The walk up the black paved road to the temple in American Fork, Utah, for Elizabeth (10) and Ethan (9) Ault is much shorter than the forty-mile walk on a rocky dirt road their great-great-great-grandfather took to work on the Salt Lake Temple. The Aults live just a few blocks from the new Mount Timpanogos Utah Temple. Every morning Ethan loves to see the sun shining on the temple’s stained-glass windows on his way to school.
Elizabeth and Ethan’s great-great-great-grandfather worked as a stonecutter on the Salt Lake Temple. Following his pioneer ancestor’s example of sacrifice, Elizabeth and Ethan’s Grandfather Ault donated all the grass for the Mount Timpanogos Utah Temple grounds, and his family volunteered to lay it. Elizabeth and Ethan got to help lay the sod (grass).
There are many steps to laying sod. Elizabeth helped smooth out the dirt with a rake, and sometimes she helped lay the sod on the ground. Ethan picked up scraps and piled them on a wooden pallet. Working in the sun can get hot and tiring, but they liked to help on the temple grounds because it made them feel good. “Even cleaning up the temple grounds was a privilege because it is the Lord’s house,” their mom, Connie, said.
Elizabeth felt especially close to the temple because the ground was broken to build the temple on the same day she was baptized. “I was so happy to have the temple ‘born’ on my baptism day. The temple makes me think of Jesus Christ.”
Ethan knows that temples are important for doing ordinances for the dead, including baptisms. He and Elizabeth were eager to go to the temple dedication with their brothers and sisters and their mom and dad.
Elizabeth shares her birthday with her great-grandmother, Grandma Cunningham. She also shares her name. Elizabeth is Grandma Cunningham’s middle name, and there is a special bond between them. When Grandma Cunningham moved out of her house, she gave Elizabeth one of her scripture sets. “Grandma is special, and she’s always reading the scriptures,” Elizabeth said. She remembers her grandma’s good example when she reads the scriptures.
When Ethan bears his testimony in sacrament meeting, he says that he is thankful for the scriptures and the temple. Both Ethan and Elizabeth share their testimonies almost every fast Sunday. Mom and Dad agree, “They’re a good example for the rest of us.”
The Aults worked on the temple grounds once a week, with help from volunteers. Originally just the Ault family and their relatives were going to lay the sod. But the project was so big that different wards and friends volunteered to help.
When the two children were not working at the temple, they helped at their dad’s golf driving range. He appreciates all that they do for him. But the children don’t just work—they love to rollerblade, ride their bikes, and play with their dog, Snowball. Ethan likes to play soccer with his brothers Eric (14) and Evan (12). He also plays right field on a baseball team called the White Sox. Elizabeth often goes to cheer him on. “They are good friends, and they watch out for each other,” Mother said.
Elizabeth likes to read—her favorite place to be is in her room, reading. But her best talent is singing. She sang in a school talent show and with a choir in stake conference. Her mother can’t remember a time when Elizabeth didn’t sing. She likes to sing in harmony with her mother. “Oh, What Do You Do in the Summertime?”* is Elizabeth’s favorite song to sing in Primary.
Ethan likes to draw pictures in his Primary class. Art is also his favorite subject in school. He likes to draw space shuttles and rockets. He also creates spaceships with plastic building blocks. Working with spaceships is good practice because he wants to be an astronaut. His neighbors have a telescope that he uses to get a closer look at the stars. When he sees stars sparkling in the sky, Ethan thinks of heaven and Heavenly Father.
Perhaps his love for stars and spaceships will take him to space in the future. For now, though, he and Elizabeth are content that they got to help landscape the Mount Timpanogos Utah Temple grounds. “Their” temple also sparkles and reminds them both of heaven.