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Becca Moore and Emily Hafen said they made hundreds of new friends in three days at 10 LDS temples last spring. Over the trip the group collectively did 180 confirmations and 218 baptisms.
Moore and Hafen went on the trip with Moore’s mother and sister and another friend for the young women’s high school senior trip. They started counting the number of people they did ordinances for and called them friends when Moore’s mother said they made “eight new friends” after one attendance.
Trips like this are a way for both LDS youth and young adults to learn about temples and appreciate the spiritual connection that come from temple attendance.
Before each temple visit the group shared interesting stories, facts and backgrounds about each temple. “We were enriched educationally, and we got to learn history about the whole state,” said Moore, now a freshman at BYU studying graphic design. They got their facts from their own research and also from information in a “passport” for temples.
The BYU Store, Deseret Book, Seagull Book and Amazon.com sell “The Utah Temples: Passport Tour Guide,” an imitation passport book with 16 pages for each Utah temple aside from the Cedar City temple, which President Thomas S. Monson announced in an April 2013 general conference session. The stores sell the passports for $6.99.
Each page in the passport has a small picture, temple facts and a space for stamps, stickers and notes. The book also has pages of stickers for each temple, but attendees can ask temple workers at the front desks for a stamp.
Madelynn Hills, a BYU freshman and employee at the BYU Store, said people come in and buy the passports often but not consistently. “But people enjoy to go and visit the temple, so they buy it,” she said.
Hafen, a freshman at BYU, said the experience brought new meaning to the temple for her. “It made me care more — like what Becca’s mom said about making new friends — about the people I was doing the work for,” she said. Hafen said she could imagine these people embracing and thanking her in the next life for the work she and her friends did.
Utah currently has 14 operating temples, two under construction and one announced. California, with seven operating temples, is the state with the next-highest number of temples.
“One thing I thought about a lot as we were doing it was how blessed we are to live so close to so many temples,” Hafen said. “Some people in areas of the world have to travel three days to get to one temple, and here in Utah we can do 10 in three days.”
The group brought a few names of their own family members at the beginning, but then they used names the temple provided.
“There was definitely a connection with the ones we brought,” Moore said. “There was a surety of the true power of the temple. You could feel the bond of the family getting stronger as you were doing those ordinances.”
Moore liked seeing the differences in each temple but realizing they were all the same in purpose. “It was an eye-opening experience,” she said. “We have no excuse not to do temple work.”