To try to battle the exhaustion...I picked up a book. House of Hades, to be exact. Still only half way through the book, but I'm totally addicted. Putting it down for the night, and doing this now!
For those not familiar with my faith, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, LDS or Mormons for short, a temple is a House of God. It's a place where Heaven and Earth meet, and our holiest ordinances take place there. Once active, they're closed to the public, including the majority of the church. Only worthy members with special recommends can get in, and you only get one after a long interview. And only members 12 or older can get one. The list of requirements to get one is long, but always worth it.
But never fear! Even if you're not a member, before a temple closes its doors, for about a month it's open to the public. You don't need tickets, but they do ask you to dress modestly, and preferably in Sunday Best, or business professional, and you have to booties over your shoes, and speak in hushed tones or whispers the whole time your there. You can also end up waiting for a while in line. But trust me, it's worth it.
I couldn't take any pictures while inside, and I'm so sad I couldn't, because it's the prettiest temple I've ever seen! Granted, I've only been inside 2 at this point, but I've seen lots of pictures, and they're not as pretty! Gilbert definitely takes the cake! You can find some images online. Just head to this website [http://www.ldschurchtemples.com/] and you can click on each individual temple.
When you first arrive, you enter the initial line depending on if you tickets or not. And trust me, you need tickets. With tickets you can wait 45 minutes easily, but without it could 3 and half hours!!! I was in line about 10 mins, but waited 15 or so for my dad, who had to park on the other side of the moon, it was so busy.
The building you're waiting to get into isn't the temple, not initially. First you watch a 10-15 minute video about what the temple actually is. It's a lovely video and very expressive of how important the temple is, and what it's mainly for, sealings. A sealing is when a couple is married, or a family sealed, for time and all eternity. The bonds formed are truly eternal, and last not just in this life, but longer than our planet will be in existence. Any children born into a sealing, or sealed at the same time, share this bond to their parents.
After the video, we actually waiting in the room for a bit because they were backed up, which was really nice. We could use the inside bathrooms and drink cold water while waiting in AC. And yes, it was 88 degrees out, so it was super hot! Then we went through a huge line. That's when almost all my pictures were taken. Once inside, again, I couldn't take pictures, and we could barely pause to take in the beautiful rooms. I saw rooms I've never seen before, and may not see for a long while. I saw Endowment Instruction Rooms, a Sealing Room, the Celestial Room, and offices. I also saw the Baptistery, where we do work for the dead, making sure they receive all the ordinances necessary to reach the highest circle of heaven, if they so choose. And it's BEAUTIFUL!!!! Everything was!
I gotta say, when we were entering the Celestial Room, a place modeled after the Celestial Kingdom, the highest heaven where Heavenly Father dwells, I almost cried. I really had to fight tears because the heat was melting my makeup enough already. And I didn't want tears to blur my view. I've waited my whole life to see that room. Me, Megan, and my brother, all of whom have never seen one other than in pictures, took in everything. My mouth was open the whole time, it was so beautiful. A giant chandelier, little ones (3 feet instead of 12 ft) as the wall light fixtures. Images in the carpet, mirrored beautifully on the ceiling. It was spectacular. And all the widows and doors were stained glass. Everywhere, in the carpet, ceiling, windows, doors, walls, furniture, was the image of the guava flower and plant. It was so beautiful. Truly spectacular.
Sadly, the open house ended Saturday, and it's now closed for cleaning, and then to be dedicated and closed to the public. But the church announces more temples every six months at our General Conference in the spring and fall. If there's one opening near you, you've GOT to go! If only for how beautiful the building is. It's truly breathtaking.
But I've talked enough. Time for pictures of the outside!!!
This was taken from the line, along with the majority of them. It's 3 whole stories, with one and a half under ground due to height restrictions.
Look at the windows! ALL of them are like that, even the ones inside! And most of the doors are mostly stained glass with the same designs.
All the temples have a huge fountain and tons of flowers around it. I was too tired to take more pictures like this (we walked all four or five of the levels via stairs, up and down again to the ground floor), but there were roses and even more flowers all around the parking lots.
This is the main front, with the huge fountain. Of course there were kids around, who were sticking their hands in. :)
I'd have done it, if I wasn't supposed to be a responsible adult. ;)
This was how my Valentine's Day went. I'm really sad that Ray and her husband Karl couldn't make it. Ray was sick and Karl had worked a night shift and didn't have enough sleep. Hope their feeling better!