Monday, February 28, 2011

Enlarging the borders...

Work is also progressing nicely on the new meetinghouse located on the temple lot.

Which begs to ask the question...what is a Stake?

From the talk entitled, "Strengthen Thy Stakes", by President Ezra Taft Benson, we find a summary including 4 purposes and 10 responsibilities of a stake.


1.  Each stake, presided over by three high priests and supported by twelve men known as a high council, becomes a miniature Church to the Saints in a specific geographic area.  The purpose is to unify and perfect the members who live in those boundaries by extending to them the Church programs, the ordinances and gospel instruction.

2.  Members of stakes are to be models, or standards of righteousness.

3.  Stakes are to be a defense.  They do this as stake members unify under their local priesthood officers and consecrate themselves to do their duty and keep their covenants.  Those covenants, if kept, become a protection from error, evil, or calamity.
We only build temples in stakes.  The blessings and ordinances of the temple prepare one for exaltation.  Of course, it is not possible for every stake to have a temple, but we are presently witnessing some remarkable--yes, miraculous--developments in the building of temples in different parts of the world.  Such a program permits members of the Church to receive the full blessings of the Lord.

4.  Stakes are a refuge from the storm to be poured out over the earth.


1.  We must be a "light" of the gospel of Jesus Christ to others.  The Savior commanded, "What manner of men ought ye to be?  Verily I say unto, even as I am." (3 Nephi 27:27)

2.  We must seek for opportunities to share the gospel message with others.  Member-missionary work is the key to the future growth of the Church and it is one of the great keys to the individual growth of our members.

3.  We should do all we can to help prepare our sons and grandsons to serve missions.  Each boy should have a mission savings account.

4.  Our homes should be places of refuge, love and harmony.  Under the direction of the father, each family should have prayers, gospel study and family home evenings.

5.  We should seek for the blessings and ordinances of the temple.  This means that we are keeping the commandments of the Lord--honesty, integrity, personal chastity--and sustaining the Lord's priesthood leadership.  This also means that the brethren are worthy to be ordained to the Melchizedek Priesthood.

6.  We have an obligation to do temple work for our kindred dead.  This means that we will do the necessary research in order for their names to be sent to the temples.  We cannot be exalted without being eternally linked to our ancestors.

7.  As families we should strive to be self-reliant.  Since 1936, members of the Church have been instructed to have in storage a one-year supply of food, clothing and where possible, fuel.  This enables us to survive the loss of employment, loss of income or even calamity, as spoken of in the revelations.

8.  Priesthood holders need to provide watchcare over quorum members and their families through organized home teaching.  We should have an interest in every fellow member of the Church to whom we may be assigned and who does not fully participate in Church activity.

9.  We should participate in the programs and activities of the Church--keep the Sabbath as a holy day, attend our meetings, accept callings extended to us, and magnify those callings.  Give service willingly; I promise you will have great joy.

10.  Every adult member should be a full-tithe payer and contribute a generous fast offering.

With these purposes and responsibilities listed, we can see the importance of stakes and the influence of them in relation to the temple.  It's no coincidence that a new meetinghouse is being built next to the temple.

"Put on thy beautiful garments, O daughter of Zion; and strengthen thy stakes and enlarge thy borders forever, that thou mayest no more be confounded, that the covenants of the Eternal Father which he hath made unto thee, O house of Israel, may be fulfilled."  Moroni 10:31

For more of President Benson's talk, go here.


Saturday, February 26, 2011

A Day in the Life of a Temple Chaser Photographer

(Author’s Note:  I have been a Temple Chaser from the first moment Cheryl said its name and that she was starting a blog.  I would have never thought I would be taking photographs of its development.  It is an easy fit.  I live about 7 minutes away. )

I think about photographing the temple every single day.  

Several times a day.

Since I have been working with Cheryl to help the blog keep updated with the construction pictures of the temple site since her move west, it is almost like I feel a special draw to not only the building, but the ground and sky themselves.

I thought I would share a typical day in my life regarding whether I will be shooting the temple that day or not. 

