No cookies in tent for Ogden temple open house

Wednesday , July 30, 2014 - 6:45 PM

OGDEN -- The emphasis is on feeding the spirit, not the body, at the Ogden Temple open house. There will be no cookies served in the hospitality tent, as there have been at past temple open houses.

“The money will be better spent for wells in Africa, or wheelchairs in Russia,” said Yvonne Halls of Enterprise, hospitality chair of the Temple Committee for the Open House and the Rededication. “There are plenty of treats just here at the temple, without food.”

Visitors are invited into the hospitality tent, after quietly touring the temple.

“In the past we’ve had a few pictures for people to browse through and observe, but they haven’t had a clear message,” said Elder Kent F. Richards, of the Second Quorum of the Seventy of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. “Since there won’t be any talking tours for the public, we wanted them to get a clear message of what we’d tried to portray through their temple experience.”

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In the center of the tent is a statue depicting Jesus Christ.

“He presides over all that we do, including the Temple,” said Richards.

The statue is an 8-foot-tall reproduction of the original “Christus,” in Copenhagen, Denmark.

“This is a real focus point, to help people understand that all of it — all of the temple, and all of the activities in this tent — are to point us toward the Savior, and the Savior’s teachings,” added Julie Sheanshang of Pleasant View, public affairs chairwoman for the Temple Open House and Rededication Committee.

At the east end of the tent are photos of three rooms visitors tour in the Ogden Temple, with brief explanations of the ordinances that take place in those rooms. On the south wall are pictures representing Jesus’ life and experiences, as they relate to temples.

“Then, finally, we connect in families,” said Richards. “So it’s savior, temples and family, and how they all interact through eternity.”

A video with images of families and temples is at the end of the exhibit, and includes information about the LDS emphasis on genealogy work.

“The temple ordinances are to unite families, and to help us all to make it back into our Heavenly Father’s presence,” said Sheanshang.

A small booklet will be available to help visitors get started tracking down their family history.

Another break with tradition is that there won’t be any brochures passed out at the Ogden Temple open house.

“Instead of a brochure with pictures of the temple, we’ve got a card that has a website, mormontemples.org/ogden, that will show them the pictures. It has a photo gallery of the Ogden Temple, and some video that’s been shot, so they can have a permanent memory of it,” said Richards. “It also has connections to other websites such as family history, for more information about the church, and so forth so.”

Open house committee members added a modern twist to the hospitality tent, borrowed from a previous temple open house in Mexico.

“They have backdrops of the Ogden Temple, so families or individuals can stand in front of that backdrop and they’ll take the picture. You see your picture as they take it, and you can enter in your e-mail address,” Sheanshang said. “I think it’s just kind of one of those novel things — you know how we take selfies, and we’re just all excited to have this picture. So it’s just a beautiful picture of the temple, and there’s no weather, and there’s nobody standing in front of you — it’s just you.”

Attached to the e-mailed photo will be links to church websites. Those websites allow visitors to learn more about the church, if they choose to.

“Please come,” said Richards, inviting people to take a tour. “Don’t hesitate. You’re not going to be overwhelmed by proselytizing or anything that takes place here — in fact there isn’t going to be any proselytizing. We just want everyone to come and be welcome, and feel like they’re invited guests into a very special place.”

Contact reporter Becky Wright at 801-625-4274 or bwright@standard.net. Follow her on Twitter at @ReporterBWright

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