The Spirit Is In The Details: from the Nova Scotia Temple

Halifax, Nova Scotia Temple

Halifax, Nova Scotia Temple

“A mechanical problem with the plane to be used by President Gordon B. Hinckley to travel to the Halifax Nova Scotia Temple dedication resulted in a historic first: the dedication of two temples on the same day. The Regina Saskatchewan Temple, scheduled to be dedicated by President Hinckley the next day, was instead dedicated by Elder Boyd K. Packer, acting president of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, while President Hinckley presided over the postponed dedicatory sessions for the Halifax temple. Richard Moses, second counselor in the Dartmouth Nova Scotia Stake presidency and chairman of the local temple committee, noted, “When the dedication was postponed, members showed no irritation, but inquired what they could do, like opening their homes to help offset the expense of those who would need to stay an extra night to attend the dedication.” He added, “It is impossible – there are not words – to adequately express our gratitude for this temple. No longer do we just look at a picture of a temple. Now, when my daughters look out their bedroom window, they see the softly lighted figure of the Angel Moroni standing as a beacon over the area.”

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To attend the dedication, members in the Bay Roberts, Grand Falls and Corner Brook branches drove six to eight hours to a sea port where they ferried to Nova Scotia during the night, then drove four more hours to the temple. Members from Maine drove eight hours to attend. Members in New Brunswick and on Prince Edward Island also drove many hours. “These are faithful people who don’t consider attending the temple to be a sacrifice,” President Moses said.

The influence of the temple reached deep into the hearts of many non-members, continued Pres. Moses, noting the concern expressed by a reporter of the province’s largest newspaper. “After completing a tour during the open house, and obviously touched by what he was feeling, the reporter commented that there was no way he could write what he felt in the small space he would be given for the article.” On another occasion, “A man dressed in leather and sporting many tattoos came to the open house. He was quiet during the tour and sat by himself in the celestial room. Soon, tears were flowing.” A member brought his non-member mother to the open house. Sitting in the celestial room she said, “I’ve never felt closer to God.”

During construction, “we found the counsel of Elder Jay E. Jensen of the Seventy to be true: the Spirit is in the details,” said President Moses, noting how the members found joy in making the temple as perfect as possible. When several flecks of grouting were found on the bottom of the baptismal font after last-minute tile work done the day before the dedication, members were willing to drain, then re-fill the font.”

President Moses recounted an experience one evening in Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island, that demonstrates the love of the members for the temple. “We were taking a tour through the temple district to give a report on the progress of the temple and show them a sample of the granite stone. At one point, I asked for volunteers to crochet altar cloths. A blind sister sitting on the front row quickly volunteered. ‘I’d like to do this,’ she said, and rather forthrightly, requested a pattern. A hush fell over the others as they considered the sacrifice she was making. Then they quickly volunteered.” (Church News, 20 November 1999).

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Gold Gleams in the Ashes

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As I was working on my altar lace last night, I remembered this poem.  It’s such beautiful imagery.  I’ve been thinking about the examples we have been given by those who came before us and left us this legacy of faith.

Sister Vilate C. Raile penned these words regarding the pioneers:

They cut desire into short lengths
And fed it to the hungry fires of tribulation.
Long after when the fires had died,
Molten gold gleamed in the ashes.
They gathered it in bruised palms
And handed it to their children
And their children’s children forever.

On my bathroom wall, I have quotes of all kinds taped.  This is one of my favorites:

“May we do as much with the blessings we have been given as [our ancestors] did out of the deprivations so many of them faced. In such abundance may we never “forget the Lord.”” –Jeffrey R. Holland

Yesterday I watched Only a Stonecutter with my children.  I love John Rowe Moyle for his work on the Salt Lake Temple.  Lace, gold, stone– somehow, it’s all applicable.

Jordan Anderson’s Daisy Lace for the Payson Utah Temple

Daisy Altar Lace

Sister Jordan Anderson, a new lacemaker from Payson, Utah,  just completed an altar lace for the Payson Temple to be dedicated soon.  She told me of her experience with her first altar lace:

“Just over a year and a half ago my Relief Society president announced the call for altar cloths for the new Payson Temple, which is just on the other side of our ward boundaries. I have a strong pioneer heritage on both sides of my family and many of them contributed to the work of building temples, so I jumped at the chance to make my own offering for the house of the Lord. Little did I know what a huge and wonderful undertaking it would be.

