Sunday, March 25, 2012

A Big Day, Moroni

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.

Some numbers:
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.
Sister Val



seashmore said...

Thanks for sharing this. I've never been to an open house before, and it'll be nice knowing a little bit about what my tour guide might have learned. Now I'm even more excited to go with my Singles Ward to the Open House! But it's a calm excitement. Is it April 14th yet?

Quinn Rollins said...

Thanks for your thoughts here...I'm in Salt Lake City, but was in Kansas City all of last week for a conference, and was heartbroken that I was just missing the open house by a matter of weeks, and being able to attend a session at the KC Temple by a month or so.

Reading your posts over the last few years at this blog has helped me to feel closer to the building of any temple than I expected possible. Thanks for your time, your words, your pictures, but most of all for your emotion--your personality and spirit that you've poured into this project. You've blessed many lives. I'm excited for you to have this House of the Lord in your community. Bless you.

Quinn Rollins
Salt Lake City


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