BRIGHAM CITY -- Just as workers move their efforts on the new temple of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints here indoors, a church leader says Box Elder County members are beginning to work on their inner selves with a fervor he's never seen before.
Ronald Frandsen, president of the Brigham City Utah, Box Elder Stake, which will host the new temple, said he believes Box Elder County saints will be listening to General Conference this weekend with an interest unmatched in conferences of the past.
"I've detected in our stake that there is more of a preparation for conferences than ever before," Frandsen said. "We're going to be more of an attentive audience than we were in the past."
And the stake president said he includes himself in that group.
"I want to edit my life so I can be more appropriately worthy," he said.
While he can't speak for the other 13 stakes in the new temple district, Frandsen said he can feel similar vibes from the members in those other stakes as well.
"People from Malad (Idaho) or Tremonton, they speak of our temple with the same excitement that we have in Brigham City," he said. "People from Ellwood or Garland, it's the same. ... They speak of OUR temple."
Frandsen said Brigham City and Box Elder County members are doing the inner work now to get ready for the temple opening, predicted to be in the third quarter of 2013.
"In every unit in my stake, we've had people say 'I need to make decisions, don't I?' They begin to change their living pattern so they can be compatible with and worthy of temple attendance," he said.
"Teenage girls are saying, 'I want to be the first one married in that temple.' There is a lot of excitement about that."
And Frandsen said he has heard reports of this excitement from every corner of the new temple district.
"Four or five miles away to the south and the stake president in Garland, President William Rose, who lives on top of Radio Hill called me. He said 'I can open my living room windows and see the temple.'"
He said people 17 or 18 miles away can look toward Brigham City and see the temple.
And he told of families driving down from Hyrum playing guessing games in the car about where they can get their first glimpse of the temple.
Frandsen said much of the excitement for the temple stems from its presence in the lives of those who admire it so greatly.
He said he was shocked to realize that the building sat in a place where people could easily see it from so many locations, including the freeway.
"The temple sits head and shoulders above all the surrounding terrain," he said. "I wasn't seeing that when they started to build it. I thought we'd just be seeing the spires above the other buildings."
This was a surprise to him even though he knew the story of how Brigham Young had insisted on the tabernacle that sits across the street from the temple be built on the highest point in Brigham City.
"They were starting to build the tabernacle where the courthouse is now. It's a nice spot," he said.
But the stake president said Young, who was the president of the church at that time, was not happy with that location, preferring what was then known as sagebrush hill.
"He walked two blocks south," he said. "Just like those stories of him putting his cane in the ground in Salt Lake City to say where he wanted the temple, it was the same here."
Frandsen said Brigham Young formed his stake, the original one in Brigham City, on Aug. 19, 1877. It was the last official action the prophet made before he died a few days later, he said.
Today, the boundaries of that original stake are roughly the boundaries of the new temple district, Frandsen said.