It all boils down to the fact that I love clouds.  Yep, I am even in the Cloud Appreciation Society.  No, really.

That, and I am a fairly light sleeper. 

I have never been one to sleep when the daylight has started to arrive.  Almost every single morning when I wake up the first thing I think is “What is the sky doing today?”  I hop (it is more like a frantic stumble) out of the bed and throw back the curtains in my room which face west (which of course doesn’t really do me any good).  If I see pink sky or clouds (the pinker the better), then I usually gasp out loud and begin running around crazily to find and throw on my housecoat (an ugly sort of robe) to run down the stairs (trying to avoid anything left on them—including my cats) and look out the east facing living room windows to look at the sun, sky, and clouds.  

Basically, I am looking to see how they are all performing together that morning.  How could they make the temple look beautiful that day?

My poor husband….I cannot even guess how many mornings I have woke him up early with my racing antics.  You know, I was thinking maybe I should sleep in the living room until the temple is finished…that way I cut out the west bedroom “middle man” window and let my husband actually sleep in.  Quietly.  I bet he would like that. 

The east facing windows usually provide the deciding vote:  dash to the temple or go back to bed.  If the sky has clouds—that carries a heavy “yes” vote.  The redder or pinker the clouds are, the more likely I am to go out.  I keep the camera in the living room on a shelf, ready to be grabbed and used at a moment’s notice. 

You might think I would be like a fireman and have my housecoat, socks, and coat all waiting with the car door open so I could just jump in my stuff and drive away (let’s be honest, I have sped to the temple more than once…rehearsing my explanation to the future police officer who will someday pull me over).

The last morning I shot (Wednesday), the sky was cloudy.  Really cloudy.

There were no pink clouds.  As a matter of fact, there was no light at all. 

But I felt something.  I call it “the urge.”

I often have this internal dialog with myself at 6:45 am.  Do I go?  Do I not go?  How will the sky compliment the temple today?   So Wednesday for example I went out into the driveway and stood there, staring up at the sky.  In my housecoat.   Like I was waiting for it to speak to me.  “Val, this is the Sky…you are going to see something neat….you should go over there.”  Some days it would be much easier for me to decide if the sky did speak to me. 

Once in a while, a woman needs easy.

Sometimes, it is easy.  When it is really wonderful out there, I have a friend who calls us on his way to work.  If it is 7:10 am and the phone rings, I know it is the “Sunrise Patrol” letting me know I should be racing to the temple.  He has never been wrong.

The bottom line is that I honestly feel like it is the Holy Ghost or God’s inspiration in my heart.  And I try to listen to it.

When I went to the temple yesterday, I felt like I was supposed to stay and see what happens.  Looking at the sky with no light.

It was 36* and I wasn’t dressed appropriately for the weather at all.  Long undies, no gloves, and the coat I was wearing is the one with the broken zipper my husband still insists on wearing around.  You know the one…the one that doesn’t zip up.


Driving there I had my prayer with Heavenly Father.  “Heavenly Father,” says me, “since I am making the effort to go today, could you show me something that Cheryl’s temple chasers will like?” The way I see it, these interesting temple sky pictures are gifts to you from Heavenly Father.  I am just a helper.

Because I am not employed out of my home, I have the flexibility of time.  I was at the grounds two hours that morning and I saw quite a show.  A cool cloudy show I can share with you.  With the Kansas City Temple the shining star of it all. 

All this just for the sunrises.

Sunsets bring the same kind of conversation with the sky and my heart, but with the sky off the back porch.

Sunsets in the west afford me a little more ease in my decision making.  First, I am already up and dressed. Secondly, I don’t have to  wake up my husband or trip over my cats.  I can see the sunsets unfolding right in front of me.  It saves me from talking to myself in the driveway in front of the neighbors as well.  The non-Mormon (what is the Holy Ghost?) neighbors. 

If the sunset and I think it will be beautiful there that evening, I race over there.  Again.  No worries though because I have already practiced my speeding explanation earlier that morning.

