Monday, April 2, 2018

The history of an LDS Temple in Layton, Utah

PRIOR to April 1, 2018, mention anything about a temple in Layton, Utah and you were talking about the Layton Buddhist Temple, 644 East 1000 North in Layton – as that was the lone “temple” inside the City’s boundaries.
This temple opened way back in 1979.

 b                    The "Layton Temple," a Buddhist shrine.

However, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints will redefine that title with its own “Layton, Utah Temple” in a few years.
Announced on Sunday, April 1, 2018 in General Conference, this temple will be the 19th in Utah.
“We are now pleased to announce plans to construct seven more temples,” said LDS Church President Russell M. Nelson during the Sunday, April 1, 2018 afternoon session of General Conference. “Layton, Utah,” President Nelson both smiled and laughed when he announced the name Layton, which was met with awes and cheers.
(In one Layton household, a woman listening to General Conference yelled, “What? What?” after the announcement was made.)
Layton is a relatively “new” city in Utah, based on pioneer settlements, being an outgrowth of Kaysville, Utah.
Layton community residents de-annexed from Kaysville City, from 1902-1907, to become their own, separate unincorporated area. Layton finally incorporated as a town in 1920.
However, the move for Layton to become its own community had actually started a decade earlier in 1892.
According to the Davis County Clipper newspaper of May 6, 1892, members of the Kaysville Second Ward of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints really resided in what most recognized as Layton territory and not Kaysville. Hence, some Church members circulated a petition in 1892, asking Church leaders to rename the ward to what it really is -- the Layton Ward.
"We do not live in Kaysville City, nor Kaysville precinct, and why it is called the 2nd Ward of Kaysville we cannot understand," the newspaper report stated.
Just less than 4 months later, the Ward name change did take place.
“The members of second ward of Kaysville last Sunday decided to change the name to Layton Ward to so as to conform with the precinct and post office And hereafter it will be known by that name.” (-Davis County Clipper, Aug. 31, 1892.)
When Layton became its own official town in 1920, Kaysville’s population was 809, while Layton had less than 400 residents.
Even by 1940, Layton only had half the population of Kaysville, with 646 residents.
It was World War II and rise of area military installations, like Hill Air Force Base, that produced a surge in Layton’s population.
It was probably around 1943 when Layton surpassed Kaysville in total population. By 1950, Layton’s population was 3,456, as compared to 1,898 for Kaysville.
Layton City reached another milestone in 1985, when it surpassed Bountiful as the largest city in Davis County, with an estimated 36,000 residents.
In 2018, Layton has more than 76.000 residents, as compared to Bountiful’s 45,000 and Kaysville’s 32,000 populations.
-And, because of its larger land area and room for growth -- sometime in the future, Layton will likely surpass Ogden as the largest Utah city north of Salt Lake City ... with approximately 120,000 residents.
As such, unlike pioneer cities like Brigham City, which had century old Church prophecies about one day having its own temple, Layton is just too contemporary of a city to have had any such occurrence.
Notwithstanding this history lesson, a few references on the Web claimed Layton City would one day receive its own LDS temple years prior to the official announcement.
The first such Internet reference was probably from Matt Martinich on March 1, 2009 – just over 9 years before the official announcement of a temple in Layton. On his “LDS Church Growth” blog ( and under the heading of “Potential new temples,” he claimed no special revelation for that claim, just that he had identified four key factors that: “contribute to the likelihood of a new temple announcement in a given location: Long distance from an existing temple, a large number of stakes and districts, stakes which have existed before 1981 in given location, and busy Saturday endowment schedule at the closest temple.”
And, Layton met those 4 criteria.
-Still another “before the fact” prediction for a temple in Layton came on, under the heading of
“UTAH NEEDS THREE MORE TEMPLES,” by Geoff Openshaw, on April 1, 2016 – exactly two years before the official announcement.
Openshaw wrote: “LAYTON. This one is a given (for a temple). This is one I actually believe in. The name “Layton” doesn’t carry a lot of caché, but the northern Wasatch Front is overcrowded when it comes to the number of stakes feeding into its temples. We should smooth that out.”
After the official temple announcement was made, Church members began to speculate about where exactly the Layton temple would be built.
Just like with the Bountiful Temple more than a quarter of century earlier, the Church surely already had land secured for a temple years before any official announcement.
A KUTV new story a day after the announcement (April 2, 2018), quoted Layton Mayor Bob Stevenson as saying yes the LDS Church already has land for a temple, though he was sworn to secrecy as to exactly where.
“We can narrow that part all the way down to it's in Layton. Not in Kaysville, or Clearfield, or Syracuse, it's in Layton, and people will really like the location,” he said. "I think that when the F-35 pilots fly in, I think they will be able to see it,” Mayor Stevenson told KUTV.
 “I will say this, the church has acquired the property and so that piece of property is a done deal,” he continued.
Mayor Stevenson’s last comment to KUTV was: "That is their announcement as far as that goes so we have to let the church announce where the location where it's going to be.”
KSL-TV also talked to Mayor Stevenson about the new temple that same day. In that interview he called the announcement of a Layton temple "stunning," adding that it is "by far the most exciting announcement we've had in our community.
"I think that maybe we could even hear a roar coming from not only the Conference Center, but coming from Layton, Utah," he said.
The LDS Church sometimes prefers temples on lofty hillsides or bench areas, as with the Bountiful and Draper temples.
However, the Church also build temples in center of the valley areas, as with the Jordan River and the Oquirrh Mountain temples.

