Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Four Hours on Temple Square

July 17, 2016: Jake, Dylan, and Sarah in front of the Conference Center 
across from Temple Square in Salt Lake City, Utah.

On Sunday we decided to tour Temple Square in Salt Lake City. Before this family trip, as I mentioned in the last post, Sarah hadn't been here since she was thirteen months old, at Thanksgiving in 1990. Dylan had never even set foot in Utah ever in his life. 

Although my dad is a natural-born Utahan, having been born in Salt Lake City (the youngest of my grandparents' eleven children and the only one born in a hospital), he had moved with his parents to California when he was about nine years old and rarely went back to visit his birth state. When he did, he and Mom never took us kids along, so my visits to Utah can be counted on one hand: 

1) when my bestie Peggi and I were nineteen years old and stalked the Osmond brothers until they finally invited us to spend a week with their family in Provo during the summer of 1974; 2) the previously-mentioned visit to my parents in 1990; 3) our trip to deliver my son Jacob to the Mission Training Center in December 2010, when we also toured Temple Square; and 4) our current trip to see Jacob and Danielle, and to pick up Dylan's car.

Outside the Tabernacle on Temple Square. This building was the site of
twice-yearly LDS general conferences for 132 years. It seats 7,000 people.
The Tabernacle was constructed from 1864 to 1867.

Thus, we decided that a visit to historic Temple Square in Salt Lake City was in order. The previous day, we'd arranged to meet Jacob and Danielle here at 12:00, since they live just a 20-minute drive away. Our drive was closer to an hour, but we arrived right around noon as planned. However, it turned out that Jacob hadn't gotten off work until 4:30 a.m., so he slept late and they didn't join us until about 1:30. Since they wanted to tour the Church's new Conference Center with us, we explored the rest of Temple Square while we waited for them.

Inside the Tabernacle, this pipe organ has 11,623 pipes!

We didn't have time to see all the sights that we'd wanted to visit, but we squeezed in as many as we could. Temple Square is the home of many historical places and important events in the history of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, for those of us who are LDS (Mormon). And living history is so much more fun than plain old dates and paragraphs in history books!

Sarah, Dylan, Jake, and Mark inside the Tabernacle.

Next we toured the Assembly Hall on Temple Square, which was used for
various religious and community meetings, much as it is still used today.
Constructed between 1877 and 1882, it seats 1,400 people.

All windows in the Assembly Hall feature stained glass, which is pretty from outside...

...but absolutely breathtaking when seen from inside, illuminated by sunlight.

The organ inside the Assembly Hall.

The centerpiece of Temple Square, of course, is the beautiful Salt Lake Temple,
which took forty years to build and was dedicated on April 6, 1893.

A side view of the Salt Lake Temple .

The front face of the Salt Lake Temple, and the reflecting pool.

With his powerful telephoto lens, Dylan got this great shot
of the Angel Moroni atop the Salt Lake Temple.

Inside this window of the South Visitors Center is a replica of the Salt Lake Temple.
Surrounding the replica is a reflection on the glass of the real Salt Lake Temple behind us.

The grounds of Temple Square are filled with monuments, statues, and fountains.
These seagulls perch on top of a monument commemorating the Miracle of the Gulls,
when gulls swooped in to save the first harvest in 1848 from invading swarms of insects.

The full Seagull Monument.

As always, Dylan is fascinated with capturing the motion of water.

A monument to the handcart pioneers who endured great hardship.

Monument to the restoration of the Melchizedek Priesthood.

Monument to the restoration of the Aaronic Priesthood.

A fountain in front of the South Visitors Center.

A monument to the three witnesses to the Book of Mormon, who testified
of handling the gold plates: Oliver Cowdery, David Whitmer, and Martin Harris.

Statue of the prophet, founder, and first President of the Church,
Joseph Smith (on the right), with his beloved brother Hyrum Smith to the left.

Small statue of Joseph Smith outside the Joseph Smith 
Memorial Building, which was being renovated.

The front of the new Conference Center, completed in April 2000.
This 1.4 million square-foot structure seats more than 22,000.

Fountains of recirculated water splash over and through the building.

Sarah, Jacob, Dylan, Danielle, Jake, and Mark listen to our tour guide, 
Elder Fairbanks, in the main auditorium of the Conference Center..

This main auditorium is where our church leaders gather every April and October
to speak to our worldwide membership of more than 15.6 million people. This room
seats 21,200 people, not including the 360-voice Mormon Tabernacle Choir, who
sit in the seats below the beautiful 7,667-pipe, 130-rank Schoenstein pipe organ.

Even beyond the auditorium, there are many interesting things to see,
such as this fountain, as viewed from the main floor...

...and as viewed from two stories above.

Original oil paintings and sculptures are found on every floor, in every room. This one,
called "Certain Women," depicts the faithful, nameless women who followed Christ.

Amazing floral arrangements, vases, and Native American artwork abounded.

A bust of our current prophet and President of the Church, Thomas S. Monson.
One room is filled with busts of every prophet since Joseph Smith.

I could have sat in this area forever, relaxing to the sound of 
the fountain waters rushing outside the window.

The dome of the Tabernacle as seen from the upper floor of the Conference Center.

The Tabernacle as seen from the roof of the Conference Center.

The Salt Lake Temple as seen from the roof of the Conference Center.

By the time our tour of the Conference Center ended, it was nearly 3:30 and Jacob had to leave so he could get ready for work. Sadly, we said our final good-byes to him and Danielle, since we would be leaving directly from the resort to return home on Monday. I'm so happy and grateful we got to spend a few days with them!

The spire at the top of the Conference Center, and the top of the pool and
fountain, which were on-again, off-again since it was being repaired that day.

Sarah and I were all for continuing our exploration of Temple Square, but the guys all wimped out, expressing instead their desire to go find some lunch and then return to our condo. So we skipped several items on my list, such as the Beehive and Lion Houses and some favorite presentations in the visitor centers, and we settled for driving around Salt Lake City, looking for somewhere to eat lunch.

The huge roof of the center is laid out for gatherings of people, as well as
a garden place filled with native trees and plants, arranged to be naturally
beautiful when viewed from the surrounding business offices and apartments.

We found a nearby Carl's Jr. and then headed back to the resort to relax and eventually enjoy a dinner of spaghetti and garlic bread. Sarah rented another video, which we watched together at the end of the evening. Since we'd be heading home the next morning, we also washed our laundry and cleaned up the kitchen and got a little head-start on packing. Then it was off to bed for one last night of sleep in our comfy resort beds.

Mark paused to rest or close his eyes at every couch and chair we passed!
Well, we must remember that he'd had a heart procedure just six days earlier.
Behind him, Jake, Dylan, and Jacob return from the drinking fountain.

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