Friday, June 21, 2013

Not your momma's Gatorade

Written by Uncle George:  April 26, 1907
Rose soon after 5:00 a.m.  Albert Thatcher, janitor of the "Rock Church" (RLDS) assisted me in getting ladders and to the top of the two-story brick building and I secured some negatives.  Very difficult climb we had in the church tower.  I have felt all day that I should have more time to get views of the important points in Church History; so telegraphed W.C. Spence (transportation agent for the Church).  Bed about 10:30 p.m.  Still cold.  Weary tonight.

Val:  April 26, 2012
I was not a "water girl."  I was a "water distribution engineer."

Apparently, someone somewhere saw me chug more than my fair share of the crack-laced BYU hosting punch on April 25th because today I had water duty at the temple open house.

Me and Adam Sandler, we get each other.

No one lavishing me loving punch-craving looks.  No one in my debt for distilling that nectar of goodness.

"Water?"  I said with my best girly voice.

"I guess" they would sadly reply.

Seeing them drink it this way may have been
very entertaining.

No one wants the water boy job.  I have seen the movie.  No respect.  No respect.

But on April 26th, that was my lot in life.  Schlepping water.  In clear plastic cups.  When people see those cups, they know that there is not hope of pink lemonade or red punch.  The clear cup gives the secret away.

Helloooooo!  We just opened our new chapel.  No red punch allowed.

It wasn't as fun working the snack bar at the open house this day, so I was relieved that I got to leave early and go do my Uncle George shots in Independence.

That was until I went outside.

Um, yes, it was "hotter than Hell" as my mother says.  Thanks for asking.  Where was my open house water now?

You had frost and cold weather.  I was so hot that my clothes stuck to my back (shout out to humidity).


I tromped around the grounds with my trusty Richard coffee table book in hand. Sweating.

I didn't get to climb the Rock Church towers to photograph.  Sweating.

I got grass clippings blown all over me and my church clothes from those inconsiderate lawn mower fellas,  who were sweating too.  Clearly their dehydration was taking its toll for them to do something so unchristian on the Temple Lot.

Which actually became a problem since the grass stuck to my sweaty back and my sweaty forehead.  I had grass in my clothes.  My hair.  And of course, my sweaty hands.  Don't tell Richard, but it got on his black coffee table book, too.

I looked like that guy that owns the car that is covered in grass.  See here:

 Man, if only I had worn a tie...

Even the flowers were sweating.

I know, I know.  We get it.  You were sweaty.  Big baby.  
Get to the pictures, Valsy.

 George  Temple Lot

 Val Temple Lot

Uncle, may I point out that in the above image I had to stand in the intersection to get this.  Danger Will Robinson!    And see that spire smack in the middle?  We will get to that in a minute.

 George--street the Mission Home was on

 Val--Street the Mission Home is not on

But the church that Harry S. Truman 
got married is 

And some lovely Shasta Daisies

George's Temple Lot view from the Rock Church spire

 Val's Temple Lot view from the street because I do not 
know Albert Thatcher, who I doubt is still the janitor of the 
Rock Church.  And if he is, I might be just too plain 
scared to climb up some creepy church tower with him.
I saw that World War Z zombie movie last night.
Those undead folks who should be dead are scary.

Ok, let's get back to the pretty-sure-I-might-sweat-to-death field trip to the Temple Lot.  I was hot and I wanted some AC.  Yep, I said it.  I am totally bragging to you that we have an invention that even foot-washing pioneers would covet.  

Air conditioning.

Since Albert is long gone, there was only one other place I thought I should visit that I could find some.
It is known as the Community of Christ Temple. Dude, I TOTALLY know you would have visited it, too.

You weren't here long enough to catch local lingo, so let me help out.  To the community around here, they say there are two types of Mormons:  the "regular" Mormons and the "other" Mormons.

You and I are "regular" Mormons, meaning that we come from the church that went west with Brigham Young.

The "other" Mormons are the ones who stayed here in the mid-west and basically prescribe to what Emma Smith and her family outline as doctrinal soundness.  And they built the spire temple.

Upside down ice cream cone.  Conk shell.  Big silver thing.  Is that your temple?  Here are some of the names and questions one "regular" Mormon hears.