A photographer who I respect a lot recently told me I am the “luckiest photographer in the whole world.”  Like the day they put the second spire on the west part of the temple.  I don’t know any construction folks.  I don’t have connections.  But by chance, my friend and I happened by and only had to wait 3-4 minutes for the event to unfold.  This photo man told me he had been there for several hours waiting in the cold to capture it. 

He says I have this uncanny knack to show up when things are just getting good.  Construction.  Sunlight (he forgot to mention the clouds, which I am sure was just an easy oversight on his part…J).

I don’t believe it is luck.  If I did, it would almost be like I thought I had some gift of timing or ability to be dialed into the construction schedule.  But I don’t. 

What I do have is heart.  Feelings.  Thoughts.   Holy Ghost.

I want to share my feelings about the temple coming to Kansas City. 

I am a transplant to this area.  I have not waited my whole life for it to be built here because I don’t have a long history here. 

I am a transplant to this religion.  I haven’t waited my whole life to see a temple built because I converted in my adulthood.

But I know the feelings of the Holy Ghost and I know that this is holy ground.  Not only is the building holy and special, but all that surrounds it.  I have spent many hours there, and I know that it is a place of peace. 

I have seen countless people driving by, taking their pictures with their cell phones or walking around its grounds with their families.    They look so happy.  Excited.  Joyful.  It seems that there is something about being able to see it, visually.  Seeing it makes it real.  I love that little flitter in my heart I get when driving around the interstate corner and see the temple rise right before my eyes.  It is like coming to see an old friend.  I get it every time, even if I had seen it earlier that same day.

I am a busy LDS mother.  I have “weightier matters” in my personal life that I deal with daily.  Is it always convenient for me to take time out of my schedule to go and shoot photographs?  No.  Why do I do it?  Because it feels right.  I know it is right.

Many of you reading this may never see the Kansas City Temple in person so I hope that these visual representations I take for you help you to feel its peace and joy.

It is real and true.  Just like our God in Heaven. 

Valerie Anderson


Thursday, February 24, 2011

Determination through the Storm

A fellow Temple Chaser wanted to share an incredible experience she and her family had today in the face of the storm approaching Kansas City.

"Today was my husbands day off, it had been a month or more since we saw the temple last.  A storm was rolling into our area with an expected 4-6 inches of snow.  We decided to go see the temple despite the impending storm.  The roads were slushy but we drove slowly.  As we were driving on the highway, my husband noticed that a truck was swerving out of control and heading toward us.  It smacked right into the side of our van containing our 6 children.  I know that Heavenly Father was helping to guide the wheel because we almost went off the road, but did not.  Our brand of fifteen passenger vans are known for their tendency to roll over.  We were scared but grateful to be safe.  The truck that smacked into us was now in a ditch but everyone was ok.  The driver and his son got into our van to protect them from the sleeting snow. It was decided that they would come with us to where we were going.  Little did they know where we were going, so we took them to the temple with us.  I prayed they would feel the if on cue the children started singing, "I Will Follow God's Plan".  After the children finished singing they excitedly told the visitors about the temple.  I could feel the Spirit, I hope they did too. On the return trip home we dropped off our guests.  We will be sending them a copy of the Book of Mormon...since we have their address.

We love our new temple and not even a storm or a really scary accident will keep us from going there.  

May the Lord bless us all to be determined in the face of the storm."

Photo taken Wednesday, Feb. 23rd, 2011

Well said.  I'm grateful you are all safe.

Thank you for sharing your faith promoting experience with us.  May we all be as determined to chase the blessings of the temple and share the gospel with those along the way.

May the white snow of this storm remind us:
"Behold, the field is white already to harvest; therefore, whoso desireth to reap let him thrust in his sickle with his might, and reap while the day lasts, that he may treasure up for his soul everlasting salvation in the kingdom of God."  D&C 11:3

And also may we remember:
"Our labors in the temple cover us with a shield and a protection, both individually and as a people.  So come to the temple--come and claim your blessings."
President Boyd K. Packer

With determination...keep chasing the Temple.


Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Temple Run

Looks like a great thing for a Temple Chaser to do....Temple Run

This is a 5K Run/Walk...that means you don't have to be a professional athlete to participate.  It is a great way to associate with fellow chasers and see the temple lot though!

