Temple Moment: 1,900 Miles to the Temple

Contributed By Renee Carr, Church News contributor

  • 16 May 2016

The Carr family traveled 1,900 miles to be sealed in the Mesa Arizona Temple.

Article Highlights

  • What sacrifices have you or your ancestors made to attend the temple?
  • How have you seen the blessings of the temple in your life?

“Today the bright Volkswagen bus is a visual reminder to the family of the importance of going to the temple, no matter how far or how uncomfortable the trip.” —Renee Carr, Mountain View, Arkansas

Most 55-year-olds would not remember details of their first trip to the temple at age 5. However, Philip Carr of Mountain View, Arkansas, vividly remembers “the trip” made in the family’s new Volkswagen bus.

Paul and Charlene Carr, both schoolteachers, were living in Barnesville, Georgia, in 1965 with their three children, Derek, Joan, and Philip. That summer the Carr family purchased a brand new 1966 Volkswagen bus. Paul and Charlene were recent converts and made plans to be sealed in the temple during their summer break from school. The nearest temple at the time was in Mesa, Arizona, more than 1,900 miles away.

The family headed out in the sweltering August heat in what would be the longest trip they ever made in the VW bus with no air conditioning. Long before there was an interstate, the family drove through the hot and humid southern states all the way to the sizzling desert western states over a three-day span. Then they repeated it on the three-day trip home. Philip recalls his creative mother holding a wet washcloth out the window and wiping his face and those of his siblings to cool them off.

At the Mesa Arizona Temple the family was sealed for time and eternity. The couple’s youngest child, Peter, was born a few years later. The promise of an eternal family became especially meaningful when 13 years after the family was sealed, their eldest son, Derek, was killed in a car crash after being hit by a drunk driver. The temple sealing and God’s plan for eternal families was the solace that helped the family through the very difficult time of grieving.

While reminiscing about the old bus and the temple trip, Philip decided to restore the old VW bus that had taken the family to be sealed in the temple half a century ago. The rusty old relic had sat unprotected in the woods near his parents’ home in the intervening years. In his spare time, Philip, who had tinkered with Volkswagens since his teen years, began the 12-month restoration.

Today the bright Volkswagen bus is a visual reminder to the family of the importance of going to the temple, no matter how far or how uncomfortable the trip. It is also a reminder of the eternal blessings of the temple. Philip acknowledged that there are many across the world today who sacrifice much more to go to the temple, even walking many miles. He added, “They would be happy to ride in a hot Volkswagen bus to get to the temple. It’s all about your perspective and knowing and doing what is most important.”

—Renee Carr, Mountain View, Arkansas