DRAPER -- The dedication of the Draper Utah Temple begins Friday morning following an unprecedented nine-week open house. The dedicatory services will last for three days, and hundreds of thousands of Latter-day Saints are expected to attend.
Those in attendance will see the artistry of the people who have left their visions on and in the Draper Utah Temple. Capturing this striking natural beauty and transferring it to paintings for the interior murals for the Draper Temple was a coveted commission for a Latter-day Saint artist.
"I grew up there. I rode my horses there. I looked at those mountains my whole life," explained Linda Curley Christensen, the temple's mural artist.
Christensen continued, "I've been asked a lot of times: ‘Well, where are those scenes?' And I never paint something exactly the way it is. I have a funny quirk. I don't want anybody to feel like they can go there. It's a representation of God's creations. It isn't a specific place."
The golden light in the aspens mural of the Draper temple is much more than the artist's favorite season and beloved tree.
"Light is what gives life to everything. We know from the scriptures that the sun, itself, is an extension of the light of Christ. And so the way that the light plays upon the landscape is really intriguing to me," said Tom Holdman, who created the stained-glass windows for the temple.
Holdman uses light to reflect his visions of the world. He has a severe speech impediment, so he allows his art to be his expression. "When I heard there was a temple being built here a few miles from my house, I just had to do the art glass," he said.
He incorporated the log cabin quilt pattern and designs of the Sego Lily, connecting this temple to the early pioneers. In fact, Church leaders' interest in this part of the Salt Lake Valley goes back to Brigham Young.
Absalom Smith was one of the early settlers and served as a leader in that area's first congregation of Latter-day Saints. Perry Fitzgerald came across the Plains as a wagon captain. Their granddaughter, Virginia Smith Lewis, is now 103 years old. She remembers hiking in the area where the new Draper Utah Temple is.
"Oh, [we] hiked all the time," Lewis said. "Corner Canyon is where the temple is, and my father used to run his big sheep herd. He was one of the sheep producers of Utah."
Mel Bayshore of the LDS Church history department said, "This is William Draper. [He] was living in Canada, and in 1832, he heard Brigham Young preach on a mission in upper Canada and believed the gospel and joined the Church at that time."
Draper moved his family to Kirtland, Ohio. He helped to build the temple there. The Drapers then moved to Nauvoo where he helped build that temple. He and his family came to the Salt Lake Valley in 1848 and was invited to help settle the southeastern part of the valley. It was soon named for him.
The temple artists we spoke to are proud to have helped create the Draper temple, just as the early pioneers helped to build other Latter-day Saint temples.
Dedicatory services begin Friday morning at 9 a.m., with the sealing of the cornerstone. We will bring you that ceremony and reaction from those who attend the dedication, starting tomorrow at noon on KSL 5 News.