1982
Seminar for Temple Presidents Gives Instruction, Inspiration
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“Seminar for Temple Presidents Gives Instruction, Inspiration,” Ensign, Nov. 1982, 109–10

Seminar for Temple Presidents Gives Instruction, Inspiration

A spirited rendition of “High on the Mountain Top” provided a fitting opening for the first seminar to be held for Latter-day Saint temple presidents and matrons. The seminar, attended by all twenty-seven temple presidents and their wives, was conducted September 28–30 under the direction of the First Presidency. Sessions were held at Church headquarters and at the Jordan River Temple.

“In the past,” said Elder W. Grant Bangerter, Executive Director of the Temple Department, “we’ve generally oriented and trained new temple presidents on an individual basis. But with the addition of so many new temples recently, the First Presidency has felt it advisable to conduct a seminar for all temple presidents.” There are forty-one temples either operating, under construction, or in various stages of planning.

At the seminar’s opening session were Presidents N. Eldon Tanner and Gordon B. Hinckley of the First Presidency, all members of the Quorum of the Twelve except Elder LeGrand Richards (who was ill), and members of the First Quorum of the Seventy and the Presiding Bishopric.

President Hinckley complimented participants on their willingness to serve. “I recognize in you,” he said, “men and women who are working with an eye single to the glory of God.” He counseled presidents and matrons to have order in their work, to encourage harmony among temple personnel, and to carefully maintain their own physical health. He also expressed his hope that temple work will increase “now that our greater number of temples can bring the ordinances to the people.”

Elder Howard W. Hunter reminded the presidents and matrons that temples are sacred structures, built for holy purposes. They are necessary, he said, “for the Lord to reveal to his children the ordinances of his house, the glories of the kingdom, and the principles of eternal life and salvation.”

It is the calling of temple presidents and matrons, said Elder Marvin J. Ashton of the Quorum of the Twelve, to make of the temple a house of blessing to the Saints. The temple, he counseled, should be a house of courtesy (“Your welcome and personality sets the tone”); a house of reverence (“more than silence—it must be a blending of respect and adoration for the Lord and for his holy place”); a house of comfort (“Those who come often seek comfort and security as they bear life’s crosses”); a house of contemplation (“to gain a better understanding of our relationships to God, family, and eternity”); and a house of joy (“Where else is greater joy witnessed than in the temple with family and friends?”).

Elder L. Tom Perry of the Quorum of the Twelve spoke of the efficient operation of temples through effective cooperation between the Temple Department and priesthood councils. “We want to maximize our efforts for both the living and the dead,” he reflected, “and the solution is government through councils under the operation of the Spirit.”

Specific functions of a temple presidency were outlined by Elder Bangerter, who cited such responsibilities as administering ordinances for the living and the dead. (“They are not just names; we should feel that the dead are present to receive their ordinances”); properly recording the ordinances; supervising temple workers; and preparing and administering the temple budget. “An attitude sometimes arises,” he added, “that temple activity is optional. But temple activity and genealogy are of vital importance in the perfection of the Saints and the salvation of the dead. They are hand-in-hand activities in our preaching of the gospel.”

President Ezra Taft Benson of the Quorum of the Twelve concluded the session by reminding presidents that “the Lord has favored you with a calling of great trust and responsibility. My heart is full and my feelings tender as I contemplate the magnitude and importance of this sacred work.” He counseled presidents and their wives to have complete love and unity at all times, nurturing a spirit of peace and a love of the Savior in their homes. “Temple patrons will feel of that spirit, and your example will greatly influence others.” It is in the temple, he said, that the Saints “obtain God’s greatest blessings pertaining to eternal life. Temples are really the gateways to heaven. In the peace of these lovely temples, sometimes the serious problems of life find their solutions. Under the influence of the Spirit, sometimes pure knowledge flows to us there. Visitors seen and unseen from the world beyond are often close to us. I know this to be true. There is no veil to the Lord.”

Other sessions during the three-day seminar featured instructions pertaining to the organization and management of temples; personnel; budget; temple maintenance; historical reports; translation of ceremonies; the missionary program; temple audiovisual systems; and an introduction to the temple computer recording system. A highlight of the seminar was the gathering of temple presidents and matrons with members of the First Presidency, members of the Quorum of the Twelve, and other General Authorities for a special testimony meeting held in the chapel of the Jordan River Temple.

Status of Temples as of November 1982

Temple Location

Status

President

1. St. George, Utah

Operating

John M. Russon

2. Logan, Utah

Operating

Reed Bullen

3. Manti, Utah

Closed for renovation

Wilbur W. Cox

4. Salt Lake City, Utah

Closed for renovation

Elder Marion D. Hanks

5. Laie, Oahu, Hawaii

Operating

Robert D. Finlayson

6. Cardston, Alberta, Canada

Operating

Harold E. Bennett

7. Mesa, Arizona

Operating

L. Harold Wright

8. Idaho Falls, Idaho

Operating

Devere Harris

9. Los Angeles, California

Operating

Allen C. Rozsa

10. Zollikofen, Switzerland

Operating

Stanley D. Rees

11. Hamilton, New Zealand

Operating

Hugh A. Daysh

12. London, England

Operating

Joseph Hamstead, Jr.

13. Oakland, California

Operating

R. Don Smith

14. Ogden, Utah

Operating

Keith W. Wilcox

15. Provo, Utah

Operating

Leland F. Priday

16. Washington, D.C.

Operating

Wendell G. Eames

17. Sao Paulo, Brazil

Operating

José B. Puerta

18. Tokyo, Japan

Operating

Elder Adney Y. Komatsu

19. Seattle, Washington

Operating

F. Arthur Kay

20. South Jordan, Utah

Operating

Donovan H. Van Dam

21. Mexico City, Mexico

Under construction

Harold Brown

22. Apia, Western Samoa

Under construction

Charles I. Sampson

23. Atlanta, Georgia

Under construction

Robert M. Winston

24. Buenos Aires, Argentina

In design

Elder Angel Abrea

25. Chicago, Illinois

In design

*

26. Dallas, Texas

In design

*

27. Frankfurt, Germany

In design

*

28. Guatemala City, Guatemala

Ground has been broken

*

29. Johannesburg, South Africa

Groundbreaking scheduled

*

30. Lima, Peru

Ground has been broken

*

31. Manila, Philippines

Ground has been broken

*

32. Nuku‘alofa, Tonga

Under construction

Tonga Toutai Paletu‘a

33. Papeete, Tahiti

Under construction

Joseph E. Childers

34. Santiago, Chile

Under construction

Eugene Olsen

35. Seoul, Korea

In design

*

36. Stockholm, Sweden

In design

*

37. Sydney, Australia

Ground has been broken

*

38. Boise, Idaho

In design

*

39. Denver, Colorado

In design

*

40. Guayaquil, Ecuador

In design

*

41. Taipei, Taiwan

Ground has been broken

*

42. Freiberg, German Democratic Republic

In design

*

* Presidents have not yet been called for temples scheduled for completion after 1983.