George from the south east of Temple Lot

Val from the south east corner of the Temple Lot
Let's take a look see!

One more thing I hear a lot of---"You can get a good cup of coffee in that temple."  As you may know, you won't hear that too often in a "regular" LDS temple.

So I am going to share with you what I saw that day I was soaking up their free AC!

Uh, you won't see much of this in the LDS Church.
Most men don't 1980's roll their pants anymore.  :)

Tree of Life 
(which looked like it needed some fats in its diet)

(Hey!  Is that my back yard?)
A gift from a chapter in Japan

LOVE this

This was cool.  This depicts Joseph Smith's journey
into the Sacred Grove and how we all must
make the same journey in our life grove to reach 
a relationship with our Heavenly Father. 
This was cool.

Here is someone in anguish...
probably because they missed my water shift.
NO!  Where is Water Val?!

This represents the harvest of souls

Here is the inside of the Conk Shell.
Which is really what it is supposed to be.
"Alex, I will take random church shapes for $200."

Did I mention that the Community of Christ World Conference Center
is the site of the UN Peace Plaza, dedicated to the UN Peace Keeping Forces.

Harry Truman (after dropping two nuclear bombs on the Japanese) came to speak here about peace after helping formulation the United Nations.

Nothing says "peace" like military annihilation of some cities.

This statue is called the ever-imaginative name "Girl with Dove."

George--who obviously knows more than one building janitor

Val--see that red truck?  That is the grass-spewing lawn mowers. 
You can even see him in the white shirt.

Speaking of spewing, I wanted to tell you how my day ended on April 26th, 2012.

My husband were slated to give tours in the temple for the open house.  I had been a tour guide for 7 years at Temple Square so I was like "Mr. Fun, back up. I got this."

Although I didn't.  I have developed a fun little neurological disorder called epilepsy which has basically shorted out much of my short term memory.  When I gave my tour I was humbled by how much I stunk.  So I turned the reigns over to the Hugh Nibley of our family.  

My son was actually a bootie putter-oner for the evening so we were serving together.  But separately.  Doing separate things.  So I guess we really weren't serving together at all.

The good news is when our tours were done, we got to drop our guests off at the snack bar (hello delicious punch and snickerdoodles) and head off for more fun.

Except one tour.  This is where the puking spewing comes in.

When we hit the sealing room, one of  the guests passed out.  And when we got her to the parking lot, she threw up.

Emergency buddies were on hand.

Know what her problem was?  Yep, dehydration.   And I thought I was hot and sweaty.

If she had only pit stopped at the temple water station first thing this morning, I could have saved her some troubles.  And a dry cleaning bill.

She would have sipped in delight and surely said "Now, that's some high quality H2O."

PS/  Here are some little bonus photos:

Monday, June 10, 2013

The Temple Chaser goes to Independence

Written by Uncle George:  April 25, 1907
Dull and cloudy and some mist.  At temple ground, then to class meeting.  Civil and religious law continued by Elder Evans.  President Bennion asked me to be the mouth in prayer.  Made view of Examiner office and Liahona office and the Reorganized Stone Church.  Wrote up diary for the past two days.  I feel so impressed with the necessity of making the views.  I can see what a blessing they would be to our people in arousing an interest in this land and the work that is before us as a people in the building up the center stake in Zion.

Let me just say it.  Those last two sentences have hit me right between the eyes.  Which, by the way, is currently pretty sunburned.

Feeling "so impressed."

The word "necessity."  (insert dramatic music here)

I have had THE exact same feelings...which began in October 2010.

They weren't my feelings, actually.  I borrowed them initially from one beautiful chick named Cheryl.  Sure I was on the original Temple Chaser outing where the idea began, but I would have never been a part of it if Cheryl had moved away.  And "Dixie" is just too darn far to drive to see the progression of a temple....I mean after all, have you seen the price of gas lately?  She needed the visuals for her temple blog, I had a camera and as they say "the rest is history."

Thanks to Cheryl's move across the country, I became a Temple Chaser too.

What's a Temple Chaser?

It is one of my first official bios, which looking at it now, I should have included that I like fluffy socks, hate washing silverware and that I am pretty much the worst dresser in the free world.

When Cheryl left and sent out an all-call for someone to take a picture every so often, I had the time.  But more importantly, the love to serve her.

