Open house fosters good will in temple community
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APEX, N.C. School teacher and Raleigh North Carolina Stake member Sarah Barnhill was dismayed. Only a limited number of VIP guests could receive special invitations to the Raleigh North Carolina Temple open house and her principal, who was also a minister, was not among them.
So Sister Barnhill obtained one of the 50,000 printed invitations available for members to distribute and extended the invitation herself to her employer. Little did she realize the ripples her small action would make. Her principal took the invitation to his pulpit the next Sunday and urged the entire AME Rush Methodist congregation to see for themselves the newly completed temple in Apex.
A member of the Cary 1st Ward, Sister Barnhill attended her principal's church services the Sunday after the open house concluded as a gesture of courtesy. Her principal brought her to the front of his congregation as he thanked her for her personal invitation to experience such a beautiful building.
The incident is just one example of many in which good will has been fostered among community members as a result of the temple open house Dec. 3-11.
Apex Herald reporter David Leone prepared an eight-page Raleigh Temple commemorative insert for the Dec. 2 edition of the weekly newspaper. When 75 percent of that week's edition sold out two days after it hit the racks, the newspaper's circulation manager called to express regret that the paper had not fully appreciated the event the reporter pushed so hard to cover. He asked for the locations of other LDS temples being built in the South so he could alert other newspaper editors to what an asset an LDS temple can be.
As she toured the temple, Wake County Commissioner Yevonne Brannon was amazed at images of the Savior.
"The artwork was simply stunning," she exclaimed. "I felt myself drawn to each painting and found myself wanting to linger in front of every scene so I could contemplate the meaning of what was being portrayed. But how could I selfishly do that with so many people behind me?"
Elder Loren C. Dunn of the Seventy and North America East Area president, hosted 13 special tours for 275 business, civic, religious, state government, educational and community leaders prior to the public open house. Special tours were also held for temple construction workers' families and for residents of the Amherst subdivision located behind the temple site.
More than 2,000 members of the Church volunteered as ushers, parking attendants, shoe-covering assistants, translators, security personnel and late-night cleaners, with some traveling from as far away as Winston-Salem and Harker's Island to have the privilege to serve.