It would be kind of ironic if the Layton Temple is located anywhere near "Gentile Street." This road actually received its name in the 19th Century as where some non-LDS families lived in W. Layton.


  The most likely Layton LDS Temple site, east of the Smith's Store, near Rosewood and where Oak Hills Drive and Gentile Street split off. Multiple sources claim this is indeed  the site.

                                Another view of the most likely temple site in Layton.

                  Street sign view, with possible temple site to the right.

     Horses graze on possible sacred ground just south of Gentile and Oak Hills streets.

Monday, March 26, 2018

LDS Apostolic reflections on the affliction of cancer

ELDER Neal A. Maxwell of the LDS Church's Quorum of the Twelve spoke candidly to the Deseret News about his cancer, in 1999, some 5 years before his passing in 2004.
And, contrary to what many people may suspect, he considered his cancerous disease to be more of a blessing than anything else.
Speaking at the annual National Cancer Survivors Day for Utah at Hogle Zoo on June 5, 1999, he said one of the blessings of cancer is that it can help a person sort out the big things from the little things in life.
Here's more of the original Deseret News interview:
"We have a different perspective, a sharper focus," he said about cancer patients. "I've been given by the Lord a delay en route."
Elder Maxwell, age 72 at the time, said hair is one of those things that doesn't seem as important after suffering from cancer. A loving conversation with your family, however, ends up seeming very critical.
He was diagnosed with leukemia three years ago. It was caught fairly early but was progressing very rapidly. He had multiple chemotherapies and ended up spending 46 days in the hospital.
Elder Maxwell was only able to work part time in his church duties until 10 months ago when he regained his strength and returned to full-time status.
"I feel much better now," he said.
He's still receiving some chemotherapy but remains very hopeful.
"Each of us faces an eventual exit route," he said of life.
Elder Maxwell said quite a number of general authorities of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints have been stricken with cancer, including President Spencer W. Kimball, Elder Bruce R. McConkie and President Howard W. Hunter.
"There's no immunity from suffering," he said of church leaders. "Only variation from suffering. How we handle it is the key."
He's especially thankful for the special care his wife, Colleen, whom he describes as a "Florence Nightingale," provided him.
Elder Maxwell said leukemia also has given him a much greater appreciation of the atonement of Jesus Christ. Another blessing he made reference to from his illness was a better capacity to receive help from others.
"We must learn to receive," he said.
He said he also has a greater respect for the doctors and nurses who deal with cancer patients on a daily basis. He credited the advances of medical science for also helping more cancer patients recover.
"I'm wiser by the experience," he said.
The church leader advised cancer patients against wondering why me and why now? He urged patients not to allow tomorrow to overhang today and to continue to avoid self-pity.
He had told the organizers of the event that he wasn't looking for any special treatment or recognition there. He was just glad to attend such an event where special kinship can be felt.
"I draw from their fellowship," he said.
Indeed, he was not dressed in the usual suit and tie apparel of the general authority, but rather a jacket, T-shirt and casual pants. He even carried and sometimes wore a baseball cap.
-Written by Lynn Arave and published in the Deseret News, June 6, 1999.
SIDE NOTE: As a reporter, I was fortunate to be able to speak one-on-one and privately that day with Elder Maxwell for about 7 minutes. I also thought of a great final question just as others noticed Elder Maxwell and came flooding over, swamping him in a sea of zoo-goers -- and it was interview over. I don’t recall what that unasked query was, but I guess I was not supposed to ask it ….
Some years later, I would attend a memorial service for Elder Maxwell (not sponsored by the LDS Church) at the University of Utah. I was surprised how well he had impressed many non-members of the Church. I’m sure he is currently reaching out to many others now in the Spirit World, as perhaps only his gentle, poetic style can do. --Lynn Arave.

Not enough Church members partake of the ‘meat’ of the Gospel?

