Lessons from a Temple Construction Site

By Anne Maxson

When my oldest was in preschool, we would drive by the construction site for our local temple multiple times a day. One day, there was a lot of construction going on and, with the foundation poured, you could see a bit more of the structure. As we drove past, a lane closure allowed us to stop right next to the temple site and look at all the construction equipment.

I asked my son that day how long he thought it would take to build a temple if you didn’t have a single tractor or other modern construction equipment. He said, “For – ev – er!”  (Think “The Sandlot” pronunciation.)

I always seem to have the talk “However Long and Hard the Road” by Elder Holland running in the background of my mind. In it, he talks about the many trials faced while building the Salt Lake Temple. He says, “Blood, toil, tears, sweat. The best things are always worth finishing. ‘Know ye not that ye are the temple of God?’ (1 Cor. 3:16). Most assuredly you are. As long and laborious as the effort may seem, please keep shaping and setting the stones that will make your accomplishment ‘a grand and imposing spectacle.’ Take advantage of every opportunity to learn and grow. Dream dreams and see visions. Work toward their realization. Wait patiently when you have no other choice. Lean on your sword and rest awhile, but get up and fight again…‘Know ye not that ye are the temple of God?’ I pray that you will know and that you will persevere, ‘however long and hard the road’.”

My elementary version to my son was, “It takes a lot for us to become the person Heavenly Father knows we can become but he cares so much for us to become that person that He will work as hard as He can to make sure we have the opportunity to become that person. Sometimes though, that means things are difficult and we have to work really hard to make the best of it.”

At the October 2021 General Conference, President Nelson shared a video showing some of the recent construction at the site of the Salt Lake Temple. In the video, he says, “The foundation of any building…must be strong and resilient enough to withstand earthquakes, corrosion, high winds, and the inevitable settling that affects all buildings. The complex task of strengthening now underway will reinforce this sacred temple with the foundation that can and will stand the test of time.”

A couple of years later, we were able to attend the Open House for that same temple. The Open House coincided with my son’s birthday and he was so excited to tour the temple on his birthday. Now he attends that same temple frequently. As he continues his journey into adolescence, I hope he can remember the words of Elder Holland that, in the face of struggle and hard work, give him encouragement with knowledge of his divine identity.

President Nelson also emphasized the importance of focusing our priorities on the Savior and His gospel. After showing the video at the October 2021 General Conference, he said, “The Lord has declared that despite today’s unprecedented challenges, those who build their foundations upon Jesus Christ, and have learned how to draw upon His power, need not succumb to the unique anxieties of this era.”

I invite you to revisit President Nelson’s talk and consider what lessons you can learn from a temple construction site. 

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