Before starting this altar cloth I had limited experience with crochet. I’d made a few hats and scarves, but that was it. The Relief Society President gave me a packet of seven approved patterns and I chose the one I thought was best suited to my abilities, the Daisy Lunch Cloth. Because I was so new at this endeavor it was essential that I follow the pattern exactly. There were times I thought I knew better than the pattern…but I didn’t. It wasn’t until I humbled myself enough to really study the instructions that I gained an understanding of how to be successful with each motif. I had a moment of inspiration and felt the Spirit reminding me that the scriptures and the words of the prophets are the pattern for our lives. Disregarding the pattern only brings frustration, especially as one who is learning and growing. Even more touching to me than that lesson was the renewed testimony of the Atonement. I made many, many mistakes in the process of completing the altar cloth. With every mistake I ripped out the work I’d done and changed my stitches to fix the problem. Now there is no evidence that those mistakes were ever made but there is a complete and flawless whole. The Savior does the same for us when we turn our mistakes over to Him for healing and grace. I did not expect my testimony to be strengthened by crocheting an altar cloth but I am grateful for the experience.

Work on the cloth has come and gone in spurts. For the past several weeks I have felt the fire under me to complete it. I have a baby on the way and I came to the realization that if I were to wait any longer I may not have to time to finish before the temple is dedicated. This past week I have both finished the cloth and come across many stories of my pioneer ancestors. As I finished work on the border I thought about so many in my family line, from pilgrims who came on the Mayflower to pioneers who crossed the plains, who dedicated their lives to the service of God. I’ve been blessed to feel their influence on the generations of my family down to my own children. I have two ancestors in particular, one from my father’s side and one from the line into which my mother’s father was adopted, who worked on the Nauvoo temple. The first, John Carling, did carvings on the doors and woodwork throughout the temple and the other, Peter Shirts, made the keys and locks for the doors. They knew full well they would abandon their beloved temple and their work would be lost to them, but they gave the best they had to give. As a tribute to them and as a gift to the Lord I can now give something that is the best of myself. I am still learning and my work is not perfect, but it is my very best and any mistakes I made have been removed. I’m so grateful to have had the opportunity to give my offering to the Lord and to give it with the confidence that I gave my all. It is amazing to me that what I have already received from the learning process is far greater than what I gave.”  –Sister Jordan Anderson, Payson, UT

Temple History: This Is The Right Place

I came across this today as part of the celebrations going on for Pioneer Day.  Not only does it show gorgeous footage of the Salt Lake Temple interior, but also some of the heart, detail, and craftsmanship that go into these temples.  The Salt Lake Temple pictured here took 40 years to build and finish.  This temple was the third temple the saints began.  Both previous temples had been burned and destroyed by people who were set on chasing the people from their towns and faith.  I can imagine the joy those saints felt as the angel Moroni was placed, and the beautiful Salt Lake Temple was finally completed.

A note of interest, one of my husband’s grandfathers, Albert Perry Rockwood, was in the wagon with Brigham Young on July 24, 1847, the day they first made it to the Salt Lake Valley. After so much suffering, death, and brutality the saints endured searching for a place to live together in peace, it was a great moment when Brigham Young saw the valley, recognized it, and declared “This is the right place”.

Pioneer day is celebrated as an official holiday in Utah, but is also celebrated in many surrounding states in honor of pioneers of all faiths who settled the West. Today marks 167 years since our pioneer forefathers came to Salt Lake.

Pioneer History from the Mormon Newsroom:

The 19th-century Mormon migration beginning in 1846 in Illinois, then through Iowa and Nebraska and eventually to a place of refuge in the Rocky Mountains, was one of the most remarkable episodes in the history of the United States’ great western migration. Unlike the thousands of pioneers streaming west to California and Oregon looking for a better life, the Mormon pioneers migrated involuntary — the result of expulsion from Illinois and Missouri by hostile neighbors. Later, the Mormon pioneer trail would be filled with converts coming from Europe.

With the assassination of Joseph Smith in 1844 and increasing pressure on the Mormons to abandon their city of Nauvoo on the banks of the Mississippi, it soon became obvious to Church leaders that they would need to move yet again. At first they established a refuge in what was called Winter Quarters, near present-day Omaha, Nebraska. Then in 1847, under the leadership of Brigham Young, the first wagon train headed west for the Rocky Mountains, its precise destination unknown.

As the first group of Mormon pioneers reached the Salt Lake Valley in the summer of 1847, Brigham Young looked out over what was then a barren, dry desert and declared, “This is the right place.”

In 1849, President Young established the Perpetual Emigration Fund to assist poor Latter-day Saint immigrants. The fund helped some 30,000 immigrants from the British Isles, Scandinavia, Switzerland, Germany and the Netherlands reach America — more than one-third of the total Latter-day Saint immigrants from Europe during that period.

To cut down on expensive wagons and oxen, some 3,000 of the pioneers subsequently used low-cost wooden handcarts that were light enough to be pulled across the Great Plains. One family or five individuals were assigned to a handcart, with 18 to 20 people sharing a tent. A cart hauled no more than 200 pounds — about 17 pounds of baggage per person.  Each highly organized company was led by an experienced guide and was accompanied by at least four oxen-drawn supply wagons.

The first party of handcarts set out from Iowa City, Iowa, on 9 June 1856 with a company of 266 people from England, followed two days later by a second company of just over 200.  These early handcart brigades successfully arrived in the Salt Lake Valley, but the trips were not easy. Pioneer journals recorded harsh weather, the threat of hostile Indians, the death of fellow travelers and the ongoing hardships of hunger and fatigue.

