Why we care about the LDS Ogden temple rededication

The Ogden LDS temple began tours on August 1. (Photo by Kate Konchar)

A picture of the newly-renovated Ogden LDS temple. The temple’s last tour will be held on Sept. 6.  (Photo by Kate Konchar)

August 1 marked the first day of Ogden’s LDS temple open house. Since then, thousands of people have flooded in from all across the country for a chance to see the inside of the building.

The temple was first dedicated in 1972 as the fifth temple  in Utah, according to the LDS church website. After almost 40 years in operation, the temple was closed for renovation in 2011. This was necessary because of parking issues and water damage.

When I moved to Utah four years ago, one of the first things I did was walk around the temple grounds. It had no significance to me, being that it was the first time I had been exposed to a temple. However, my friends wanted me to take advantage of the unique opportunity of having such a momentous structure in our hometown.

Blocked off and hidden from the public, the temple was torn down for reconstruction and downtown Ogden became a construction site for the last three years, with roads closed and upgrades to surrounding businesses.

Though I am not LDS, I was incredibly excited to see the construction end, and a beautiful building in its place. As a resident of downtown Ogden, I was most excited for the roads to open back up. But it was also cool to look out the window of my apartment and see the angel Moroni glistening in the sunlight.

Just this past week, not wanting to miss the opportunity, I took a tour of the temple grounds. I have never toured a temple before, so I did not know what to expect.

The tour started off in the visitor center with a ten-minute video of the history of temples and Ogden. Since I’m not from around here, I was delighted with the history of the city. Ogden is one city I am always interested in learning more about.

Next, the tour took us to the back entrance of the temple, where volunteers helped guests into paper booties to wear inside the temple. The tour took us into the building, guiding us through off-white hallways, the baptismal font and the bridal room.

By the time we got to one of the final rooms, the celestial room, I was amazed. With a mixture of white, off-white and gold, the room was shiny and inviting, while also emulating a feeling of peace and calmness.

The sister missionaries who played the video, before the tour began, gave us one hint: look up, because that’s where all the detail is. When entering the celestial room, that is exactly what I did. The chandeliers sparkled and the carvings in the ceiling were astonishing.

I took this tour because I wanted to experience a part of Ogden, and a part of the religion that is so prevalent to the state I live in. Others have taken the tour to feel that sense of peace and comfort in their religion. But why should the rest of Ogden care about the temple rededication?

The people that have visited Ogden in these last few weeks have visited from all across the country to see this temple. Friends from my hometown in Pennsylvania know about this monumental event because it has made national news. This temple opening is a big deal.

Whether you care about the temple opening or not, it has brought a lot of publicity to downtown Ogden.

Rachel Seitzinger, store manager of Kneaders in downtown Ogden, has seen significant increases in business since the temple opened.

“It has been fantastic for us,” Seitzinger said. “In both our day and night business.” She said the store has been much busier in the past few weeks.

Other businesses, like Farr Better and Russell Ice Cream on 21st St., anticipated the increased traffic. The owner, Mike Farr, prepared for this by setting up a covered dining area in the parking lot and brought in an express lane to the back of the store in their extra shipment area.

“Summertime has always been busy for us, but the temple has been driving people to Ogden that wouldn’t normally come here,” Farr said.

With this temple opening, it rejoins the ranks of all the other temples constructed around the world. As of today, there are 142 temples worldwide.

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