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VIDEO: Faith And Motivation; The Stories Of Utah Temples Throughout Time | Clinton Christensen & Richard Cowan


My name is Clinton Christensen and I am co author of Temples in the Tops of the Mountains, sacred houses of the Lord.

I’m Richard Cowan and had the honor of working with Clinton Christensen as a co author of Temples in the Tops of the Mountains.

I think the title is important. We talk about how Isaiah had prophesied in 800 BC about temples being the tops of the mountains and the saints gathering. And we’ve tried in this book to tell every story about each of the temples and their representation of being part of the top of the mountain, literally based on our elevation, but also symbolically as houses of the Lord.

If I were to try to summarize what we hope people will get from the book, they’ll see how Isaiah’s prophecy is being fulfilled. I know when I came to Utah to teach here at BYU, there were four temples, and now about 28 temples in Utah. And it’s just amazing. There are new temples being announced all the time. I guess I’d say purpose is to help people learn more about the temples, the stories behind them, inspirational experiences. What I would hope that people who read the book would get from it would be attachment, you might say, to the temple. So that would add to their temple worship experience.

Temple work has really expanded our understanding of the restoration of temple blessings. You get a whole history of the temples through the lens of Utah.

The book is obviously aimed at a latter day Saint audience, but we were constantly thinking as we put this together that there will be other readers who aren’t even members, but who are interested in what they call Mormon history. This is certainly such an important feature of what the Church is doing in our day that we had this broader audience in mind. But I would hope people get motivation to want to be in the temple more. The worship in the temple certainly is Christ centered. The artwork in the temple is Christ centered. As you read the story of these temples and see the inspiration that was involved in different stages of their design and construction and operations, certainly that would help people come to the Savior and feel closer to Him.

There’s a lot of details of the Lord’s hand and how a temple site was chosen or how a temple has changed over time. But the temple is the house of the Lord, and you see just His hand and the miracles that happen with how we get the land or how the temple is built and the inspiration and revelation that each prophet has received in the development of temple in.

The dedicated prayer, it said the temple is specifically given to the our heavenly father and to thy son. And so it just is a reminder that these truly are the houses of the Lord. His Spirit is there all the time. And it’s really up to us to be in tune so that we can feel that and be edified and build up.

Working for the Church History Department, I tried to find a lot of very interesting historical images. Brother Cowen’s son did diagrams showing how temple rooms were in years past.

Some photographs from my personal collection. I can remember those experiences and cherish them. And so I’m happy to share them.

There’s also some very beautiful photographs of the interior murals that are in temples. Just some wonderful artists in the church that have produced amazing photographs.

If you’re either living in or visiting Utah and attend one of the temples here, I would hope that what you have read about that temple would enhance your temple experience.

I think you would be inspired by each of the temples and the stories will give you more faith and more motivation to go to the temple. You.



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