You can call (913) 708-4444 or email

For more info go here


Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Like a Fire is Burning...

The Spirit of God, like a Fire is Burning...

The Latter-day Glory...

...begins to come forth.

Amen and Amen.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Sunrise 2/11/11

Some beautiful photos of the sunrise on the morning of Feb. 11, 2011

Work is progressing....beautifully.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Sunset of Life

Taken from the poem, The Sunset of Life by Allison Chambers Coxsey

In the sunset of life,
I have found joy and peace;
I shall celebrate life, 
'Till my sunset has ceased.

(All photos taken by Val Anderson on 2/17/11)

Sometimes people are called to return home to their Father in Heaven before they reach the "sunset of their life".
This is the case for fellow Temple Chaser, Tom Allison.  But that hasn't stopped him from living the very best he can in his shortened sunset.

Recently, family and friends gathered to honor Tom at a living funeral held in Kansas City.  Tom's life is winding down as he has suffered for the better part of 4 years battling with cancer.

As Tom as found joy in the building of the Kansas City Temple, we have found joy through him.  He has indeed shared "love and peace" in his short life and sunset years. His countless acts of service and love have and will be an enduring legacy through the many sunsets of lives of those he's touched. Tom has a talent for touching lives.

With deepest sorrow and sadness for those of us left behind in this world that you have made better by being in it...may the Lord bless you Tom, may God speed and keep you till we meet again....buddy, Temple Chaser, cohort, humanitarian, father, son and friend.


Thursday, February 10, 2011

Clothed in White

White than white...these photos taken yesterday at the Temple.

I found a talk, entitled "Right for the Climate", by Elder John H. Groberg from the New Era, March 1992, that held timely and important advice on dressing appropriately for physical and spiritual "climate".  He has included many scriptural references relating to being clothed in righteousness.

I was particularly touched by the example he pointed out of the Savior.
"I think it is significant to note that when the Savior appeared after his resurrection, he was simply attired.  "They saw a Man descending out of heaven; and he was clothed in a white robe" (3 Ne.11:8).  Here was the Master of Creation?  He could have worn anything he desired, but he chose a plain, white robe."

Read more of Elder Groberg's talk here.

There is new signage at the temple....

And the Temple is beautiful clothed in white...

And the meetinghouse trusses appear straight and true....

It's a glorious day for the Temple...clothed in white...right for the climate.


Sunday, February 6, 2011

A Temple Chaser's Journal Entry Today

A fellow Temple Chaser, Alisa Bridges, sent me an email this evening. Included, were photos and a journal entry from today's visit to see the Temple.

And some shots of the Stake Meetinghouse.

From Alisa's journal...

"I arose at 6:00 am this morning, still dark, the earth still asleep.  Yet I arose and got dressed in my warm clothes and snow stomping boots.  After fixing warm water and lemon, I set out for my beloved temple.  I haven't been there in a couple of weeks and my heart yearned to be there.   As I drove, I prayed for a beautiful sunny sunrise.  Something I haven't seen in quite some time.  I parked and bowed my head in prayer for my daily prayer, thankful for all He has given me; petitioning my souls desires, and once again asking to be holy as He is holy.  I opened my eyes to a desperado morning.  You know the kind that your feet get cold in the winter time, the sky won't snow and the sun won't shine.  It's hard to tell the nighttime from the day.  As I looked at this gray sky a beautiful peace came over me.  It was so calm and serene this morning at the temple.  As I took pictures, I thought of the day that we could each finally enter this Holy House of the Lord.  My heart leaps at the thought.   It may be raining, but there's a rainbow above you.  The temple gives me this hope.  This hope of a new day, of love, rainbows and sky's a shining."

Thank you for sharing your experience Alisa.

If anyone would like to share their experiences as a Kansas City Temple Chaser, please let me know!  Maybe you have had a successful temple-themed F.H.E., or a Primary, Youth or Ward activity revolving around the Temple.   Or perhaps you have snapped a photo or two from I435.
Email me.



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