Saturday, May 28, 2011

Weathering the Storms

While storms have ravaged the Midwest this last week, even the skies over the Kansas City Temple were tinged at times with ominous clouds.

Members of the Church in Joplin, MO are recovering from the loss of loved ones, their homes and their Stake Meetinghouse.

I appreciated this passage from Michael Otterson's post from the "On Faith",Washington Post National Blog, entitled, "Where is God (and the Mormon church) in a natural disaster?":
"What exactly does Mormon welfare and humanitarian response look like? First and foremost, it’s preparing for hard times before they hit. Mormon families generally follow a storage plan for food and essential commodities in their own homes so they are not dependent on others. Countless families have used those stores to cushion times of financial hardship without having to look to government or other help.
In infrastructure terms, Mormon humanitarian aid is warehouses and trucks, tents and chain saws, hygiene kits and canned food, generators and sleeping bags, flashlights and bottled water. The warehouses, which we call bishops’ storehouses, dot the country. Their more normal focus is on helping church members who are suffering from temporary food and commodity needs, but in a disaster they take on a much broader role, often serving as staging areas for relief efforts. Even before a hurricane makes landfall, trucks are loaded with relief aid at these regional depots and head to the expected disaster areas, where their contents will be needed and used by victims, Mormon or not.
The human side of the equation is the scores of Mormon work crews who typically converge on a disaster area from neighboring states to clean up, remove debris, repair homes and provide comfort. They are well coordinated with other relief services. They are self-motivated and self-managed, arriving with their own self-sustaining supplies in tow. Mormons who are not normally inclined to break their Sabbath day conventions by mowing their own lawns or visiting a supermarket on the Sabbath feel no hesitation in wielding a chainsaw to clear fallen branches from a hurricane victim’s damaged roof, Sunday or not. Service is every bit as much a part of their religious identity as sitting in a pew."

You can find more of this article here.

Our prayers and support go out to those who are suffering and weathering the effects of catastrophic devastation from these storms.


Sunday, May 22, 2011

Press On

These images brought to you by Val capture the temple in all its glory, standing true and faithful amidst the storms as well as in days of sun and prosperity.

And I've taken some verses from the song, "Though Deepening Trials", from the LDS Hymnbook, pg. 122 to accompany photos illustrating this.

Though Deep'ning trials throng your way,
Press on, press on, ye Saints of God!

Ere long the resurrection day
Will spread its life and truth abroad.
Will spread its life and truth abroad.

Life up your hearts in praise to God;
Let your rejoicings never cease.

Though tribulations rage abroad,
Christ says, "In me ye shall have peace."
Christ says, "In me ye shall have peace."

This work is moving on apace,
And great events are rolling forth;

The kingdom of the latter-days,
The "little stone," must fill the earth.
The "little stone," must fill the earth.

All glory to his holy name
Who sends his faithful servants forth

To prove the nations, to proclaim
Salvation's tidings through the earth.
Salvation's tidings through the earth.

Temples are truly an Ensign to the nations, beacons of truth, light and testimony.  

And the Kansas City Temple, this "little stone" among stones is my opinion.  

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

From Now

Valerie put together a video of photos that she and I have taken up to this point in the construction process of the Kansas City Temple.



Sunday, May 15, 2011


Definition of ALPENGLOW
: a reddish glow seen near sunset or sunrise on the summits of mountains.

Does the Alpenglow on the Mountain of the Lord count?

This Alpenglow moment brought to you by Valerie Anderson, live from the Kansas City Temple this week.


Thursday, May 12, 2011

"He Spoke to Me in the Temple"

This is a beautiful post about a woman who has had her own sacred experience in the temple that she would like to share.  She wishes to remain anonymous.

"The date was Saturday, February 14, 2009 - the day that mankind has designated to express our love.  I like to think that the Lord chose this day to reach out and express to me His love.  But more likely, it was probably me that had a softened mindset on this day and allowed myself to feel of His love.  Either way, the actual calendar date was about the furthest thing from my mind.  At that point in my life I was measuring time in one of two ways:  the number of days since my miscarriage (315), or even worse, the number of days since my husband and I had felt inspired to start our family (444).

The location was the endowment room of the Winter Quarter's Temple.  In each of the preceding months I had dedicated my monthly temple attendance to a time of prayer and pleading that the Lord would bless my bowels, that they would be fruitful.  It was almost as though I naively believed that I could choose the blessings I received for my temple attendance.  But something, I'm still not sure what, made this temple visit different.  My thoughts weren't consumed with thoughts of infertility.  I was genuinely allowing myself to enjoy the spirit of the temple.

Seemingly out of nowhere a voice came to me.  It was a male voice, spoken in actual words, phrased in a complete and coherent sentence.  He called me by name and said, "__________, it is going to be a while, but it is going to be alright."

I was immediately overcome with a literal feeling of warmth.  I realized that I had spent so much time pleading for a pregnancy that I never took the time to listen to what the Lord had to tell me.  This was my answer.  It obviously wasn't the answer I was seeking, but it was my answer nevertheless.  Those simple 14 words assured me that the Lord had heard my prayers, He understood my pains and my desires, He had a specific plan for me, His plan had a timeline, and His plan would bring me much joy and happiness.  This feeling of comfort and faith empowered me with the strength I needed to face a life where friends and family and coworkers all seemed to be having babies, and I seemed to be getting left out.