I never had a calling to photograph the temple construction.  No official authority.

The only time I broke my self-governing rule of not breaking the law or rules of construction was when I went photograph the placement of Angel Moroni (Macaroni as my non-Mormon dad remembers him as).  I was in a moral quandary whether to go or not (the locals had been asked not to attend), but Mr. Fun (also known as Chief Man Who Is As Straight As An Arrow) said the Temple Chaser followers needed to see that moment and I should go, I felt as though I had my get-out-of-jail free pass.  If accountability was to be had for going against the counsel of the locals (see Article of Faith #12), it would be Mr. Fun's problem.  "Sorry you are going to Hell for bad advice, Mr. Fun.   I will come to visit you" says I.  That guy...always taking one for the team.

(OK, I have to be honest here.  I had to Google the 12 I mean 13 Articles of Faith.  I don't have them memorized because my other get-out-of-jail-card is "Hey, I am a convert.")  (Mom and Dad, if you are saying to yourself right now, "What the heck are the 12 I mean 13 Articles of Faith?"  have Google Greg look them up for you.  Just kidding.  They are the Church's 13 main doctrinal beliefs--cliff notes version.)

One of the two things that made my family THE craziest about my "temple chasing" those years was the full-blown obsession I had with the what the clouds and sunlight were doing everyday at 5 pm.  Or at 6:10 am.  Or when I was driving to the store at 2:56 pm.  Or running to the street at 7:14 am.  It was so bad that I probably should have gone to see my bishop and our conversation would have been as follows:  "Bishop, I have a problem."  "Yes, sweet Sister Val, what is that?"  "I am addicted to something."  "Oh dear, my quiet and shy sister in the Gospel, is it porn?  Alcohol?  Coffee frappachinos from the Starbucks?"  "No," I say,"it is sunlight.  And clouds.  And driving way to fast to the temple construction site."

As you can see, this really wouldn't have happened....since I am not really known to be sweet, quiet or shy.  And I only drink Starbucks coffee-free Double Chocolate Chip Fraps.

My other problem is that I had a tendency to go to those early morning photo shoots in my housecoat.

I know what you are going to say..."Weren't you cold?"

Just kidding!  I know what you really are going to say "You have a housecoat?"  I know that it seems a little strange for someone my age to have made this fantastic discovery so early in life, which I owe to the Wal-Mart (hello good signage) and my Grandma Bonnie.

It has been confirmed that JE Dunn Construction knew I was there and sometimes the main office employees would get their update photos from the site from the blog because their own man was slow to get it done.

It has also been confirmed that the Temple Department at Church Headquarters knew about me (and I quote) "the crazy woman in her pajamas at the Kansas City Construction site."  Ouch.

Apparently the masses didn't mind the idea that I was doing photographs part of the time without pants on because at last count we had over 85,000 hits on the blog.

I would say that we "aroused some interest in this land."

You will remember we last left our story (and Stretch Armstrong) with you in Independence and me 106 years later working the KC Temple Open House.

Val:  April 25, 2012
I broke away from my very important job of serving snickerdoodle cookies and that amazing BYU Hosting punch with the secret ingredient (I think it is crack cocaine because my goodness, people could not be stopped from putting as much as they could in their mouths) at the Temple Open House to go shoot your photos for the day.    Thankfully, I did NOT have the job of cutting every spent bloom on the grounds using my hand scissors.  If I had, I would have used my Fiskers at the least.

Like you, I had spent some time with a missionary...Elder Jensen, special liaison between the Temple Committee and the mission formally known as the Central States Mission--Missouri, Independence.

As I drove away from the Open House, I enjoyed the uplifting and supportive signage from the picketers who graciously had traveled to our state to let us know we were going to Hell and that we were completely delusional.  The most surprising sign I recall was that I actually don't worship Jesus Christ but something like a violin-playing goat.  Which, thanks to a movie I saw once, is the true representation of happiness.  Who knew?  (apparently we Mormons)

It was hot...which ended up that it was actually hotter than hot (that was NOT a necessity for sure).

