, and they are all run so well. I so appreciate all of those who volunteered their time to make this happen. Meridian Idaho Temple Sunrise

The Meridian temple is amazing. And even better than enjoying its beauty was walking through with my children.

The exterior of the temple reminds me a little bit of the Cardston temple– a little more squatty on top. Inside, the beautiful dark woodwork and murals are incredible. Every detail is divine. Meridian Temple Looking Up

But, the temple grounds are what stood out to me the most on this visit. Even with thousands of other people visiting the open house, I could still appreciate the incredible landscaping. One of my favorite for sure! The expansive ponds, the vast green lawn, an old tree that must be original to the sight. All of it stunning. I don’t have a lot of photos because of the crowds, but trust me, these grounds are like no other.The Meridian Idaho Temple 1

I look forward to returning now that the temple is dedicated. How blessed we are to have so many temples in our midst!

Meridian Temple Open HousDate Visited: October 28, 2017

Miles From Home: 424

Location: Meridian, Idaho

Dedication:  November 19, 2017 by Dieter F. Uchtdorf

From the Dedicatory Prayer: Dearest Father, forgive us our many shortcomings. Strengthen our faith and fortify us against weakness. Give us power to resist the deceits of the adversary. May love for Thee and Thy Son grow in our hearts, and may it be expressed in our kindness and love to one another as Thy covenant sons and daughters.


The Ogden Utah Temple

Ogden Utah Temple - Landscape 2The Ogden Temple was the last temple stop on our epic summer road trip. We visited the grounds on our way from Logan to Orem, where we would be visiting my parents for a few days.

I had never visited the Ogden Temple before its renovation. I wish I had- I just never really had reason to go to Ogden.

Flag at Ogden TempleWhen Carey and I started really falling in love with temples, we decided on a whim back in 2012 or so to swing by the Ogden temple on our trek to Orem. So we followed the directions and for some reason just could not find it. We drove around the block several times looking for the familiar lights of the temple before we realized that we were in the right place. There just wasn’t anything there. A green construction fence surrounded the grounds, and with it being dark, that was all we could see.

Ogden Temple - Corner View 2I admit that for years I just assumed that they knocked the whole thing down and started fresh. But in my research, I realized that the same basic structure was kept, only massively updated on the exterior.

Ogden Temple - East Entrance, LandscapeI wonder what it would have been like for the local residents to see their temple being taken apart piece by piece. I imagine it was a little bit hard to see. Of course, they knew it was going to be rebuilt, revitalized, and more beautiful than before. But seeing the Angel Moroni removed and the spire taken down would have definitely caused a little jab in my heart.

Levels - Ogden TempleSpeaking of Angel Moroni, the renovated Ogden Temple has the same statue that was removed before construction. Just a little bit reconditioned.

Ogden Temple - Northeast CornerWhen we visited, it was flipping hot outside. Like, really hot. We slowly walked the grounds as the bright sun blinded our sensitive Oregon eyes. The grounds are beautiful and so peaceful. I guess they call it the Ogden Temple Square, with an old tabernacle sitting on its grounds as well.

Ogden Temple - Southeast Corner 3It was a lovely and warm visit. I love that it is renewed. It is quite symbolic of how we can always change. Though our lives at times may seem stagnant or unclean, they can become revitalized and beautiful. Though we go through immense trials where we feel we are being taken apart at the seams, no worries. The core and foundation are still there, and we can be rebuilt stronger and more vibrant. That is the good news of the gospel!Ogden Temple Spire

Date Visited: July 31, 2017

Miles From Home: 738

Location: Ogden Utah

Dedication:  January 18-20, 1972 by Joseph Fielding Smith; Rededicated on September 21, 2014 by Thomas S. Monson

From the Dedicatory Prayer (1972): Wilt thou strengthen us in our desires to keep thy commandments and overcome the world, to be living witnesses of the truth and divinity of thy work, and to stand valiantly in bearing testimony of those things which we have received. We desire to bridle our passions, to control our appetites, and to rise above the lusts of the flesh and the evil and carnality that is everywhere to be found. We desire righteousness. We are thy people; pour out thy Spirit upon us.

The Logan Utah Temple

Logan Utah Temple Front View 1It must have been over 25 years ago that I first saw the Logan temple. As I’ve mentioned before, I grew up in Utah Valley, but I didn’t make it over to Logan except for that one time. As I recall, my mom and I were driving my aunt to Utah State University for one reason or another.

I actually remember that trip quite vividly because of horses. I wasn’t really into horses like my other girls I knew. I still haven’t ridden one. But as we were driving to Logan, I was looking out the window on some grassland, the sun was shining through the clouds, and there I saw three horses galloping along in the rain. I was struck by the beauty of it. I don’t know why, but it stands out in my mind every time I think about Logan.

Logan Utah LDS TempleAnyway, as we drove into town, I was again struck by the beauty of the area. I wanted to live there, right then. Then as we were curving up a road toward campus, I saw the Logan Temple sitting up on that hill. It’s beauty and stature struck me, and I knew very strongly in that moment that it was a holy and powerful place.

Logan Temple - Looking UpFast forward almost three decades, and I was finally able to return to the Logan Temple, sitting up on that beautiful green hill. This time with my own children in tow.

We were in Logan so that my oldest, Michael, could go on a campus tour of USU. The timing of our trip was such that we could only be there on a day the temple was closed, but we were able to walk the grounds.

