Twenty-one years ago this August, I stood at the gates of the Salt Lake temple for the first time. I was thirteen, visiting Utah as a tourist, and totally obsessed with the brides and their photographers, perched in nooks and alcoves and on steps in every corner of the temple. My sister and I ran around the iron gates, comparing brides, trying to decide which one was the prettiest. I wrote in my journal that night that I wanted to be married in the Salt Lake temple. Ten months later my family joined the church. Eight years after that, I was a bride posing on the temple steps.
My husband can’t remember the first time he visited Temple Square, but his first memorable visit came when he was ten years old, attending Spencer W. Kimball’s funeral in the tabernacle. The next day he returned to school, where several of his classmates told him that they’d seen him on television. His fifteen minutes of fame came early in life.
Today I took my kids to Temple Square for their first visit. As we walked past places from my memory: the corner where we stood the one time we waited in the freezing cold for the Christmas lights to turn on, the spot in the balcony where I watched the BYU Men’s chorus sing, the statues near the Joseph Smith Memorial Building and the conversation I had with a friend about their abnormally low BMIs, I kept wondering what kinds of memories my kids were making of their first Temple Square experience. Would they remember their mom swearing as she tried to find a parking space (and then parallel parking)? Running with their cousins from diorama to diorama? Throwing pennies in all of the fountains? Trying to make the loudest echoes in the dome surrounding the Christus? Undoubtedly, my four-year-old will remember that we all left the Visitor’s Centere without him and were halfway down the street before we realized he wasn’t with us (in our defense, when you’re traveling with eight kids, it’s not as noticeable when one goes missing).
Whatever memories my kids take away from today, I’m confident that they’ll be just the beginning of many memories of Temple Square. What are your fondest, favorite and funniest Temple Square memories?
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