Today, I had the magnificent opportunity to participate in a historical event. The groundbreaking for the Provo City Center Temple. (....Provo Tabernacle Temple...)
I was so blessed to get tickets, and I ended up going with my mom and brother. We went pretty early, and were able to get seats directly behind the section marked off for stake presidents. There was about an hour and a half wait, so I worked on some stuff on my laptop while my brother and mom read. It was kind of cold, too. There was also a hot air balloon flying RIGHT NEXT to the tabernacle, and I couldn't help thinking that if that hot air balloon caught the tabernacle on fire...again...I would probably dig myself a grave right where I was sitting, and then just stay there for the rest of forever. Luckily, nothing happened.
But, the ceremony was amazing. It was really cool to be able to look back at how far we've come since the day the tabernacle burned down. The last time I had stood at the site of the tabernacle was when my mom and I drove there the morning it burned down. It was so amazing to see, a year and a half later, even though the tabernacle was just a burned out shell, it still looked bright and majestic. All of the speakers talked about the history of the temple and how important it is to the people of Provo. It was really touching.
Then Elder Holland's wife spoke, and her talk was really good. And then Elder Holland spoke. And basically...yeah. He is awesome.
The thing about Elder Holland is that he always looks so intense during general conference. But he was super perky during his talk, and even said that he was "Downright giddy!!"
He explained how we are making history, since this is the largest gathering there will ever be at the site of the tabernacle. He talked about the significance of there being two temples within a mile of each other.
However, my favorite part of his talk was when he talked about a groundbreaking being symbolic of faith. He talked about how the pioneers had tried and failed many times to build temples, but kept getting kicked out of their towns they had built, and the discouragement they felt. So when they got to Salt Lake and Brigham Young said they were going to build a temple, there were probably people who were thinking, "You really think that's gonna happen?"
I didn't get the exact quote from Brigham Young that Elder Holland gave, but paraphrasing, it went something like "I do not know if we will be able to enjoy the fruits of our labors for this temple....but this I do know. We are a temple building people...we will build a temple wherever we go!"
It was a really powerful example of faith, and it made me think of the groundbreaking in a whole new perspective. He then explained how a groundbreaking is actually an ordinance that we will all get to take part in. Then, he announced that he would be giving the dedicatory prayer to dedicate the site. The way he led up to it really made it seem like everyone in the audience was actually a real part of it all. It was nuts.
And then he said the prayer. I've heard a dedicatory prayer once before in my life. But just think about Elder Holland's conference talks. He gives pretty good conference talks. He gives even better prayers. It was the most beautiful prayer I have ever heard, and the moment he said "we dedicate this site" it was like a spiritual wave went through the crowd, and I could actually feel the difference -- that I was actually sitting on dedicated ground. It was such an incredible thing to witness.
After that, Elder Holland and all of the other general authorities and their wives came down and broke ground. Here is my attempts at a picture of that:
I hope that is big enough...people were going crazy with their cameras at this point.
After that, a million other important city people came up and got a chance to dig and get their picture taken and whatnot. And then they turned it over to us! They told us that we were welcome to come break ground and take pictures, as long as we did so in an orderly manner. So my mom and brother and I braved the crowd, and were actually able to literally participate in the ground breaking!
That....was a really awesome experience. The cool thing about the rack holding the shovels, is they made that out of old beams they salvaged from the tabernacle. Neat, huh?
After that, Elder Holland was on the stand shaking hands with people, so we went up to meet him. We were all kind of gathered around the stand and he was shaking hands with everyone around it. Sadly, my arms were too short, so I was not able to reach enough to shake his hand. I was a little disappointed, but I will always have the tennis ball incident. First my arms were too sweaty, and now they were too short. Someday I will shake his hand.
It was funny, because for how intense he acts in conference, he is SO nice and friendly. He was shaking everyone's hands and he was all "I wish I could shake everyone's hands! Can I just wave??" and he waved at all of us. He was smiling and laughing and it was really cool! I even got a close up picture of him:
After that, we took more pictures around the temple:
|Just the place I'm gonna get married. Nbd.|
|Not a tabernacle anymore!|
And then we went home! What a blessing, and an experience I will never forget.