Thursday, January 26, 2017

Top Ten LDS Temples of Special Significance to Me

Salt Lake City Temple -- This is the temple I knew growing up.  When I thought of temples, this is the one that always came to mind.  It is the first temple I ever went inside of.  As a teenager, I went there with a youth group to do baptisms for the dead.  As a brand new missionary, it is where I received my endowments.  It is where young missionaries gathered to listen to the voice of then apostle, Harold B. Lee, in the large assembly hall in the center of the temple. It is where Judy and I were married for time and all eternity.  Interestingly, when I was attending graduate school at the University of Minnesota in the twin city area, Minneapolis Stake was assigned to the Salt Lake Temple, and St. Paul Stake was assigned to the Washington D.C. Temple.

Washington D.C. Temple -- This was a greatly anticipated temple while I was on my mission.  The ground breaking for this temple represents the completion of my mission in that all of the missionaries of our mission, the Eastern Atlantic States Mission, were invited to the ground breaking ceremony.  The missionaries nearest to completing their mission, myself included, remained at the mission home in Bethesda, MD and were sent home from there shortly following the ground breaking ceremony.  I very distinctly remember the walk up the hill through the woods to the temple site, and the key speakers, namely Paul H. Dunn and Hugh B. Brown, both illustrious General Authorities.  Also, our daughter, Julie, and her husband, Matt Bertasso, were married in the Washington D.C. temple.  My brother, John and his wife Gloria were in attendance, which was a blessing to us.

Provo Temple -- This temple was built while I was attending Brigham Young University (BYU).  It is the first temple that I got to go to before the temple was dedicated.  I went to the open house prior to the dedication of this temple.  Following the dedication, I was able to go to this temple several times as a BYU student.  Years later, after our family returned from Hawaii to Utah in 1993, we lived in the tree street area across from Deseret Towers.  Our chapel was on the "other" side of the Provo Temple, meaning that we literally walked past the temple each Sunday to go to church.  It is my understanding that the Provo Temple is the busiest temple that the Church has.

St. George Utah Temple -- After my parents retired, they spent part of their time in St. George, Utah.  I would have the opportunity to visit them, and, on occasion, would go to the St. George Temple with them.  Those were pleasant memories, making this a special temple to me.  The St. George Temple is the oldest active temple in the Church, since it was the first temple dedicated in the State of Utah, beating out the Manti, Logan, and Salt Lake City temples in this category, all of which were built in the 1800's.

Laie Hawaii Temple -- When Judy and I lived in Hawaii, we got to know the Laie temple very well, and went to the temple about once a month for many years.  We were most fortunate to have a temple this close,  about 20 miles from where we lived. Associated with the Laie temple are 1) the statue of Ma Mahuhii on the temple grounds.  Joseph F. Smith served his first mission in Hawaii at the tender age of 15.  Ma Mahuhii assumed the role of surrogate mother to young Joseph for three months when he was seriously ill on the Island of Molokai. Many years later, when Joseph F. Smith returned to the Hawaiian Islands as a Prophet, he had the chance to see Ma Mahuhii as an old woman, and recognized her.  He dropped everything, ran to her, hugged her tightly, and exclaimed, "Mother, my Mother" with tear filled eyes - a very tender moment. 2) the statue of Lehi blessing his youngest son, Joseph, who the Hawaiians believe they descended from, 3) four large friezes on each of the four sides of the Laie temple at the top, on the North frieze depicts events in the Book of Mormon; West frieze, events in the Old Testament; South frieze the New Testament and Apostasy; and East frieze, events associated with the Restoration.  The freezes were made by J. Leo Fairbanks, with help from his brother, Avard Fairbanks.  While I worked at the Hawaiian Sugar Planters' Association, we hired Dan Fairbanks, who was the grandson of Avard Fairbanks.  Dan and his father were skilled at sculpturing, so the trade was handed down from generation to generation.  I learned much from Dan about his grandfather.