It has now been over two years since February 14, 2009, and the strength I originally gleaned from His words is starting to wear thin.  Yet I cannot deny that He did in fact speak to me.  So whenever I find myself looking only at the Lord's promise that "it is going to be awhile", I remind myself that the Lord spoke an even greater promise to me that day.  He promised that, "it is going to be alright.""

Thank you for sharing your sweet experience with us.

The blessings of the temple await us all.


Sunday, May 8, 2011

Groundbreaking Rocks

Today is the one year anniversary of the Groundbreaking of the Kansas City Temple!

Go here for last year's post.

In one year the construction has gone from this...

To this...

The blessings of heaven invoked that day, have poured out upon this holy land.

The morning of the Groundbreaking, I picked up three stones, used to create a path to the top of the hill. I thought it would be a good idea to save these as mementoes of this sacred event for my three daughters, who were not able to attend.

They remind me that the Lord, is my Rock and that the temple is my "high tower and my refuge". 
2 Samuel 22:2-3

It's been since the fall of 2008, that the building of the Kansas City Temple has been chronicled and shared on this humble blog. Today is a blessed day of reflection on the wondrous gifts given to us, especially the privilege and gift of having one of His Holy Houses being built in our midst.

Happy Groundbreaking Anniversary Temple Chasers!  

"When we act in obedience and always remember Him, we are built on the rock of His gospel.  We are blessed as we live His commandments."
Elder David B. Haight of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, "Remembering the Savior's Atonement," Ensign, Apri. 1988, 9.

May we all keep chasing and building upon His Rock.


Friday, May 6, 2011

Strength Beyond My Own

Strength Beyond My Own
Arr. by Greg Hansen
Written by Steven Kapp Perry

Heaven's light flows through the windows, warming even walls of stone.
In the refuge of the temple,
I find strength beyond my own.

Filled with purpose, filled with power, granted gifts to lift the world.
In God's house and in his presence,
I am filled with strength to serve.

I can feel the pow'r of Heaven as I stand on holy ground,
and the Spirit whispers what I long to learn.

Eyes are touched with understanding,  I can see beyond this world.
It's the place I reach for Heaven, and it reaches in return.

It's the place I reach for Heaven, and it reaches in return.

Photos by Valerie Anderson, taken 5/4/11.  Music can be found at, from the Seminary Doctrine & Covenants & Church History Music

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

KC Temple's all in the details

Shawna Tree of the Liberty Stake, who organized the Temple Run, sent this email:

The Committee:
Jeremiah Morgan - Stake President & Event Founder
Shawna Tree - Event Organizer & Director
Cindy McDavitt - Public Affairs & "In As Much Ministries" donation coordinator
Kate Shannon - Equipment
Isaac Freestone - Course Director
Chris Rasmussen - Award Stand & Clean up
Shirley Murdock - Food
Connie Plemons - Parking
Rachel Marble - Kids Run
Stephen Marble - Database
Lori Garcia - Web design & Photographer

Originally started as a simple Stake Activity, the Run quickly turned into a very large event.  We invited all 11 stakes in the Kansas/Missouri area as well as the community.  The news about the event spread by word of mouth and social media and we had over 1,700 participants by the first of April.  We had to close registration early due to the overwhelming response (due to our limited parking during the construction phase of the temple building).  This was a free run for everyone and also included donations for "In As Much Ministries", a local charity.  We had 149 volunteers which included 60 of our missionaries.  We had professional timing chips for the runners as well as commemorative medals for the top 3 finishers in the different age categories. There were also two kids' runs, a one-mile run and a 100 yard dash.

We were truly blessed with beautiful weather.

This event was an opportunity for families to be at the temple site during the construction phase of the temple.  Families drove from all over the area to participate; Kansas, St. Louis, Iowa and Texas.

The run was fun, exciting and most importantly...inspirational.  I know when runners were approaching the last mile, which was challenging for most, the temple came into view and was breathtaking.

I had the privilege to organize the 1st Annual Kansas City Temple Run 2011. I've never organized anything of this magnitude.  I spent about 45-60 hours a week for the last five months making sure everything was planned and progressing on schedule.  These were some long days but one thing which kept me motivated was the phone calls from the participants.  They would share stories about why they were coming to this event, or it was their first 5k run, or how thrilled they were to finally have a temple here in Kansas City. The excitement I heard in their voices was uplifting and touched me personally.  I'm very grateful for this opportunity and I look forward to the 2nd Annual Kansas City Temple Run...

Shawna Tree

Thank you Shawna and to your committee, from the bottom of all of our hearts, as well as all who participated, volunteered and worked their magic to create a memorable, worthy, inspiring event.  I know all who were able to be there are grateful and left with their testimonies strengthened.

If anyone has a story or photos of the KC Temple Run that they would like to share, please let us know!

