Temples are sacred buildings of worship for Mormons (members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints). There is a period of time, after temples are built and before they are used for worship services, when free tours are available, an Open House to the public.
My city’s second temple, the Provo City Center Temple, is now holding its Open House (through Saturday, March 5th), and it’s been projected that over 900,000 people will tour the temple during that time. Twice so far I’ve gotten to tour the temple, and twice so far I’ve volunteered as an usher, and I have some thoughts about how to make the most of your Temple Open House experience.
take pics outside, not inside, and use #PCCT and/or #Templenacle
There are ten things you need to know.*
Just kidding: this list goes to ELEVEN.
1. You don’t need a ticket. You should have a ticket. Get one if you can. But if you can’t, there is a stand-by line. The best time to get through the stand-by line quickly is early in the morning, Monday through Thursday.
2. Wear what you want. There’s no dress code, and this is a tour, not church. Sometimes, though, you want to know what others will be wearing, right? If so, as a guideline, if you want it, remember the temple was built to be a sacred house of worship. Ushers for the tours are asked to wear Sunday Best.
3. Think about your shoes. As part of the tour, each guest (and usher) who enters the temple puts plastic covers over their shoes. This keeps the temple floors as clean as possible. Hey, Ladies? I’m looking at you, now: wear flats. Trust me. As a woman who owns at least six pair of heels and exactly one pair of flats, I’m telling you: you don’t want to mess with those shoe covers and heels. It’s one day, choose the flats.
4. Speaking of shoes… This is a walking tour. After the short video at the beginning, the tour is about 45 minutes of walking, including stairs. There are elevators and wheelchairs if needed. But you should be ready for Leg Day.
5. Leave your coat in your car. It’s cold, and maybe you don’t care about carrying your coat. But if you can stand it, try to leave your coat in your car. I saw a lot of people carrying huge parkas. Kids hhhhhate having to carry their coats (and their moms will carry the kids’ stuff…but they won’t like it).
6. Leave the other stuff in your car, too. I know, with the diaper bag. I get it, you might need it. But think about only what you’ll need for an hour and do your best.
7. Go to the bathroom and get a drink before the tour. It’s only an hour, you don’t want to be distracted during that time. And take your kids. I know they said they don’t have to go. Take them.
8. DON’T STOP. The walking tour? It’s continuous. There are people behind you, and people waiting to get inside for a tour. Take your time, and enjoy, don’t feel rushed. But keep walking so you don’t hold up the line.
9. Kids, Man. As an usher I love seeing kids tour the temple. If you bring kids, please keep an eye on them. It can be easy for them to wander into another line of people going another direction. Implement the Buddy System (especially if you’re bringing a group of kids, like for Activity Days or Scouts). Don’t give them gum or candy during the tour. And for the little, little ones? Please, PLEASE keep an eye on them especially near the stairs and railings on the top floor. Also, the woodwork in the temple is beautiful…and if you knew how many kids I saw put their hands and mouths and noses on the railings you wouldn’t go near any of it. Let them know to look with their eyes, not their hands, and when it comes to peeking over the railing to look down the staircase, please help them keep both feet on the floor rather than climb.
10. Talk about the temple…another time. Teach your kids and talk with your friends about the temple. But don’t hold up the line by pausing for a lesson about eternal marriage in a sealing room (srsly, have a family home evening about it and use handheld mirrors). If you didn’t talk about it before the tour, take a mental note and talk about it afterwards.
11. Hang out in Provo for a bit. Make a date of it, whether with your family, friends, or on an actual date. Downtown Provo has legit cool businesses and places to get a meal or a treat. Hungry and have some time? I recommend communal, Noodle King, India Palace, Black Sheep Café, or Guru's. If you need a treat go to Sodalicious (scotcharoos, Man), Sweet Tooth Fairy (right across the street from the temple!), grab some gelato at Gloria’s, or try Rockwell IceCream. Here’s a map. Provo's cool.