Mount Timpanogos Utah Temple -- We got to witness two marriages of relatives in this temple.  We witnessed the marriage of Blaine Tew to his bride, Leslie Tew.  We had to smile when an old lady entered the chapel area where the groom's family was on one side of the aisle and the bride's family on the other.  She said, "Which side of the aisle are the Tews on?"  We responded, "Take your choice."  We also witnessed the marriage of Wayne McCandless to his bride, Juanita, this marriage being for time, since Juanita had been previously married in the temple for time and all eternity to her first husband who passed away at an early age.

Baton Rouge Louisiana Temple -- Judy and I attended the Baton Rouge Temple many times while living in Louisiana.  The temple was completed six months after I arrived in Louisiana.  Since Judy joined me in Louisiana about 10 months after I arrived there, it was already dedicated by the time she arrived.  Judy was a temple worker in the Baton Rouge temple for nearly ten years, and served as a coordinator for most of those years.  I was in the Bishopric over most of the years we live in Louisiana, and as such, was not able to serve as a Temple Worker, the last two years, that we lived in Louisiana, I was able to serve as a Temple Worker, and had the opportunity to officiate in the endowment ceremony a handful of times before we moved to Tennessee.

Vernal Utah Temple -- While having never been in this temple, it is of special significance, because it represents the temple in the area I grew up in.  It is the first temple that took an already existing building, the Vernal Tabernacle, and converted it into a temple.  It is the temple that my brother, Fred, served in for many years.  Vernal is also where my great grandfather, Daniel Vester LeRoy is buried.

Nauvoo Illinois Temple -- While Judy and I have been to the temple site, before the rebuilding of the Nauvoo Temple occurred.  We have not gone to the Nauvoo Temple since it was rebuilt, but it is a temple of historical significance, and we plan to go to Nauvoo.  It's on our bucket list.

Provo City Center Temple -- Before leaving Utah in 2000, the Provo Stake that Judy and I lived in, used the Provo Tabernacle as the site of our stake conference.  We became quite familiar with the Provo Tabernacle, and had our favorite place to sit when we went there.  I had been in the Provo Tabernacle many times, dating all the way back to my undergraduate school years.  I remember a talk give by Elder Bruce R. McConkie while there, and to this day, am certain that I heard him speak of a day when we will see an Asian apostle. The tabernacle burnt down on December 17, 2010.  The Church decided to rebuild the Tabernacle into a Temple, and the Temple was dedicated on March 20, 2016 by Apostle Dallin H. Oaks, a native of Provo, Utah.

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Hiking in the Village at Sewanee Creek and in the Savage Gulf State Natural Area

Grant Miller and I have taken up walking together each day, to get into a regular exercise regime. The goal is to walk briskly and to have at least a portion of the walk have a significant incline in order to build up stamina.  The most straight forward walks are on Browns Hollow Road itself.  The distance between our homes is about 0.4 mi (0.8 mi RT), so Grant drives his Polaris Ranger to my house, we then walk to his house and back, and that constitutes our walk for the day (Route 1).  With this route, we can alternate between his house and mine as the starting point.

From the beginning, we have chosen to make our daily exercise become more interesting by exploring the surrounding area, rather than limit ourselves to the same route every day.  We have made a circle by going on Browns Hollow Road, then taking the road to The Commons, then going by George's house (Route 2). We have also gone down to Triple Castle Rock and back, starting from the Commons area (Route 3). We also went to Miller Falls, and hiked to the bottom of the falls and back (Route 4).  We hiked up the logging road behind our house, to the highest point on the hill (Route 5).  Finally, we went to a feature described as Indian Rock House beyond Rocky Perkins' house (Route 6), and did some clearing of the trail with my cordless chain saw, and some heavy duty loppers.  Beyond the Village on Sewanee Creek, we hiked on a trail in Grundy Lakes State Park.

The last two weekends, and this coming weekend, to get our exercise, Grant and I joined up with "Meet Up" groups that are exploring Savage Gulf State Natural Area, which, in turn, is a part of South Cumberland State Park.