Logan Temple - SunshineThe Logan temple is the second temple completed in Utah, back in 1884. I’m still so in awe of what those early pioneers could accomplish. All volunteers, who had to support their families on top of building the temple over the course of seven years. There is a very detailed thesis about the history of the temple written by Melvin A. Larkin back in 1954. He writes about how after the temple site was dedicated, letters were sent to the bishops of the nearby wards requesting workers for the rock quarries. The letter, dated May 23, 1877 said:

Please send Monday next a thorough camping and quarrying
outfit for Green Canyon, with picks, shovels, crow bars, wedges,
etc. Say 4 good men, 1 team, 1 wagon also bring a no. 7 or 8
stove & furniture, one of your men bring a wife to cook for ten men.

Larkin goes on to say that on June 4, ten men and one woman showed up at the quarry and started working. The next day two more men showed up. They got to work immediately and within a week, rock was being hauled to the temple site.

I think that is the coolest. The church needed volunteers and they got to work.

Logan Temple Black and WhiteI think we would all be super willing to jump up and volunteer if we were called on today to build a temple or do some other grand thing. Then my mind goes to the small things that are sometimes harder to do than the grand gestures. Like our monthly assignment to clean the church building. Cleaning the bathroom stalls does not seem like a noble task, but could it be considered in some ways similar?

The Logan Utah TempleIn any case, our visit to the Logan Temple was wonderful. Carey couldn’t make it with us as he had to fly back to Oregon to work, so we’ll be back for sure.

Logan Temple Back View

Date Visited: July 30, 2017

Miles From Home: 726

Location: Logan Utah

Dedication:  May 17-19, 1884 by John Taylor; Rededicated March 13-15, 1979 by Spencer W. Kimball

From the Dedicatory Prayer: We ask thee to bless the nation in which we live and the rulers thereof, for we are persuaded, O Lord, that while great wickedness and corruption abound in all grades of society, that there are hundreds of thousands of honorable men who are desirous to do right and maintain the principles of freedom and the liberty of men, and who do not and cannot acquiesce in the measures taken by the thoughtless and uninformed, who seem to be desirous to injure Thy people, many of whom, however, through the circulation of misrepresentation and falsehood, do not comprehend the position which Thy people occupy, nor the principles by which they are governed. Enlighten their minds, we pray Thee, and lead them in the paths of life. Bless, we pray Thee, all the upright, the pure and virtuous who are seeking to maintain and sustain the glorious principles of freedom enunciated in the Constitution of the United States, and who are opposed to tyranny, misrule and oppression; and save this nation, O God, from the infamy, under guise of law, of being the spoliators and robbers of a virtuous, inoffensive and God-fearing people, in violation of their constitutional rights, and because they fear and reverence Thee and Thy laws but may this house be preserved unto us as a holy place wherein to worship Thee…

The Star Valley Wyoming Temple

The Star Valley Wyoming TempleI am a simple person. I like beauty. And light. And I’m not all that in to extremism or extravagance. That doesn’t mean that I don’t love the beauty of our temples. They are all so amazing and designed by the spirit and with love and honor for God.

Star Valley Wyoming LDS TempleThe Star Valley Wyoming Temple is the simplest temple that I have seen so far. Meaning that there aren’t a lot of extra things on or around it. Because of this, the stained glass in the spire stands out, as well as the natural beauty of the rolling hills behind the temple.

Star Valley Wyoming Temple 1It was immediately added to my list of favorites.

Star Valley Temple - Back ViewWe headed over to Star Valley after picking up the Meerdink boys from EFY at BYU Idaho- with a stop in Grand Teton National Park along the way. Unfortunately the other Carey had to fly back to Oregon for work, so he wasn’t able to join us for this one. That just means we get to come back!

American Flag at Star Valley Temple 1Driving down highway 89, we eagerly looked ahead anticipating the temple. It is still such a joy when I first see that spire. And this one was especially fulfilling, with the beautiful green hills as a backdrop.

Star Valley WY TempleWe walked around the temple grounds that evening, and then returned the next morning after attending church just a block away.

There is something really special about this area- Star Valley. It just feels like the temple is supposed to be there. It was prophesied way back when the valley was settled that there would be a temple there, and all just feels right. It’s so peaceful. I feel a little bit tempted to move to the valley once the kids are grown. But then, I haven’t experienced one of their winters yet.

Star Valley Wyoming Temple 9I remember when President Monson announced  the Star Valley Wyoming temple in the October 2011 General Conference. He had just announced the rebuilding of the Provo Tabernacle into a temple, as well as temples in South Africa and the Congo. Then he announced Star Valley and said, “I think I’ll dedicate that one, there’s good fishing up there!”

Angel Moroni - Star Valley Temple 4

The temple was dedicated just last year. President Monson was not able to dedicate it, but I’m sure his heart was there.

Everyone should visit this temple. It will touch your heart. I know I’ll return many times.Angel Moroni - Star Valley Temple _ Daytime

Date Visited: July 29, 2017

Miles From Home: 801

Location: Afton Wyoming

Dedication:  October 30, 2016 by David A. Bednar

From the Dedicatory Prayer: And may understanding, perspective, and peace distill upon all who come into the temple seeking inspired guidance to press forward in the challenges of life. We pray that Thy Holy Spirit will shine forth from this temple and bless all individuals, families, and communities in the entire temple district.