Right now there are 140 LDS temples throughout the world that are operating, 14 under construction, and 14 others have been announced to be built. I think that is amazing. Many, many more need to be built to accommodate all the members, though. Some Latter-day Saints have to save for years and travel to other countries to be able to reach a temple. On the other hand, there are 16 temples just here in Utah. It takes me 5 minutes to drive to the nearest one.
I feel lucky, but I haven't always taken advantage of having so many temples so close. I want to do better.
There are many reasons to attend the temple, but for me the biggest blessing is the peace I feel when I'm there. I feel closest to God there. I hear answers to prayers more clearly. The outside world is left at the door and I get an eternal perspective inside the temple that is hard to see sometimes in my daily life. The temple is quiet and safe and the world is drowned out for an hour or two. That is SO NEEDED sometimes. But I forget and I stop going regularly. Then my life gets chaotic and something reminds me to just go.
At the temple I pray, worship, study, and serve. Temple attendance always puts my life back on the right track with the right focus. It is such a blessing in my life. So uplifting.
My best friend and I have been going every week for almost 4 months now. Having a temple-going buddy makes it easier to go regularly. It has made SO much difference in my life... I don't know how I've made it this far in life without it. She encouraged me and I love her for it. :)
The temple we attend the most is the Provo Utah Temple. I took this picture near Christmas when they had a Nativity Scene set up out front:
|Nativity at Provo Utah Temple 2012|
People like to call the Provo Temple the "birthday cake temple," because of its shape. Here's a better picture (when it's not so gloomy outside):
|Provo Utah Temple|
They're actually building a second Provo temple. This is the first I've heard about one city having more than one temple. They're normally more spread out than that, but there is such a high concentration of Latter-day Saints in Provo (including many BYU students) that it is needed to accommodate everyone. [Edit: There are also two temples in South Jordan, Utah!]
I love that we're a temple-going people. I love how religious BYU is. I love that lots of dating couples at BYU go on "dates" to the temple sometimes. Makes my heart happy. :) What better way to get to know someone than to see their spiritual side on a date??
The second Provo Temple is being built at the city's center where the old Provo Tabernacle burned down not too long ago. It was a church building that was used for pretty much everything, very multi-purpose. (A side note: my friend was actually there the night it burned! she remembered smelling smoke and mentioning it to someone before she left - crazy, huh?). It will look something like this when it's done:
|Provo City Center Temple|
There is lots and lots of construction around this area. There has been so much construction in general in Utah that I've just gotten used to it. They even made commercials to announce when the Interstate was done being worked on. We were at a movie once and they played the commercial and it said, "All lanes are now open," and everyone in the theater cheered like crazy! Ha ha. Anyways, it'll be exciting to have a temple even closer to where I live.
One of the most recent temples to be built is in Honduras:
|Tegucigalpa Honduras Temple|
How gorgeous is that?
I've only actually been inside 4 temples. Only 4! I think I need to do a little temple-hopping. I've been to the Atlanta Georgia, Provo Utah, Mount Timpanogas Utah, and Salt Lake Utah temples.
Zay and I got married in the Atlanta Georgia Temple in 2004:
|Atlanta Georgia Temple|
The other temple that my friend and I frequent is the Mount Timpanogas Utah Temple. This is also the temple where Zay and I had a "sealing" ceremony after we finalized Kal's adoption. I think each time we adopt we'll get sealed at a different temple so that each of our kids can have their "own" temple in a way that's special to them. This is Kal's temple!
|Mount Timpanogas Utah Temple|
And I've been to the Salt Lake City Temple a couple times. This temple is the most famous one and lots of people recognize it even if they aren't LDS. Lots of little girls dream about being married in this temple one day. Seriously, it's like a castle. So beautiful! Salt Lake City is built around this temple at its center.
|Salt Lake City Temple|
The only other temple that I've seen (but didn't go inside) was the Las Vegas Nevada Temple. I went to Vegas for my 24th birthday to see Criss Angel's show. It was a crazy weekend, lots of over-stimulation with the lights and the people and how wild and loud everyone is on the Strip. Since it was my birthday and I could do whatever I wanted, I went to the Las Vegas Temple one night and laid down on a bench and just let the peace of the temple grounds soak in and remind me that the whole world isn't like the Vegas Strip, lol. It was very needed. One day I'll go back and actually go inside. I love how the temples look when they're lit up at night:
|Las Vegas Nevada Temple|
So, what's your favorite LDS temple?