                           One of W. Cleon Skousen's doctrinal books (and still for sale on Amazon).
NOT enough members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints partake of the meat of the gospel, W. Cleon Skousen, LDS author/scholar, said.
He spoke on April 3, 2003 to the B'nai Shalom group of Jewish converts at their semiannual meeting on "Lessons I've Learned from Life" at the Capitol Hill First Ward Chapel of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
Skousen, then age 90, was energetic and focused. (He died less than 3 years later in 2006.)
"I plead with you," he said. "Take the time to get into the meat."
Skousen has written 42 books on LDS doctrine and teachings, and he said they all touch on meaty aspects of the gospel. It was Elder John A. Widtsoe, an LDS apostle from 1921 to '52, who taught him to study. Skousen believes Elder Widtsoe understood the gospel of Jesus Christ better than any other apostle of his time.
He said a key difference is that milk eaters of the gospel only ask "what" to do next, while meat eaters also ask "why."
"A few Saints get to the meat level," Skousen said. "The why and the how people are the ones that are really progressing in the gospel."
Why don't more get into the meat?
"Because most people aren't interested in meat," he said.
"There are some boring speakers. That's 'cause they get on milk and can't get off it. . . . It's the duty of everyone to be a good sacrament meeting speaker."
He said the big test in life is to endure to the end, but many are too busy with sporting events — even on Sunday — to do that.
"Don't let the holy day become a holiday."
Exercise, or just doing what the Lord has told you to do, is also essential.
"Church service is so important, and we should be active in the community, too."
Skousen also said he's a firm constitutionalist and initially believed it was wrong to be pre-emptive with Iraq and go to war over there.
"But I feel good about it now. . . . Serve your country."
Regarding keeping a year's supply of food, he advises those with old and outdated storage to just throw it away and start over.
"The wonderful thing is that you didn't have to use it," he said.
Skousen also advises church members to keep journals and said he has 150 journals outlining many details of his own life.
"We have a lot of things we have to sharpen up."
He's keen on both the leadership and progress of the church today.
"What a magnificent (church) leadership we have today. I see nothing but progress happening in the kingdom."
Skousen also touched briefly on his service as Salt Lake City's police chief in the mid-1950s by saying it wasn't his idea — LDS Church President David O. McKay asked him to do it.
He also was a longtime professor in the department of religion at Brigham Young University.
-Witten by Lynn Arave and published in the Deseret News, April 12, 2003.

Clarifying the story of Moses and ‘The Ten Commandments’ from Hollywood’s version

1956 Deseret News Archives photo showing (L-R) Mrs. and Mr. Cecil B. DeMille, Charlton Heston and LDS Church President David O. McKay in Salt Lake City for the "Ten Commandments." premiere.
IF you've ever watched the classic movie "The Ten Commandments" by Cecil B. DeMille, it is so engaging it may have become your definitive version of the story of Moses.
But the 1956 film, starring Charlton Heston and Yul Brynner, sprinkles more than a little fancy among its facts.
From a romance that never existed and concocted characters to an instant parting of the Red Sea, the movie is riddled with fiction.
It is, in fact, a cinematic masterpiece in everything except accuracy. It won an Oscar, three other major movie awards and was nominated for another seven awards.
No later movies about Moses even come close.
LDS Church members tend to read mostly the Book of Mormon and too many members are clueless about what the Old Testament story of Moses truly states.
 In Hollywood's defense, perhaps making an almost three-hour movie out of a few dozen Bible chapters requires some invention just to fill the time and keep viewers engaged.
Historically, ABC-TV airs the classic movie, the highest grossing film of the 1950s, each year during Easter weekend. (The one year ABC didn't air the movie — 1999 — it received a browbeating.)
There’s also somewhat of a Utah connection to the movie. There’s good evidence that its producer, Cecil B. DeMille, wanted to eventually make a major motion picture of the Book of Mormon. In fact, he and his wife, plus Charlton Heston, came to Salt Lake City for the movie’s premiere and met with LDS Church President David O. McKay (see picture above from the Deseret News Archives).
Now, in an effort to shed some light on what's Holy Bible and what's Hollywood, here is a sampling of differences between the Kings James version of the Old Testament and the classic Hollywood “Ten Commandments” movie:
 According to the commentary on the 2004 DVD release of the film, the movie's script was enhanced by non-biblical sources, such as: Josephus, the Sepher-ha-Yashar, the Chronicle of Moses and the Quran. Also, some parts in the script are mere inventions.
 The movie refers to all the kings of Egypt with specific names, while the Bible refers to each one only as "Pharaoh."
 No wives of any kings are mentioned by name in the Bible, while a star in the movie is "Queen Nefretiri," obviously a variation of "Nefertari," the wife of Rameses II, according to Egyptian history. The Bible mentions no extra romance of Moses with anyone, though Nefretiri's love of Moses is one of the dominant components of the DeMille movie.
 Moses' mother is said to be Yoshebel in the movie, while Exodus 6:20 states it was Jochebed.
 The daughter of Pharaoh is only mentioned in the Bible when she rescues baby Moses from the river. In the movie, she eventually goes with the Israelites out of Egypt.
 There is also no biblical mention of Moses having any early relationship with any of the Pharaoh's sons.
 Moses apparently didn't have the choice to marry any of Midian's seven daughters; he was given the offer of a specific wife. Exodus 2:21 states: "… and he gave Moses Zipporah his daughter."
 In the movie, Moses is said to be a successful military commander, but that reference comes from Josephus, not the Bible.
 The movie shows Moses openly fighting an Egyptian, killing him and then being arrested and exiled. Yet Exodus 2:11-15 says that Moses saw no one else when he killed the Egyptian and that Moses fled afterward, since the Pharaoh sought to kill him.
 Some characters, like Baka (portrayed by Vincent Price), are not mentioned in the Bible.
 Joshua never came to the land of Midian to persuade Moses to return to Egypt. God sent Moses back to Egypt (Exodus 3:10).
 The movie doesn't accurately portray Moses as being "not eloquent" in speaking (Exodus 4:10).
 The movie only shows four of the 10 plagues of Egypt. Not only were there time constraints, but Hollywood at the time could not re-create some of the special effects needed to show some of the plagues.
 Moses doesn't tell Pharaoh that his word will bring the last plague or that Pharaoh decreed that all firstborn of Israel would die. God alone executes the final plague (Exodus 12). Furthermore, the Bible offers little beyond saying the firstborn of Pharaoh died, while the movie focuses extensively on this son's death.
 The movie shows an instant parting of the Red Sea. However, the Bible states that the strong east wind took all night to part the waters (Exodus 14:21). (That means the Lord kept the Pharaoh and his army at bay a really long time.)
 The Pharaoh is not shown as drowning with his army in the movie. Even though Exodus does not state that Pharaoh did drown, Psalm 136:15 implies that Pharaoh did drown with his army.
 Israel sang and danced to celebrate the defeat of Pharaoh and his armies (Exodus 15), but the movie portrays them as simply standing in silent amazement.
 The movie also does not show Israel's battle with Amalek or of God supplying Israel with manna, water and quail.
-Written by Lynn Arave and originally published  in the Deseret News, March 27, 2010.

