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‘High School Musical’ star visits Ogden Utah Temple

By Sonja Carlson, Standard-Examiner Staff - | Sep 13, 2014

Actress KayCee Stroh joined the thousands of others who have visited The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saint’s Ogden Temple during its open house by visiting last week.

Stroh, who is a member of the LDS Church and appeared as the character Martha Cox in all three “High School Musical” films, visited the open house with her family, including her husband Ben Higginson and 1-year-old daughter, Zetta Lee.

Had an amazing time attending the Ogden Temple Open house. Please go if you can. It is so peaceful & serene. #LDS pic.twitter.com/hTaoA0ik2G

– KayCee Stroh (@KayCeeStroh) September 6, 2014

“It was very exciting to be in the temple with our sweet daughter,” Stroh told the Standard-Examiner in an email. “We have tried to instill a sense of respect for the temple in her from a very early age but nothing quite does that like actually physically feeling how truly wonderful it is within those walls. We sing ‘I love to see the temple’ to her every night before bed and when she saw the building from the outside she pointed at it and her eyes lit up!”

Having recently bought a home in Holladay, Stroh and her husband are leaving Los Angeles, as they have decided Utah has a much better quality of life and it’s just a quick plane ride for her when she’s working, Stroh said.

The mother and actress said she always jumps at the opportunity to see the inside of a temple before it is dedicated.

“It’s very difficult in our busy lives to make it to the temple let alone to travel to distant temples,” she said. “A full session in the temple takes a good amount of time and preparation … so when you are afforded the opportunity to feel the spirit and see the beauty of a new temple with your family I think it’s a great choice for members and non-members alike.”

Stroh hadn’t ever been to the Ogden temple before its renovation, but had seen before and after photos and feels it was time for an update. She said she was “overly impressed with the celestial room.”

“It was as if Heaven and the Great Gatsby had come together in a perfect combination! The lighting was stunning and the furniture was tasteful and timeless. I think this renovation will feel “present” for many years to come,” Stroh said.

She said beliefs don’t matter when it comes to respecting LDS temples.

“I loved watching the non members reactions towards the beauty and fine craftsmanship of the temple,” she said. “It doesn’t matter what your beliefs are there truly is something inspiring and impressive about the time and the respect that goes into every detail of our temples.”

When Stroh first started her career in the entertainment industry, she was an inactive member of the Church.

“It didn’t take long before I realized that some of the things that were social norms were not normal and not how I wanted to live or raise my future children,” she said.

She was afraid at first of the way the industry and her peers would react to her lifestyle choices, which are very different from the normal Hollywood attitude. She said it wasn’t long before people were asking her questions, and she often found herself surprised at the respect they had for her choices. Stroh has enjoyed being around all types of people belonging to all sorts of walks of life and religions while in L.A., and believes it’s important to be non-judgmental to those who may believe in different things.

“They don’t need to be just like me for me to love them or appreciate their company,” Stroh said. “I will just do what I do and lead by example for those that want to follow. We need to teach our children especially here in Utah that kind of love and respect for others of different backgrounds and faiths.”

Stroh has had the opportunity to speak at LDS firesides, where she often shares her love for the temple.

“Whenever I speak or give fire sides I often end by saying this, ‘I have been blessed to do some very incredible things in my short life time but achieving my goal of being married in the temple and having a temple recommend is one of my proudest accomplishments!'”

The temple offers peace and solace in an otherwise crazy world, Stroh said.

“I can’t tell you how many times Ben and I have felt confused or troubled and just a little trip to the temple has turned everything around,” she said. “So many prayers have been answered for us within those sacred walls.”

Stroh married Higginson in the Salt Lake City temple on January 9, 2009. “High School Musical” costars Monique Coleman, Ryne Sanborn and Bart Johnson were present for a ring ceremony and reception.

While the Ogden temple open house ended last week, a cultural celebration will head the rededication on Sept. 20, with the rededication following the next day. 


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