OGDEN -- The Ogden temple of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has been a central figure in the life of Ogden resident Robert H. DeBoer.
The 84-year-old said his whole life has been focused around temples, and his life has been particularly centered around the Ogden temple since it was dedicated in 1972.
"My history in Ogden is very highly related to the church," said the former bishop and former high councilman in the Ogden area.
His parents emigrated from Holland to the United States in 1920 as converts of the LDS Church.
"That's why they came," he said. "They wanted to be sealed in the temple, so serving in the temple is special in our family."
But DeBoer said the Ogden temple has been very special in the wordwide church as well.
"The Ogden temple has been such a landmark and such an example. ... When it was first opened, it actually did more endowments than any place in the world," he said. "It has provided a real connection for people here in this area."
DeBoer worked in the Ogden temple for five years and was there the night it closed.
"I walked away sad and happy, if you can be both. I was sad because of the friendships I had developed over five years," he said, referring to the 1,500 to 1,800 volunteers who served there.
But he said he was happy knowing what the revitalized building could do for the city.
"It brightens up the city," he said. "It gives people a great feeling, a feeling that something new is happening in the community."
Having retired as assistant to the president at Weber State University and having also served for a time as president of the Utah League of Cities and Towns, DeBoer has a particular perspective on what the beautified temple will do for the area.
"As you look ahead, you recognize that it will open up a whole new era for the Ogden area," he said. "The church has done a good job in providing development around it. It will bring solace to the community."
He said the rebuilt temple and the other church developments in downtown Ogden will go far in helping to revitalize Ogden.
He also noted the church's major contributions to the Lantern House homeless shelter as part of this revitalization.
"If the economy hadn't taken a nose dive, the church would have been able to do it quicker," he said.
But DeBoer also believes the remodeling effort will fix seismic problems the building had that were of concern to officials.
"Ogden has a lot of (natural) springs," he said. "There are a lot of things to do for that. This was a way of correcting these problems. It also gives the area a different perspective, a different look."
DeBoer said he can feel area residents get more and more excited for the temple to be finished and open again, expected in 2013.
"Because it is down now, people are getting anxious to come back," he said. "I think there will be a new push for people to come back."
And DeBoer said he felt eager for the blessings of having the temple so close by to return to local residents, especially young people.
"I worked a lot in the baptismal," he said. "It was exciting to see these young people come. It opened up a whole new world for them."
He recalls seeing various youths become touched by the messages in the temple.
"It gave them a different closeness," he said. "It provides a more concentrated effort of what to do in your life. It gives them something to do."