Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News
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Poignant scenes are playing out in the parking lots and on the grounds around Latter-day Saint temples all over the world.
“Perhaps one of the most tender experiences I’ve witnessed over the past few months has been driving by all of our temples in Utah and seeing parked in the parking lot people wishing they could be inside,” said Elder Craig C. Christensen during Saturday’s groundbreaking ceremony for the Red Cliffs Utah Temple. He is the Utah Area president of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
“That’s as close as they can get,” he told me two weeks earlier at the Taylorsville Utah Temple groundbreaking. “They’re really anxious.”
Church leaders began to close temples in February because of the coronavirus pandemic. They ordered all 168 of them closed on March 25. Temples began to reopen on a limited basis in May, but while thousands of people have been married, sealed and endowed in temples since then, they represent a small percentage of church members and typical temple attendance.
Members hold that temples are the house of the Lord, the holiest places of worship on earth. They report yearning for the peace they find inside temples and to perform sacred ordinances by proxy for their ancestors.
“I live across the street from the Mesa Arizona Temple and I walk around it every evening,” Kyle Richardson said. “It’s been under renovation for two years now, and I see people parked around the temple nearly daily reading from scripture and praying. There are so many who are pleading to be able to get back to temple life.”
LaFern De Molder, who lives near the Frankfurt Germany Temple, said she visited its grounds on Sunday with her husband, son, daughter-in-law and grandchildren.
“People sit on the benches on the property and sit in front of the temple,” she wrote in a message. “Members in our area post pictures of their family at the temple on a Sunday afternoon. I once saw a youth from our stake sitting outside in front of the Christus statue for a very long time. My heart went out to him!”
Richardson echoed that thought.
“I’m mostly sad for the youth who haven’t been able to use their limited-use recommends,” he said. “They need this blessing more than ever.”
Church leaders are aware of the longing. President Russell M. Nelson and his wife, Sister Wendy Nelson, have expressed it themselves.
Elder Jeffrey R. Holland prayed Saturday at the Red Cliffs Temple groundbreaking for those longing for a return to full temple worship. In his dedicatory prayer for the temple’s construction, he referred to the pioneer sacrifices made to build the St. George Temple in the 1870s.
“Father, although this temple will not require quite the same sacrifice and struggle that our earlier edifice did, we still face challenges of a modern kind for which temple attendance and worship experiences there …read more
Source:: Deseret News – Utah News