Monday, March 19, 2018

The Mystery of the Granite Records Vault

THE Granite Mountain Records Vault in Little Cottonwood Canyon contains what may be the world's most extensive collection of family records.
Operated by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, these vaults are encased in the mountain.
When the Vaults opened in 1965, there was a public open house and like, LDS Temples, anyone could visit it. Since then, unless you work there, no one has probably been given access to it.
Thus, the Vaults are somewhat of a mystery today.
Below/Above are some of the images of a mid-1960s brochure, published by the LDS Church on the Vaults.

NOTE: This article and all of the NighUntoKolob blog are NOT an official website of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. They are the author's conclusions and opinions only.

LDS General Conference from a Century ago

                       Note the sign in the upper righthand corner of this photograph.
                                                -- Utah State Historical Society picture

LDS General Conference was a lot different a century ago.
Foremost, the first public address microphone was barely invented and not yet available for use in a large conference hall. So, hearing a speaker's talk was sometimes difficult.
Also, seats were not padded and air conditioning did not exist, among other things.
However, if you look in the upper righthand corner of the photograph above, there is something else significant: a sign on the fence of Temple Square, warning people: "Beware of pickpockets."
Thus, thieves were apparently out in force in Salt Lake City during the 1920s -- General Conference notwithstanding.

NOTE: This article and all of the NighUntoKolob blog are NOT an official website of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. They are the author's conclusions and opinions only. 

Reflections on Ward Boundary changes:Back when boundaries lasted 40 years

                      A Deseret News map of Salt Lake's original ward boundaries.

MY own ward boundaries have changed significantly over the decades.
In some 35 years of living at the same address, I've survived four major LDS Ward boundary changes and have attended four different church buildings.
(And, that doesn't count my five years serving in the bishopric of an LDS Student ward 12 miles away either ...).
However, early ward borders in Salt Lake City remained about the same for almost 40 years.
In February of 1849, Salt Lake City was divided into an original 19 wards. By 1885, there were just two extra wards and little change in the boundaries of most of the wards.
This was in spite of Salt Lake's population growing from 5,000 in 1849 to some 20, 768 by 1880.
According to the LDS Church News section of Sept. 22, 1985, the old 18th Ward contained where LDS Church headquarters were and also to serve the families of just 3 men -- Brigham Young, Heber C. Kimball and Newel K. Whitney.
And, back then, each ward was and economic unit, as well as an ecclesiastical area. For example, the original Salt Lake Second Ward banded together to dig a canal from Emigration Canyon to water their farms.

NOTE: This article and all of the NighUntoKolob blog are NOT an official website of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. They are the author's conclusions and opinions only.