Saying goodbye to the Philadelphia temple was hard, because we won't be there anymore to see so much of the construction we supported with our faith. As the delays continued and the complications set back progress again and again, many of our prayers were directed to the temple's success. Moving away felt like leaving a great work unfinished.
|The Meridian Temple was announced in the April 2011 General Conference|
Image courtesy of mormonnewsroom.org
It wasn't until after we moved to Boise and my husband began his new job that I discovered that Meridian also had a temple announced. And because of the nature of my husband's work, I've become privy to several details about the project reinforcing that our work hasn't ended. We are simply focusing our faith and devotion to a different temple now.
The Opposition has Already BegunThe Meridian Temple is experiencing similar opposition to its construction by local residents as the Phoenix Arizona Temple did in its planning phases. Not everyone who lives in Idaho is LDS, and the rural part of Meridian where the temple is to be constructed is no exception.
While the majority of the residents in the area either support or are neutral to the temple's construction, those who want to keep the area rural are the most adamant critics. They already view the housing developments along Linder Road as an intrusion, and the temple has become a part of this bitter conflict. And even though the Church will do everything in its power to alleviate concerns that create these feelings of animosity and intrusion, it's easy to understand why this may not be possible.
The concern vocalized most often is a one of traffic. The two lane road cannot handle the increase in traffic the temple will allegedly create. In good faith, the Church is paying to widen the road significantly as part of the project. It will become a five lane road--two lanes in each direction, with a center turn lane. For the Church to pay for this is not required by law. They are doing it to assist with the urban planning of the area as it continues to grow.
However, Ada County will require landowners to give up the portions of their property necessary to build the roadway. If the property is not given willingly, the county will use eminent domain and take it by force. This is standard practice and not unique to this situation, but will only increase the bad feelings of those who are most adamantly against the temple.
Even when the Church tries to be amenable to these vocal citizens, it isn't possible to resolve all of their concerns. Sometimes meeting their existing concerns will only create new concerns as time goes on. And when that happens, history has shown us that their opposition will likely manifest itself again and again, in whatever way is possible as the construction continues.
While the Ada County Commissioners have already approved the project, we should never assume that this means there will be no more roadblocks to the Meridian temple's construction. The Philadelphia Temple is a sterling example of what opposition can do to slow down, and even halt the temple's progression.
We are All Temple Builders
In the Church's history not so long ago, it was the responsibility of members--not professional contractors--to build our temples. Latter-days Saints would make significant sacrifices of money, possessions, labor and expertise, and time to create the beautiful structures central to our worship. Because this is no longer the case, it is easy to feel like we no longer have a part to play in the temple's construction. But nothing could be further from the truth.
Each of us living in this area has a responsibility to build the Meridian Temple. We may not do it with mortar and stone, but we will do it with our devotion. In every way that we live our faith and remain true to our temple covenants, we show the Lord that we want this temple in our community. As I've pondered what it means for us to build temples in our day, these were the thoughts that came to my mind:
- Pay our tithes and offerings
- Serve in our callings, especially as home and visiting teachers
- Be an example of the believers in our communities at all times
- Support recent converts and returning members in their goals to enter the temple
- Work together with full-time missionaries to find families who would be blessed by entering the temple
- Attend our existing temple in Boise as faithfully and as often as possible
- Share our testimonies of the Church and the temple with our friends and neighbors
- Help our children commit to always be worthy of a temple recommend
- Build up our homes as holy places that lead us to the temple
- Participate in meetings and councils where issues regarding the temple are discussed
- Show Christ-like patience, respect, and love towards those who may oppose the temple. If there is criticism to the work of God, let us win others over "by persuasion, by long-suffering, by gentleness and meekness, and by love unfeigned." (D&C 121: 41)
- Record our thoughts and experiences preparing for the temple in our journals for posterity
- Seek out the names of our family members and prepare them to receive temple ordinances
- Sustain our stake/ward priesthood and auxiliary leaders as they provide us with guidance and instructions on how to prepare ourselves for the temple
- Keep the commandments, and where necessary, repent
- Develop consistent habits of scripture study and personal prayer.
- Pray continually that obstacles to the temple's completion will be removed. Pray for the health, strength, and safety of the construction crews and their families.
- Study the teachings about the temple in the scriptures.
I know that as I do my part to build the Meridian Temple, the spirit of the temple will enter into my life. It will make me a better disciple of Jesus Christ. I will be ready to meet him when he returns again to the earth at his coming. I will increase in my love for all of God's children. I will have greater peace in my marriage and my home. The problems and anxieties of life may not fade away, but my capacity to confront them with wisdom and faith will increase.
I leave my testimony with you that God our Father lives, that Jesus Christ has saved the world from death and sin. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is the true church of Jesus Christ on the earth today. Temples provide us with the opportunity to be with our families forever. There is no greater blessing on earth or in heaven than living with God and our families for all eternity. In the name of Jesus Christ, amen.