The following letter, addressed to Moroni from Valerie Anderson, was written about her experience at the temple yesterday. She and her husband were there with others, being trained as tour guides for the open house. The photos are her first pictures taken behind the fence. What a memorable, special day! Enjoy.
Dear Brother Angel Moroni:
Happy 1st Anniversary!
Your first year in Kansas City has passed. So, what do you think?
When our family moved to KC, on the day we arrived the first place we ate together here was at the Taco Bell on Barry and North Oak (yep, we were living large that day!). Each year, around the first week of October, we always try to get a little Taco Bell from that same location. There is something about the celebration of our first activity together as family here in our new home. And there is something grounding about tradition.
You have witnessed so many neat things in the last year. While it is true that much of the exterior work was complete when you were placed, there was a strange sort of ….ok, Moroni is in place…what is left? Naïve on the part of us who have never worked a single day in construction or seen a temple built before. I am kidding when I say that I hoped they would fling open the gate the next day and say, well, you are here…come on in…but in some seriousness I sort of hoped it would happen.
Since Cheryl is so good at journaling, the entirety of the whole building process has been recorded and preserved. Check out the blog if you want to read about it:
I am bumping into a lot of members of the church in some of the work I am doing, and I have only met one in the last several weeks that has not heard of the Temple Chasers blog. Many folks keep up with you and the goings-on at the temple through it…which is a really nice thought that we have been able to work together to help so many people feel connected to the construction process and details of the temple. I can tell it helps them feel closer to the temple that they may not get to see often in person or maybe have never seen.
So, on to the good news.
Yesterday, you must have thought it was a sight to see probably close to 2,000 folks come to the meetinghouse across the street and then actually come through the temple for a tour! The last time I remember that many folks gather there was last year, with the first Temple Run (which by the way, they are doing again on May 19th).
My husband, Mr. Fun and I were in that throng yesterday. We were some of the folks selected to be Tour Guides/Hosts for the Open House. There were generally a few couples from each unit, in each of the 12 stakes (I think) who were selected to participate. We met together for some training on how to best do our assignments. It was interesting and I took a few notes.
The Temple President will officially receive the keys to the building on April 3rd.
There are 100,000 saints in Kansas and Missouri
There are 25,000 saints in the Kansas City Metro area
The temple is being built in part as a “memorial to the early Saints.” (love this thought) Tour groups will have 25-30 people.
The tour should last about 40 minutes. There will be a short (about 12 minutes) introductory film about temples and then the tour through the building.
They said they are expecting 80,000-90,000 folks so far.
There are registrants from 43 states and 4 countries who have reserved tour tickets.
There will be about 400+ members volunteering each day.
Other notes: We were able to listen to some counsel from Elder Deschler, who is supervising the event. He talked about how everyone who comes to visit is our guest and that the purpose of the open house is not to preach or proselytize, but to help people grow understanding and knowledge of what we believe and help them feel the Spirit. One thing he said that I really liked is that we hope that when people leave the Open House, regardless of who they are, that perhaps they will ask themselves “Lord, what will thou have me do?”
A representative from the church’s Public Affairs department gave the sequence and break down and mechanics of how a tour will work. Each tour guide was given a card with informational outline that we are to know so we can share the information in our own personal words and manner. Instead of people moving from room to room and have a guide waiting there, we will be with our group from start to finish.
A representative from the Temple Department reminded us that we are to be the kind, gracious people that we would be if we were having guests in our home. The mechanics of moving several thousand people a day through some pretty tight quarters will require no less than acute attention to time management, concise sharing of the information, and steadiness on our part.
You may or may not know about the current hit movie called “Hunger Games.” While I have not read it, or have any interest in it, I do not want anyone to tell me the story line or what happens. If I go to see it, I want to have my own full, personal experience.
We were in the last tour yesterday of the first training session, second to the last couple from the end. We took some pictures outside (which is allowed…none inside…even no sneaky camera phones please). We smiled. We toured. We visually tried to soak it all in. We were edified.
Just like the movie, I do not want to share all the details with everyone here. It was a treat, hopefully that most people reading this blog will get to experience for themselves.
I do have a personal note regarding what it felt like to finally go through that chain link fence and gate I have photographing around for almost two years.
It was certainly a moment. It reminded of me when I climbed to the top of the Great Wall of China.
While on the temple grounds, I did not feel it appropriate to do the Rocky Balboa victory jumping like I did in China, I did have to do a little “woo hoo” which Mr. Fun recorded on the camera.
(pictures of rocks from original construction site)
It was like finishing a great, long amazing race. Of course, there is still so much to do. There is still many photos to be taken, but it sure will be nice to not have to climb on the bed of the truck or the roof of the car (in heat, in snow, in cold, in rain etc) to do it….:)
There is no better way that I could have thought to spend your anniversary with you, Brother Moroni.
I enjoy hosting company and with the long-awaited Kansas City Temple dedication less than a month away, it is time to get to work. A joyous work that we are so happy to be enlisted in doing!
