Light streams into the Payson Utah temple through these art glass windows based on a theme of apple blossoms because there are so many orchards in the area. After a storm the night before that nearly canceled the youth cultural celebration, the sky was untouched by clouds.
People start lining up early on the day of a temple dedication and all eyes look up.
Because a temple is built to exacting standards, the building process takes some time and everyone in the community has their eyes on it long before this day much-anticipated day of dedication. Presiding Bishop Gary E. Stevenson said, “You are never lost when you can see a temple.”
The crowd at a temple dedication always includes many children, whose parents want them to remember this event forever.
“The temple is concerned with the things of immortality. It is a bridge between this life and the next. All of the ordinances that take place in the house of the Lord are expressions of our belief in the immortality of the human soul.” Gordon B. Hinckley
Janene Baadsgaard who is compiling the history of the temple has gathered stories from many people. She said, “I’m overwhelmed that God has been able to impact the lives of so many individual people through the construction of the temple. People have been moved to change because of it.”
When the temple was still under construction, a grandmother and her granddaughter were passing the temple just as the light went on. The child said, “Oh, Jesus is moving in.” The grandmother said, “I hadn’t ordered my life to go into the temple and I determined that when it was dedicated, I would be ready to go in.”
Because of the temple dedication, this boy was able to see prophets and apostles in a way he’ll never forget.
“Let us make the temple… our ultimate earthly goal and the supreme mortal experience.” Howard W. Hunter
She will not only have a picture of the temple in her home. Now she will carry a picture in her heart because she was there on the day of dedication.
When Mercy Fielding Thompson received her endowments the Prophet Joseph Smith said, “This will bring you out of darkness into marvelous light.”
President Henry B. Eyring waves as he arrives, flanked by Elder Kent F. Richards and Elder Quentin L. Cook. “And surely there could not be a happier people among all the people who had been created by the hand of God.”
“The temple is the ever-present reminder that God intends the family to be eternal.” Ezra Taft Benson
The cover stone ceremony is held about 15 minutes after the first dedicatory session begins.
Elder Richards and President Eyring emerge from the temple for the ceremony and greet the crowd.
Elder Richards reminded the audience that this was the symbolic finishing of the temple to place a cover stone on the southeast corner [which is the point of highest light.] He reminded listeners that just as Christ is the foundation stone of the temple, so should he be of our lives.
They picked up the trowel and a bit of mortar fell on the table. President Eyring smiled, “That always happens.” This mortar is not easy to work with.
A box had been placed behind the cover stone earlier containing important materials such as the scriptures, a hymnbook, the dedicatory prayer, and some writings of President Thomas S. Monson.
Mary Cook, wife of Elder Quentin L. Cook tries her hand with the difficult mortar.
President Eyring encouraged the choir and told them how wonderfully they had done.
For the cover stone ceremony, the choir sang “Behold, the Mountain of the Lord,” a hymn in our books that is rarely sung. “Behold, the mountain of the Lord/In latter days shall rise/On mountaintops above the hills,/And draw the wond’ring eyes.’To this shall joyful nations come;/All tribes and tongues shall flow. ‘Up to the hill of God,’ they’ll say, ‘and to his house we’ll go.'”
One choir member, Allison Richardson, said that her parents, who are now both gone, grew up in Payson. “I’m not nearly good enough to be in this choir,” she said, “but I just felt like my parents helped me to get in.”
President Eyring continued to wave at people in the audience with his characteristic bright smile.
Even the youngest children get the chance to put a little mud in the crack and play a part in finishing the temple.
This boy takes the opportunity very seriously.
This girl looks like she must have heard a comment that Elder Neal L. Maxwell made at the cover stone ceremony in Nauvoo. He said, “It is a matter of trowel and error.”
For Josh Abbott, 13, the cover stone ceremony was a family affair. He was here with his parents, two sisters and a brother. He said, “I’m excited because I get to contribute.”
Maggie Abbott, 9, was dressed all in white and looked like was already dressed to go to the temple some day.
Morgan Abbott, 15, plans to tell her children and her grandchildren that she helped put the mortar in the cover stone of the Payson Utah Temple.
The Heather and Nelson Abbott family has made this temple a part of their life starting with the ground-breaking ceremony. Some of them participated in quarterly temple walks, walking the 6. 7 miles from their stake center to the temple while it was being constructed.
Nelson Abbott said that when he was young he used to ride his BMX bike on this property, which then was a turf farm and a bunch of gravel hills. He never dreamed that one day it would be a temple.
Mike Abbott still waits in line for his turn to help with the cover stone. He and his father, Nelson, have matching ties for the day.
Tami Dietz with her beautiful daughters, Madi, 16; Emma, 13; and Sofi, 6. Their stake has been pushing family history to get ready for the temple, especially setting a goal for each youth to find a family name this year. Emma has already found a family name.
Cherryl Fowers brought her two grandchildren to the temple cover stone ceremony, Tyler, 5 and Kolten, 3. Their father, who is only 35 and is the foreman of a 400 acre orchard, just had a very complicated open-heart surgery. They all need the strength of priesthood blessings and the temple just now.
Families gather after the dedication to remember this time together forever.
Marilyn Atwood’s ties to Payson run deep. Her father, a physician, delivered 3,000 babies in Payson, including her and her husband. She has been a temple worker in Provo for ten years, but will be working in the Payson Utah Temple now. “I hope all my grandchildren will be married here,” she says
“We go to the temple to make covenants with our Heavenly Father. We return home to keep them.” Linda K. Burton