Former mayor influential in Ogden Temple renovation

Tuesday , July 29, 2014 - 4:27 PM

OGDEN -- The role the newly renovated Ogden Temple of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is believed to be taking in the redevelopment of the city was one theme of a media tour of the new building Tuesday.

Elder Michael John U. Teh, a member of the church’s First Quorum of the Seventy and assistant director of the church’s temple department, in an interview said the renovation coincided with the community effort to remodel the downtown area.

He said in keeping with a strict cleaning schedule temples undergo, after 40 years of operation it was time for Ogden Temple renovations four years ago when the church closed the temple.

But he said officials decided upon a path of major renovations as a part of the city’s efforts to redevelop.

“We hope the restoration is satisfactory with the community and in line with what they have done,” he said.

As they introduced the media to the changes at the beginning of the media tour, officials specifically thanked former Mayor Matthew Godfrey for his role in the development of the changes and facilitating the temple tours.

Referring to the former mayor as Brother Godfrey, Elder Craig Fisher, an Area Seventy official of the church and coordinator of the temple rededication committee, thanked Godfrey for his role in helping to put up temporary structures that will serve as areas in the Ogden Tabernacle where temple visitors will be shown a movie before the tour outlining the role of the temple in worship for LDS members.

Godfrey was featured as the only person available for media interviews following the media tour who is not a member of the church’s hierarchy, referred to as general authorities.

In an interview, Godfrey said the temple is key to the success of the downtown area.

“This is the most visited site in downtown by quite a margin,” he said, predicting exponential growth in the downtown area now that the renovation is complete.

“Members will come to worship and as they have feelings that exist in the temple, they will come again and again.”

Godfrey was given a voluntary role on the temple renovating committee to oversee physical aspects of the facilities.

“It has been remarkable and touching to see how much people have come and wanted to be a part of this temple block,” he said.

Of particular notice, Godfrey said has been a coming together of church members and non-members alike.

He said he had an emergency last week when a railing was determined to be unfit and had to be replaced in time for the open house.

“We realized it had to be done out of iron,” Godfrey said.

A non-member, he said, dropped literally everything he was doing to be a part of the solution and in the process added additional adornments and decorations to make the railing more beautiful.

The renovated temple will serve 73 LDS stakes from Riverton, Wyoming and southwest Wyoming as well as from Layton to the Box Elder County line.

There will be 250,000 members of the church who will call the Ogden Temple their place of worship.

You may reach JaNae Francis at 801-625-4228. Follow her on Twitter at JaNaeFrancisSE. Like her Facebook page at 

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