On Saturday, Jan 7, Grant Miller and I braved 10 F temperatures to join a "meet up" group at the Stone Door Trail near the town of Beersheba Springs. There were two park rangers present to lead two groups from the ranger station. An older, more experienced ranger lead a group of three other hikers on a 7-mile hike into Savage Gulf. Our group, consisting of Grant, myself, and Aaron Reid (the other park ranger) went with the other group as far as the Stone Door feature, stopping at strategic lookout points on the surrounding bluffs, including the Laurel Trail Overlook. I thoroughly enjoyed the experience and learned a lot about the area from the two rangers. At the end, we also hiked down to Laurel Falls, just behind the ranger station (a 10-min hike in each direction). On the edge of the bluffs, wind chill was well below 0 F. We were well dressed for the occasion so we did fine. The hike was 2 miles, round trip, classified as moderate difficulty.

This past Saturday, Jan 14, we went on a "meet up" group hike, this time on the Southern end of Savage Gulf State Natural Area, on the Collins Trail which leads to Suter Falls. Access is from the town of Gruetli-Laager, which is only 6 miles from where we live, as the crow flies. The trail was more strenuous than at the Stone Door (last Saturday). Suter falls is fronted by a large and impressive semi-circular overhang. For most of the hike, Grant and I had the Park Ranger, Murray Gheesling, to ourselves.  Late in the hike, we were joined by a girl.  The hike was 2 miles, round trip, classified as strenuous.

This coming Saturday, Jan 21, we will join a meet up group scheduled to take a Nature Hike to Greeter Falls near the town of Altamont.  All I know about Greeter Falls is that kids love to dive into the pool at the base of the Falls from a height of about 25', I believe.  Because of its proximity to Altamont, it could well be the most visited Falls in the area.  It may be the largest volume falls in the Savage Gulf State Natural Area, as well.  The hike is 1.0 miles, round trip, no classification.

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Contrasting Cumberland vs Smoky Mountain Waterfalls

One way of contrasting the Cumberland Region of Tennessee from the Smoky Mountain Region is to compare their waterfalls.  The Cumberlands can be thought of as a large plateau embedded with deep valleys, locally called gulfs.  For example, Grant Miller and I explored part of Savage Gulf State Natural Area when we visited the Stone Door near Bersheeba Springs about 30 minutes from where we live.  Savage Gulf is part of the South Cumberland State Park system, headquartered in Monteagle, about 7 mi from where we live, and is embedded on a plateau.  A characteristic feature of Savage Gulf, and much of the Cumberlands, are the bluffs.  Hence, it is no surprise that waterfalls in the Cumberlands are generally tall and have a single drop, top to bottom.  By contrast, waterfalls in the Smoky Mountains are generally of the cascading type, as seen below.

Abrams Falls, GS Mtn NP

Spruce Flats Falls, GS Mtn NP


Indian Creek Falls

Here are some examples of Cumberland waterfalls in our area, starting off with Fall Creek Falls, the highest waterfall in the U.S. east of the Mississippi River:

Fall Creek Falls, FCF State Park, 256' drop
Rockhouse & Cane Creek Falls, FCF SP, 125' & 85' drop

Greeter Falls, SouthCumberland SP, 50' drop

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

In Memory of My Sister, Lynette Tew (1949-1969)

My Dad, Burton E. Tew, Sr. had a family of five children when his first wife, Leah Lundell Tew, died from Tetnus (lock jaw).  Dad was 43 and Leah was 40 at the time, and their five children ranged from nearly 15 (Burton Jr) to 2 years old (John).  Just under four years later, Dad (46) married my mother, Mary LeRoy (39).  They had two children together, myself (Jan 1948) and my sister, Lynette (Dec 1949).  Thus, Lynette is my only full-blooded sibling.

H.S. sophomore year

Lynette lived life to its fullest growing up. She enjoyed being outdoors, was into sports, especially volleyball, and loved music.  Notwithstanding her popularity in school, I don't remember anyone in my life who more courageously stood up for those who were underprivileged or were being discriminated against. Her life was cut short, when, as a junior at Brigham Young University at age 19, it was discovered that she had a malignant brain tumor.  She lived only two weeks beyond the discovery.  In her memory, I have posted eight photos of her.  I think it is fitting that she was born in the month of December ('49) and died in the month of June ('69), as did the Prophet Joseph Smith.

H.S. senior year

Lynette was buried in the Springville/Mapleton Evergreen Cemetery in Utah, near her father and mother.