Believe it or not, it’s been 20 years since the dedication of the Mount Timpanogos Temple

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The Mount Timpanogos Temple was dedicated on Oct. 13, 1996. (Photo by LDS Church)

The Mount Timpanogos Temple was dedicated on Oct. 13, 1996. (Photo by LDS Church)

During October general conference in 1992, President Gordon B. Hinckley, then a counselor in the First Presidency of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, announced that a new temple would be built in Utah County — but he did not disclose a specific location at that time.

Of course, many people speculated where the new temple might be constructed. Northern Utah County made sense because of the burgeoning growth here.

In 1992, I was single and a BYU student. I had the Provo Utah Temple nearby, so I didn’t think much about the new temple. The Provo temple meant a lot to me, in part, because I attended it frequently during the two months I was at the Missionary Training Center.

Still, the idea of another temple in Utah County was intriguing.

President Hinckley said that the building of Utah County’s second temple would provide another House of the Lord for members of the Church in the area to attend because the Provo temple was “operating far beyond its designed capacity.”

I could attest to the truth of that statement. I remember waiting a long, long time for endowment sessions. Some of my roommates I attended with could enter the temple clean-shaven and leave with a five o’clock shadow.

Six months later, during the April, 1993 general conference, it was announced that the new temple would be constructed on the site of a former Church welfare farm — a 16.7-acre parcel of land — in northeast American Fork.

“May its beauty never be marred by evil hands. May it stand strong against the winds and storms that will beat upon it. May it be a beacon of peace and a refuge to the troubled. May it be an holy sanctuary to those whose burdens are heavy and who seek Thy consoling comfort.” —President Gordon B. Hinckley in dedicatory prayer

At the time, I had never seen that part of Utah County nor did I know it existed.

This new temple would be called the Mount Timpanogos Utah Temple, nestled beneath its namesake and majestic backdrop, 11,750-foot Mount Timpanogos.

Groundbreaking occurred on Oct. 9, 1993 and the open house, which lasted six weeks, was held from Aug. 6 through Sept. 21, 1996. It attracted 679,217 people. On Oct. 13, 1996, the Mount Timpanogos Temple was dedicated.

Yes, believe it or not, that was 20 years ago.

By the time the temple was dedicated, I was married, we had a six-month-old son and we were living in Lindon. I remember waking up early on a Sunday morning to attend the dedicatory session. Being surrounded by other members of the Church, and hearing President Hinckley’s inspiring words, provided unforgettable memories and served as a source of strength.

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During the dedicatory prayer, President Hinckley said of the temple, “May its beauty never be marred by evil hands. May it stand strong against the winds and storms that will beat upon it. May it be a beacon of peace and a refuge to the troubled. May it be an holy sanctuary to those whose burdens are heavy and who seek Thy consoling comfort.”

Little did I know at the time, but within a few years, we would move down the street from the Mount Timpanogos Temple, to the town of Cedar Hills. When we drove here for the first time to check out new homes being built in the area, I remember driving up the top of the hill where the temple sits and feeling like this was where I, and my young family, belonged.

One of the things I loved about our new home in Cedar Hills was that we had a beautiful, unobstructed view of the Mount Timpanogos Temple from our front porch. For weeks after we moved in, I enjoyed stepping onto the porch on warm summer nights and just staring at the temple, basking in its glow.

Unfortunately, that pastime didn’t last long. By midsummer, new home construction in our neighborhood ruined our view.

I vividly remember attending the temple dedication two decades ago, and as special as that was, I never could have imagined how special that this temple would become to me.

That aside, I’ve loved having a temple so close. But I’ve learned that living near a temple can be a double-edged sword. Because it’s so close, it’s easy to attend. But because it’s so close, it’s easy not to attend. While there have been times, unfortunately, that I’ve postponed temple trips because it is so conveniently located, it’s been a big blessing to live so close to a temple. I’ve had the opportunity to pull weeds at the temple grounds and clean the inside of the temple. It’s nice, too, to be able to drive to temple on days that it is closed and walk along the peaceful grounds and soak in the Spirit that abides there. And it’s great to drive by the temple multiple times a day while commuting to work. There’s something about living close to a temple and the physical and spiritual protection it offers.

Among the highlights of ordinance work inside the temple includes taking my sons to do baptisms for the dead for the first time. And watching my two oldest sons go through the temple for the first time before their missions.

I vividly remember attending the temple dedication two decades ago, and as special as that was, I never could have imagined how special that this temple would become to me.

In a very personal sense, the Mount Timpanogos Temple indeed has been a beacon of peace and a refuge to the troubled. It’s been a holy sanctuary to those whose burdens are heavy and who seek the Lord’s consoling comfort.

Want more on the Mount Timpanogos Utah Temple? Here are 20 little-known facts about the Mount Timpanogos Utah Temple.

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Jeff Call has covered BYU sports since 1993, including the past 16 years for the Deseret News. He, his wife and six sons live in Cedar Hills.

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