Tragedy struck in the fall of 1856 after the Willie and Martin handcart companies left late in the season with 1,000 people between them. Both companies were plagued by a lack of supplies and hardships, including an early snowstorm that turned into one of the worst storms of the century. The exhausted companies set up camp in deep snow on the Wyoming plains, where more than 200 people died from starvation and cold. A massive rescue effort was launched immediately when word of their plight reached Salt Lake City.

In all, whether they came by wagon or handcart, thousands of Mormon pioneers died on the trail. Loved ones including children were often buried in shallow graves that would never be visited again.

Under Brigham Young’s direction, an estimated 70,000 Latter-day Saints made the difficult journey to Utah from 1847 until the transcontinental railroad was completed in 1869. The collective experience of the pioneers has cut deep into Mormon self-identity. Pioneer ancestors who made the trek are honored and often spoken of not only in family gatherings of descendants but also in meetings of Church members, who see the pioneers’ example of courage and sacrifice as inspirational.

The full video that these clips were taken from is called “The Mountain of the Lord” and tells the full story of the building and sacrifice of the Salt Lake Temple:

In Progress: “Deseret Rose” Altar Lace by Marla

Rose Cloth

This gorgeous lace is from Marla, a tatting and crochet lacemaker in Boise, Idaho, who contacted me recently about patterns.  She found a picture online of what she liked, and recreated it without a pattern.  Saving an older pattern from extinction is a great idea!  She’s calling it “Deseret Rose”, because it reminds her of rosettes.

With older lace patterns, you sometimes can’t find the original.  Often lace patterns in the old days were passed from sister to sister with samples rather than written words.  I have a sample binder in my lace collection that has notes and bits from my previous projects.  It’s a great way to remember what you did before in case you want to do it again.  Writing patterns out can be difficult.  I always save a sample of my laces, that way if the pattern is lost, you still have it.

This pattern is a good one for altar lace because it is light and airy without being fragile.  It has a lot of connections, not a lot of large holes, and it’s beautiful.  It also has a nice gentle scalloped edge which I personally like quite a bit.

Marla’s Deseret Rose Lace is made in size 3o, white thread.  This is her updated photo, now at 71 motifs:

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This is an unfinished lace, when it is washed and blocked, it will be stunning.  It’s already gorgeous.  Beautiful!

Chicago Temple: Story of Dedication and Sacrifice

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Altar Lace: A gift to the Lord

I came across this story in my search for historical accounts of other LDS lace makers. The story of this 78 year old sister was just beautiful:

“The dedication was a day of fulfillment for many of the temple district’s 160,000 members in Illinois, Missouri, Wisconsin, Michigan, Indiana, Ohio, Minnesota, Kansas, Nebraska, and Iowa. In addition to contributing toward building of the temple, many had labored to help furnish it or make it ready for the dedication.

A couple from the Wilmette Illinois Stake, for example, helped unload and place furniture in the temple, then clean it prior to the open house, which began July 15. “It was such a privilege to be asked to help,” the wife recalled. “We wept as we vacuumed and dusted.”

Women from throughout the temple district who are skilled in crocheting and tatting made altar cloths for the ordinance and sealing rooms. One 78-year-old sister from Indiana wrote that though the infirmities of age might make it difficult for her to go to the temple, she was thrilled to be able to participate in this way. An 82-year-old sister from the Dayton Ohio East Stake sent with her finished altar cloth a note offering to make a second one if it were needed; she wept when she received a telephone call accepting her offer.

A group of girls in the St. Paul Third Ward, St. Paul Minnesota Stake, made a dozen dolls for the nursery in the temple, each named for the girl who made it, with the names embroidered on the back. The dolls were presented as the girls toured the temple during the open house. Afterward, their leaders wrote to temple matron Betty Cahoon: “It was an exceptionally good experience for the girls to do something that would be meaningful for the young people. It will be a wonderful memory for them.”

The temple not only touched Latter-day Saints, but also many non-LDS visitors. Some 100,065 visited the temple before the open house ended August 3. They expressed sentiments such as “an obvious place of devotion,” “I felt the hand of God,” “everyone should feel closer to God in this special place.”

Read the entire article in the October 1985 Ensign.

64 Crochet Lace Altar Cloths

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Gift of Faith: Hand crocheted altar lace for the Lord

I came across this story from LDS.org.  I love the faith!

“I visited the temple in Buenos Aires. Feelings of gratitude welled up within me to know that within the four dedicated temples of South America the fulness of the gospel is blessing the members of the Church.

An example of the marvelous commitment of the Saints of South America was demonstrated by the dear sisters hand crocheting sixty-four altar cloths for the Buenos Aires Temple when only seven were requested.

–Elder M. Russell Ballard, Ensign May 1986, “The Kingdom Rolls Forth in South America”