BRIGHAM CITY -- Lane Montgomery keeps an eye on two temples for all those who can't.
At the renovation of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints Ogden Temple and the construction at the Brigham City Temple, Montgomery has been there to document the seemingly slow changes. But those changes -- including concrete poured for the west wall of the Ogden temple and granite applied to the fountain at the Brigham City site -- will add up to two new, remarkable buildings.
Each week, Montgomery's detailed and photo-heavy electronic correspondence goes out to hundreds of people in Northern Utah. In them, the Brigham City resident explains the bolts, capstones, pavers, even machinery, that show up on the temple grounds.
"Concrete is being pumped to the last section of wall on the west side of the (Ogden) temple," he reported in a recent email. "Once all the exterior walls are in place it'll be time to start erecting the rod iron (structural steel I-beams) inside the walls to form the third floor. Very little of this will be visible from my vantage points, but I'll do my best to show what I can see through the fence."
For all of Montgomery's close-ups and insider tips, however, he has never set foot on the construction sites themselves. Safety concerns prevent everyone except construction workers from being allowed on the sites. The correspondence comes courtesy of a five-year-old Canon camera with a zoom lens, and years of experience in the construction business.
Montgomery calls the email his "walk-around."
For each email episode, he has a set path around each temple, shooting through open gates and peepholes left in the green shielding of the chain-link fences. He documents changes from week to week to illustrate the differences taking shape behind the fences.
The photos are informative, but the charm lies in Montgomery's ongoing dialogue. It's affable, personable, and each email is signed "Love ya, Bro. M."
"It was a beautiful day," one recent walk-around email started, "and it could only have been made better if you had been with me."
"He just has such a highly personable nature about him," said Rick Satterfield, a Pocatello resident who founded and maintains the site www.ldschurchtemples.com. Montgomery also contributes photos of temple construction to Satterfield's website.
"He has an amazing attitude," adds Satterfield. "That's one of things that's most appealing about receiving his email."
Montgomery, 63, began his walk-arounds in 2011 after the Ogden Temple closed for renovation. He had been a temple ordinance worker for four years, and the temple closing meant a sad parting from those with whom he had formed friendships.
"It becomes a very close-knit group," he said.
The group included a large contingent of Box Elder residents who drove south to work in the Ogden Temple, a number Montgomery estimates at about 200.
He began to do weekly reports for friends, many of them elderly, who couldn't see over the fence or didn't have the health to make their own inspections. When construction ramped up on the Brigham City location, it was a natural to add that to his temple jaunts.
His email list has grown to nearly 400 names, and many of those email missives are forwarded to others.
Montgomery said his email correspondence has no affiliation with the LDS Church.
It's the connection that Montgomery strives for.
"I've been doing it (correspondence) my entire adult life," he said. "I keep in touch with hundreds of people -- former employers, former employees, classmates, roommates, missionary companions, the whole gamut."
He adds, "I'm something of a nuisance, I imagine."
Email provides the perfect quality -- immediacy, or a quick tap on the shoulder to say hello. "Plus, my handwriting's atrocious," he said. "I'm really grateful for a good typing teacher in school."
Montgomery claims he is not a blog person, though he follows the several blogs out there relating to the Brigham City Temple.
The difference is, he said, "When I send out an email, it will land on their computer, and they can make the decision as to whether or not to look at it or delete it or just ignore it. In a blog, you put it out there and if somebody thinks about looking at your blog, then they look at. I guess I'm more pushy than a blogger is."
Satterfield notes that the "walk-around" email is unique.
"I've not seen this particular mass emailing approach before," he said.
Montgomery said he will likely keep up his "walk-around" email until both temples are close to being finished, or until he decides to serve a mission for the LDS Church.
When his project's finished, he will have a detailed history of the temples' construction.
"I really feel it's more selfish than anything," he said, "because I want it, and I can share it."
Montgomery can be contacted at email@example.com.
His website is at http://brighamcityldstemple.blogspot.com/.