My family recently had the privilege of attending the ground breaking and dedication of land for the Pocatello, Idaho temple. This event was by invitation only, knowing it would not be possible to accommodate all who would want to physically be there. We only received an invitation because our Bishop was unable to attend with his family. We were ecstatic to be able to be there in person. The event was also broadcasted from LDS.org to area meetinghouses and homes so that all who wanted to be a part of this momentous occasion could take part.
Let me reverse a bit. I grew up in south-east Idaho and returned here after college to raise a family. It has been a heartfelt desire of mine to have a temple here. I remember as a youth leader many years ago waiting outside the baptistry in the Idaho Falls temple when I found a book detailing the history of the Idaho Falls temple. In it was included a revelation that temples would dot these valleys. I knew then that it wasn’t a matter of if but when we would have a temple in Pocatello. And when the announcement was made? I’m sure you can imagine the rejoicing!
We have had a lot of snow this past winter and so there was concern over whether the ground could handle the event given the abundance of moisture. We were asked to pray that the weather would cooperate. And as you can see, it was a beautiful day. However, we were blessed with the assistance of a local business that provided hay tarps as ground cover given the soil was still very muddy. The cool thing about this? You will have to read the article here. Even though we got there early we had to sit on the ground (hay tarps) and while this may not have been the most comfortable, I think it was actually better for my kids. They cuddled around me and gave me sweet hugs as we listened.
As expected, the event went smoothly, and a beautiful spirit prevailed. You can read more details about the ground breaking here. I loved that for the first time, leaders from other local churches were invited to attend and participate in the event. These leaders of local faiths were the first to turn the soil with Elder Wilford Anderson. That was a beautiful thing. Elder Anderson offered remarks before the dedicatory prayer in which he reminded us that the things we have in common are more important than the things we don’t have in common. There were other significant “firsts” that this groundbreaking included which you can read here. You can watch a video summary of the event here.
The most memorable part for me will be the divine, heavenly feeling I felt shining down on us. It reminded me of that feeling of heaven that enters a space when a baby is born. It is difficult to put into words, but it is as if there is a connection between earth and heaven and times seems to stop. I have blogged about the symbolism of temples and birth in the past. You can read more about that here and here. Temples and birth are also touched on by the essays “The Two Veils” and “Birth in Remembrance of Him” in our book.