What an incredible week it has been. I think I shed more tears during the celebration and unveiling of the magnificent Provo City Center Temple than I did the day the tabernacle burned down. “How could that be?” you ask. I know. It surprised me probably the most. But I guess it all started with the Provo City Center Temple magazine.
It celebrated the Tabernacle and recounted the experience the night of the fire in detail and the devastation felt by those involved and the community at large. What had come to be a treasured icon in the community and among our families was now lost, seemingly destroyed forever.
The majestic tabernacle instead of being the heart of Provo and a gathering place for the community, families, musicians, and saints was now a shell of ashes, destruction, and loss. I remembered the times we went to stake conference there, the occasions we attended general conference priesthood sessions, and the beauty, uplift, and unity it brought our community.
Tragedy, shock, disbelief, and devastation were the words used to describe this loss and the feeling in our hearts. This gem in Utah County was but ashes. Though the emotions were real and intense, I can hardly remember them now.
In a following general conference session, President Monson announced that the Provo Tabernacle would be restored into the second temple in the city of Provo, Utah. Disbelief of a whole different sort was prevalent then. Could this really be? Can they actually do that? Is it even possible to rebuild? And a measure of hope broke through the despair like a stream of light breaks through the clouds.
An artist’s rendition of the new temple was released, and we began to see a miracle take place. Construction began and we were all hopeful and as it progressed often amazed. All the while, we watched the progress with wonder, excitement, and anticipation.
Now, five years after that devastating fire, a beautiful temple has risen from the ashes. We are just beginning to see this miracle and beauty inside and out that has come from the resources, efforts, and skills of many. This causes me to reflect on the sacrifice the saints made to build temples to God during the early days of the restored church.
In both the Kirtland and Nauvoo Temples, the women responded to the call by grinding their precious china into small pieces to be used for the walls of the temple to give the edifice a glistening appearance. I believe they would be pleased to see the craftsmanship, care, and sacrifice that have gone into this our temple.
The analogies are many and the lessons evident, saving what was thought to be lost and exalting this precious edifice beyond its original grandeur into something even more beautiful. Nothing is beyond the reach of the Atonement of Jesus Christ. Nothing. This symbolism is precious.
In preparation for the open house, pictures were released, websites updated, and arrangements made to unveil this edifice to the community and dedicate it as a House of God. They released a Provo City Center Temple Completed video. Enjoy.
In 1989, Walter Penning formed a consultancy based in Salt Lake City and empowered his clients by streamlining processes and building a loyal, lifetime customer base with great customer service. His true passion is found in his family. He says the best decision he ever made was to marry his sweetheart and have children. The wonderful family she has given him and her constant love, support, and patience amid life's challenges is his panacea.