I arrived home from a trip to Florida on Saturday, September 30 and the following Friday I got a call from one of my daughters who wanted me to travel to California with her. The catch was, we would leave by train that night. I quickly made arrangements and completed a couple of obligations and joined her at her home that evening. The train was delayed but we reached California the next day. In Florida I had stayed in St. Augustine and Orlando, the former including several trips that took me to the shores of the Atlantic. In California I stayed in Santa Cruz, and lovely little resort and college community at the north end of Monterey Bay. We visited the rugged shoreline and on Tuesday we spent most of the day at the Monterey Bay Aquarium. I have traveled from coast to coast s number of times, specifically when we lived in Oxnard and Port Hueneme California and were moving to and from the Washington D.C. area, but as far as I recall, I never traveled from one coast to the other so quickly.
I have six lovely daughters and I am fortunate that three of them live close enough for me to visit with a simple car ride. Three of my daughters live on either coast. I have visited with all of them in the past three weeks.
Last Saturday, October 1, the Prophet announced that the burnt out shell of the Provo Tabernacle would be converted into a temple. This is a wonderful idea. Although the tabernacle had served the community as a center for many various meetings ranging from musical performances to a Catholic Christmas Mass, but particularly for Stake Conferences for local stakes, the current Provo Temple is under pressure, particularly the baptismal font. The tabernacle building is larger than that of the Nauvoo Temple and it originally had a baptismal font in the basement, as did the Salt Lake Tabernacle.
When President Hinckley was interviewed after the renovation of the Vernal Tabernacle into a temple he said the Church would never undertake such a project again. Yet several subsequent temples have been built in previously existing buildings. The Provo Tabernacle provides a special case. Although gutted by the fire, the brick walls and most of the four stairwell towers seem to have remained intact. Some of the original stained glass windows survived the fire. The situation provides for the construction of an entire structure inside the walls which could not only provide for significant changes in the interior space from what was originally in place, but also allow for upgrades to the structural stability of the structure in case of earthquake.
The entire quarter block north of the temple was preserved as a park, which could easily be restored after adding space similar to what was added to the Salt Lake Temple as an arrangement of recommend area, waiting rooms, dressing rooms, administrative spaces, etc. It was the addition of these areas under a park like area that restored the Salt Lake Temple to its status as the largest LDS temple in the world. The Church has acquired most of the block to the south of the tabernacle. This could be used to build an underground parking garage. Although the transit situation is favorable, with several bus lines running past the property, there is a dearth of convenient parking space. I doubt that there will be a cafeteria area in the temple since there are many good restaurants and cafes in the neighborhood. The architectural sketch of the proposed temple shows a restoration of the central tower. This hints at a central placement of the celestial room. The building is long, promoting the idea that it would be arranged with four ordinance rooms, two at either end of the temple. In any case it will be interesting to see what the architects do with the space. In any event, the addition of an additional baptismal font in the Provo area is greatly to be desired.