Sunday, September 5, 2010

I Love to See the St Paul Minnesota Temple

We are going to start with a temple that has a lot of personal meaning to me.

On Wednesday, August 5, 1998, I was a brand-new missionary sitting in the living room of the mission home in Bloomington, Minnesota. My first Mission President, Kieth Martin, was telling us about himself and the mission He said that when he first got to Minnesota in 1996, one of the missionaries asked him what his goal was. He said that his goal was to progress the work in his three years so that he could see a Temple be built in Minnesota before he died.

Just 10 days later, we got a phone call from our Zone Leaders informing us that a letter was going to be read in Sacrament Meetings the next day announcing the construction of the St Paul Minnesota Temple, to be constructed next to the (then) St Paul Stake Center in Oakdale.

Groundbreaking was in September, and construction moved fast. President Martin went home in June 1999, replaced by President Gleed.

I didn't get my first glimpse of the temple until January 8, 2000, the day before the dedication. That afternoon and evening, we held the first (and only) Mission Conference the mission had ever had at the Stake Center next to the Temple. Missionaries came from all corners of the mission, from Thunder Bay, Ontario, Canada to the north (an 8.5 hour drive, assuming you had no troubles crossing the border), to Fairmont MN in the Southwest (a 4.5 hour drive). We were all going to bunk at various mission apartments in the Twin Cities (3-4companionships/apartment) that night, then attend the Dedication the next day with our assigned Wards and Branches.

At the meeting that cold Saturday Night, President Martin surprised us by coming and speaking to us. About 5 minutes after he spoke, President Hinckley and Elder Maxwell made a surprise appearance after touring the Temple next door. About 10 minutes after they left, President Gleed was speaking to us when President Martin stood up and staggered off the stand. President Gleed asked him if he was OK. He turned and said "I will be fine." He took one more step before collapsing. He was pronounced dead at the hospital.

The next morning during the Dedication, President Hinckley announced the passing of President Martin, and recognized him for his service. Sister Martin sat next to Sister Hinckley and got to assist during the cornerstone ceremony.

The St Paul Temple was the first Temple dedicated in 2000, and was the 69th Temple dedicated overall. It is 10,700 square feet and contains two ordinance rooms, and two sealing rooms. It sits on 7.5wooded acres and has a light gray granite veneer.

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