We can't wait until next year!
(photos by Valerie Anderson)


Sunday, May 1, 2011

Run Chasers Run!

The Kansas City Temple Run was held yesterday, April 30th.  Valerie Anderson was there to catch the runners and the spirit of the day in action.

She shares her experience in a letter to Moroni:

It seems as though you are pretty busy sounding your trump (although a primary boy in my ward says he thinks you are shooting a big gun...) and educating folks on how to pronounce your name - "No, it is Mo-ron-i...not Macaroni" - that you might no have gotten the information about the big 1st Annual Kansas city Temple Run that was held this morning. It is hard to get info since you don't have time or skills to surf the Internet, so I figured you would like a little back history.

As you know, LDS folks are a happy bunch. They like to have just as much fun as the next fella, and one way is to throw a party. So, you can consider the temple run a sort of "Welcome to Missouri" party for you and the temple. It is a fun way that folks could come out to the temple. See friends. Take some pictures. Sweat a little.

Since you were facing East (we understand you were not trying to be rude with your back to us the whole time) while we were all there and the action was west of you on the closed-off streets, I thought I could give you a recount of the event.

We got up to some mostly perfect weather this morning.  It has been raining for days and days (why am I telling you?  You live outside) so I am sure there is more than one member of some planning committee from the Liberty Stake that prayed for a little break in the weather this week.  The spotty clouds made a nice picture or two of the temple.  There fortunately were plenty of folks there with cameras so between all of us, there will be some great pics floating around now.

Since I am not on the planning committee (or even a member of that stake), I don't have all the details.  Hopefully someone can fill in the blanks here.  From rumor, I hear that the registrations had to be closed a while ago at 1,500 participants.  That there were 149 volunteers - at least - to help out.  And that about a billion oranges were cut up for snacks after the race for the runners.

There were dark blue shirts everywhere!  Everyone looked great in that shade of blue.

I arrived at 8:30 am, an hour before the racing lining up began and there were already a ton of folks there.  From an event stand point, it was extremely well-organized and well-run.  I was highly impressed.  The Liberty Stake President welcomed everyone and I think I heard the stake president from Independence gave the opening prayer.

Being the humanitarian that you are, we knew that you would appreciate that a service project went along with the run today.  People donated household goods to the "In As Much Ministries."  It won't be very often I am guessing that you see folks walking around the temple with packs of toilet paper in their arms (are you allowed to use toilet paper and temple in the same sentence?).

The thing that stuck out to me the most was all the families.  Did you see them too?  Grandmas.  Dads.  Little girls.  Babies.  It was fun to see all these various shapes, sizes, ages, and colors mingling together.  Some brought everyone in the family and some came alone.  Many ran in the race, and many watched for fun and to cheer along.  It made me think that the heavens were happy to see so many gathered in.  Just having fun.

I don't know who won the race (, he was speedy!).  But here is his picture...

And there were missionaries.  Lots of missionaries.

There were missionaries in church dress directing parking.  Singing hymns while they did it.

There were missionaries "giving five" to the racers for encouragement.

There were missionaries who gave out bottled water for the thirsty...much like the spiritual "water" they give to those who spiritually "thirst".  I liked how they were waiting for the finishers.

There is something that you missed from your perch that I caught while I stood at the finish line taking some pictures.  It would be a great analogy for some sacrament talk some time, so if you ever want to use it, feel free.

As the runners came towards the finish line, one of two things generally happened.  Runners would either 1) push harder, finish faster, or pick up their sprint or 2) they were giving everything they had left to just finish.

Do you know what I learned from those finishers (drum roll please...or trump sounding as it were)?

They finished.

There are some who had others waiting for them at the end, cheering them on.  There were some who ran with someone to help them both finish.  There were some who came across the line alone.  There were some who skipped, some who leapt, some who held their arms up in delight, and there was even one who cart-wheeled through the finish line.

But it all comes back to the fundamental idea that they finished.

As I drove home, I was thinking about the temple and its purpose.  It really does in some ways boil down to the finish.  As we carry on through this life, it is very much like that race.  Some of us have runner bodies...some of us don't.  But with the temple, we all have equal opportunity to finish the race right.  Some will be sweatier than others.  Some will have someone running with them to encourage them. Some will not.  But at the end of each of our own personal race, there will be The One who will be waiting for us with His Living Water to refresh us.  He will quench our thirst.  He will sustain us.  He will be there when we finish, regardless of how worn out we look when we cross the line.

He will be there to love us and tell us, "Well done, thou good and faithful servant."  Brother Moroni, it was a great day.  If you ever find yourself with some free time and some internet waaaaay up there on top of the temple, you can see all the pictures from our outing at this location:

Sister Val

As I was typing this post from Sister Val, the song, "Lord Accept Our True Devotion", from the LDS Hymnal on page 107, kept going through my head.

"Lord, accept our true devotion.
Let thy Spirit whisper peace.
Swell our hearts with fond emotion,
And our joy in thee increase.

Never leave us, never leave us,
Help us Lord, to win the race.
Never leave us, never leave us,
Help us Lord, to win the race!"

Keep running to the Temple Chasers!



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