Mark and Mary Ann Visit Temple Square

by Thelma J. Harrison

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    When it was time for Father to attend October conference, Mary Ann and Mark were excited. Father had promised they could visit Temple Square with Mother while he attended a special meeting in the Assembly Hall.

    Mark and Mary Ann were surprised when Father announced, “Here we are at Temple Square.”

    “That’s sure a high wall!” exclaimed Mark.

    “Does it go all around the block?” asked Mary Ann.

    “Let’s walk around and see,” answered Mother.

    As the four of them walked, they discovered that the wall did go all around the block. In each of the four sides of the wall there were beautiful see-through iron gates.

    “Oh, Mother!” said Mary Ann. “It’s so pretty. Look at all the beautiful flowers. Flowers are even in boxes on that wall, and the trees are so tall!”

    “Look up,” Mark said excitedly. “You can see the angel Moroni on the very top of the temple.”

    “While I’m in my meeting, why don’t you three go to the Visitors Center,” Father suggested. “There’s a very special statue there that you’ll want to see.”

    Inside the Visitors Center Mother, Mark, and Mary Ann walked up a winding ramp. At the top against a dark blue background of sky and soft rose pink clouds was a beautiful statue of Christ. It was so lovely that Mark and Mary Ann had a quiet reverent feeling as they looked up at the statue and thought about Jesus.

    After looking at the beautiful murals of the life of Christ, they stopped to talk about the scene of Joseph Smith in the Sacred Grove.

    Then they walked down the spiral ramp, and in a few minutes they were outside again.

    Mother told them about a large bronze statue that was shaded by a lacy tree branch.

    “The man in the center,” she explained, “is John the Baptist. The two young men kneeling are the Prophet Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery. John the Baptist is bestowing the Aaronic Priesthood upon these two men.”

    Mother and the children walked down the path toward a large dome-shaped building. “This is the famous Tabernacle,” said Mother.

    “It looks like a great big turtle,” said Mary Ann.

    “Or half an eggshell,” said Mark.

    “Yes, it does,” Mother agreed. “There’s a story about how President Brigham Young received his idea for the shape of the Tabernacle one morning when he was having boiled eggs for breakfast.”

    Just then a guide came by with a group of people who were visiting Temple Square.

    Mother and the children decided to join the group as they went into the Tabernacle.

    The guide pointed out many interesting things about the Tabernacle. He told them that it was over a hundred years old. He showed them the famous organ that could make music soft as a tinkling wind bell or loud as the crash of booming thunder. He pointed out the balcony that formed a giant U shape as it curved around the building. Then he asked everyone to be quiet. A pin was dropped in the front of the big building and the group in the back could hear it hit the floor.

    “Now let’s walk over to the campanile,” Mother suggested.

    “What’s a campanile?” asked Mary Ann.

    “A campanile is a bell tower that is built separate from a church,” replied Mother. “The bell in this campanile is the Nauvoo bell. It was made in England, shipped across the Atlantic Ocean, and hung in the Nauvoo Temple. It was carried across the plains by oxcart. The Relief Society sisters had the campanile built to protect the bell.”

    Mother and the children walked past the Assembly Hall with its colorful stained glass windows and its many quaint spires reaching up toward the blue sky.

    They stopped to look at the beautiful Sea Gull Monument. Around the base of the monument was a pool of clear water and eight fountains that sent sparkling water spraying into the air, curving umbrella-fashion and splashing back into the pool.

    “Right over here is a statue of a handcart family,” Mother told the children as they walked away from the Seagull Monument.

    Mark said he thought the father looked strong but tired.

    “The mother looks strong too,” said Mary Ann, “but I think she looks worried. Maybe she’s afraid her children will get too tired in the hot sun.”

    “It took brave boys and girls to walk across the plains,” said Mother. “But all of the pioneers loved our Heavenly Father and His gospel, so they pushed on and on until they arrived in Salt Lake City. We should always remember our pioneers and be proud of them.”

    Past the Bureau of Information, Mark wanted to stop and look at a real pioneer cabin. He caught up with Mary Ann and Mother, who had circled back and were looking up at the beautiful white granite temple with its rounded windows and majestic spires.

    They also paused to look at the statues of the Prophet Joseph Smith and his brother, Patriarch Hyrum Smith.

    “I’m glad we could come to Temple Square,” said Mary Ann. “It’s even more beautiful than I imagined.”

    By now the sun had set and it was beginning to get dark. Although everyone was tired, they had a special quiet feeling of happiness because of the wonderful things they had seen and learned that day on Temple Square.

    Illustrated by Jerry Thompson