First stop:  The Liahona Office Building


 Val (duh, right?  What gave it away?) 
The guy in business casual without the hat?
I knew it

Let me say a few words (oh, who are we kidding...more than a few words) about this building.  This is the building that in 1907 hosted the Church Publication by the Central States Mission called the Liahona (think Church News), specializing in missionary news from around North America.  The office entrance is actually bricked up but the door was underneath the small rounded window at the left of the building.  

How do I know this?  Richard Hozepsophel's book--page 24.

Here is the irony (or perhaps planned by some smarty that is a well-kept secret).  See the 2012 photo and the  business Gilbert Whitney and Co.?  This actual company was started in Kirtland, Ohio, by Mormons.  This was a joint effort of Newel K.Whitney (as in "Thou art the man") and Sidney Gilbert (not as in Gilbert Grape), as approved by church leaders, established in 1832.  And I quote:

In November 1833, Gilbert’s Independence store was broken into and his goods scattered in the street.  The store ceased operations at that time.  After the reorganization of the United Firm in April 1834 and Gilbert’s death in June 1834, Gilbert, Whitney & Co. also apparently ceased active operations.  In 1838, the property owned by the company was sold, with the proceeds distributed to Whitney and to Gilbert’s widow.
Joseph Smith's Papers

So, the business is still around, having moved to the building of the old Liahona.  Isn't that interesting? (oh yes, Val, tell us more!)

Well, the internet says they sell gourmet kitchen items.  Oh, so does the wall.  

Some of those items they sell now include gourmet coffees and teas, which if I were a betting woman (good thing I don't have much money or maybe I would be..."Bishop, I have a problem...") they did NOT sell in 1832.

Next stop:  Examiner Printer Building


Even though it looks like it hopped right out of the 1970's, this building was the 1907 home of of the church's Sunday School.

Now it is the home for lawyers and others such cunning fellas (see Book of Mormon Alma 10:15).  The good news is that Independent Examiner newspaper is still in business (probably not for long....along with all sorts of other types of printed word).  Their good works include offering a contest called "The Stick Kid," in which the winner gets a ticket to sit next to the ice at the local Mavericks semi-pro hockey game.  I only know this because Mr. Fun and The Girl have put about 1,000,000 miles on the car driving to Jackson County to volunteer for them.  Go Mavs!

Someone famous came from Independence as well, although I am sad to report he did not win a ticket to sit with his dad at the ice level...Harry S. Truman.  He did win something a little more exciting though...the office of President of the United States.  If I had ever gotten a wild hair and visited his presidential library 15 miles from my house I could tell you more about him, but I haven't so I can't.

I must conclude our visit to the square with a photo of the courthouse in action.  This fella killed someone in his prayer group (you don't hear those words together in one sentence too often), but the good news is I know where he can get a good lawyer (see 1970's building above).  Both jail and lawyers on the square, it is like one-stop shopping...the Wal-Mart of the criminal system.

One last note, Independence Square is also home to a lovely antique shop which I purchased two tea cups for no good reason at all.

Not to end our day on a negative, jail-bird note, we strolled over the the maybe famous Stone Church off the Temple Lot.

Val--loving those red doors

I have a red front door, copied from those I saw in Ireland.  My deductive logic skills would say that since a church has red doors and I have a red door, my house is a church.  Hey UAA professor...I got this!

My disclaimer this letter is that your camera could go wider than mine.  And I have a little thing to deal with called traffic.  I know you did too, but your traffic had four legs and eyes (I think eyes would be handy for your generation's transportation to avoiding hitting someone standing in a street).  The transportation I deal with doesn't have eyes and frankly, a lot of the drivers don't use their eyes very wisely when driving (see "texting").  

Just to be clear, the "regular" (as the locals call us) Mormon Church did not build or own this.  This was built and is still owned by the RLDS Church (this week known as Community of Christ).  There is a story that goes with all that history, but that is for another day.

Much like the rambling voice mails I leave my husband about things like "I got some great fake hair for that upcoming 1920's party" or "Fun, did you know that so and so is looking to move to the moon?", the point of this rambling is that much like you, I have felt "it."  I know "it." I get "it."


I gotta run.  It is 4:42 pm and I have a Frap waiting for me.  Good thing I still have my housecoat for today!  :)

PS/  Your buddy who asked you to pray today, President Samuel O. Bennion, was the mission president for 30 years.