One thing I do before my company arrives is we talk about what they are interested in doing and seeing while they are here. As I have taken many “field trips” throughout the city, it might not surprise you that my camera has made those trips too. It has helped me to see what the city really has to offer.
I was recently asked to compile some of those field trip photographs for a Rotary International project. It is always nice to have variety, so I asked fellow field trip buddies, Dave and Carol Tallant of Dave’s Hot Rod and Auto Body Shop to pick some of their favorite photos they have taken to add to the project. It was fun selecting which should be considered and reminiscing about our fun times together over the last several years.
Many of you reading this will be making special efforts to come see the temple for the Open House and/or Dedication. So, as our guests, I wanted to share with you what neat things you might get to see while you are here.
Kansas City sometimes gets some flack for not being high on the “destination location” list. I beg to differ. We have what is considered one of the newest and finest performing arts centers in the world. We have a long pioneer history. We are the home of American Idol winner David Cook. We have world championship BBQ. We have the World War 1 Museum. And we have a temple!
Michael Albrechtsen presented at the Platte City Stake Women’s Conference on Saturday March 3rd, 2012.
He is the muralist for the Kansas City Temple.
His background: Raised in Bountiful, Utah
Served a mission in Thailand
He started to do art because it was a desire in him, plus there was mention of it in his patriarchal blessing
Master’s Degree in Art from Utah State University
Upon graduation, recruited by Hallmark to work. Moved to Lenexa, Kansas.
Member of the Lenexa Stake
Has two paintings in other temples: Finland and Sweden
This was his first mural. Ever.
He is bound by legal contract to not show pictures of the mural, architecture features, symbolism or discuss it’s elements. He said the primary reason is that if that information is released early before an open house, with graphic enhancements so easily performed by so many people today, they could alter the images or text in a negative way, thus dissuading people to attend the temple.
He did say that he would share some of his other work that perhaps we might remember when we visit the KC Temple.
Notes from his talk: The Church has been moving back to murals in the temples for the past 10-15 years.
Which temples get them is based on prayer, financial standing for the time, etc…
When a temple is designed, the interior is not always designed or finished when it is blue printed. The interior comes along later in the building process.
There are many aspects to “The Mural” as he called it. The underline message he wanted to be very clear about is that he was not the true artist. He was allowed to participate but the true artist was Heavenly Father leading through inspiration and guidance of the Holy Ghost. He was just the hand that put on the paint.
The Church has always supported the arts.
Music in the church has always generated a lot of discussion and attention.
We cannot use visual arts to gain attention for the opening of a meeting or blessing the sacrament. But visual arts do carry a spirit and have their own place in the church.
The murals in the Salt Lake Temple were somewhat modeled after the concept of the Sistine Chapel.
In the late 1800’s, the church sent 5 artists to Paris for what are known as “Art Missions.” There they learned from master painters so that they could return to Utah to paint the murals for the temples. The reason they were sent to Europe is because these artists did not have access to great teachers and learning in the frontier west. The missionaries used to write back to Utah from France asking if the temple was almost ready to be painted….and they hoped not…..because they weren’t ready to paint it.
Brother Michael felt the same. He said painting the mural was a very daunting task and he was very scared.
He calls it his “American Idol” moment.
He was not asked to even paint it until AFTER Angel Moroni was already placed, in March of 2011.
He put paint to canvas on July 1, 2011 and it took six months.
He said that he was in SLC at the Church Administration Building when he was offered the commission. After the meeting, he went outside and sat in the grounds outside the building. He always carries a little sketch pad and took less than 10 minutes to sketch out a small drawing. He kept it, and decided he needed more guidance from the Church. He said he asked about details (which seasons would they like, what elements like vegetation, animals, etc…) He said he was surprised but they agreed to anything he wanted to do. “Pray and you will now what goes into it. You will receive the guidance and inspiration you’ll need.” He had complete autonomy to do what he felt to be right.
What surprised him is that after he took months to study and prepare what the mural looked like, in the end it was basically a very close finished version of his original 10 minute gut drawing he did that day in SLC.
He said that when he was selected to be the muralist, the church showed him the other concept drawings of some other artists that had also applied for the job. His submission and another artist submission that was not selected was almost the exact same. Same elements, same composition “to a T.” It confirmed to him that what he had created was what was supposed to be painted.
He likes to draw from his personal experiences and travels for his inspiration of his work.
He then showed us a few paintings on canvas he had brought with him as well as some projected slides of paintings.
He said the most important thing he could stress is how everyone has a gift. It is our responsibility to find out what it is, work hard at it, and seek it out in fullness. As we develop the gift the best we can, physically, we then should work to add our spiritual gifts to it. The combination of the two is what gives us power. If we spiritually prepared He will give us the talent enhancement that we need. Plus our connection to Heavenly Father will grow. God will make up the difference for what we lack (as an artist or otherwise).