The Nauvoo Temple: One Stitch at a Time


Late in April 2005, I received a phone call from a friend at Church headquarters, asking if I would like to do a big project: design and sew a 25-by-40-foot fabric representation of the front of the original Nauvoo Temple. It would be used in a new Nauvoo pageant. It was an exciting challenge for which I would use an architectural drawing of the temple as my guide. The deadline to finish the project was in six weeks.

Using the blessing of e-mail, I gathered help from women in my family, lifelong friends, and various stake and ward members. They included local Chinese, Laotian, and Thai sisters. My family garage served as our workshop.

Eighty women helped sew, embroider, crochet, and cross-stitch the panels over 30 days and nights. Ten women sewed the temple tower over the next 10 days and nights. Many supportive family members also helped at home.

Sometimes sisters would clutch their sewing bags and say, “I just don’t want to go. Can I come back tomorrow?” The sisters felt an urgency to complete the sewing so our temple would be built by the deadline. We had one goal in mind—completing the temple in time.

We felt a connection with the building of the original Nauvoo Temple and the early sisters in Nauvoo. As we sewed, we reflected on their tremendous sacrifices. We sensed that we understood in some small way the feelings of those pioneer sisters as they labored hard to assist in completing their temple. We pushed harder.

We felt creative blessings multiply as the project progressed. I was blessed with good health and amazing strength, despite getting very limited sleep during those six weeks. Countless sweet and powerful prayers were offered. We met our goals with grateful hearts. I believe all of us who participated understand more now about consecrating time and talents to the building of the kingdom here on earth, and so much more of the magnitude of the Prophet Joseph Smith’s vision.

[photos] Photography courtesy of Karol Jean Kasteler Miller, except as noted

[photo] Photograph by Joy Gough

[photos] Eighty women helped sew, embroider, crochet, and cross-stitch the panels over 30 days and nights. Ten women sewed the temple tower over the next 10 days and nights. The author is below.

[photo] Background photograph by Welden C. Andersen

Karol Jean Kasteler Miller is a member of the Stratford East Ward, Salt Lake Highland Stake.