Elder and Sister Watts

Elder and Sister Watts

Hill Cumorah Visitors' Sites Mission Statement

"Behold, I am a disciple of Jesus Christ, the Son of God. I have been called of him to declare his word among his people, that they might have everlasting life."
3 Nephi 5:13

Sunday, August 29, 2010


One of the amazing blessing of serving our mission here in Palmyra, New York is being so close to the Palmyra Temple. We live 1/2 mile from this beautiful edifice. This temple was the 100th temple announced and was the first temple in the state of New York. I love this view of the temple as seen from the Smith Farm.

The grounds are so well kept, with flowers, grass and trees that invite a spirit of quiet and calmness; a refuge from the busy world.

During the winter months Elder Watts and I are privileged to serve in the Palmyra Temple in addition to our work at the Sacred Historic Sites and the Rochester 2nd Ward. We don't serve in the temple during the summer months because we are busier at the sites and also because approximately 15 couples come to Palmyra to serve as temple missionaries. These summer temple missionaries are needed because of the increased number of visitors that come to the historic sites and also want to worship in the temple while they are here.


This temple has amazing stained glass artwork on each of the windows. The artwork represents the Sacred Grove, which is just across the street from the temple. In fact, as one enters the temple it is as if he/she is entering the Sacred Grove, since the front doors have lead glass trees etched on them.


Outside of this temple and all other temples of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is inscribed, "HOLINESS TO THE LORD, THE HOUSE OF THE LORD" which indicates that this is the house of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

"But the Lord is in his holy temple: let all the earth keep silence before him."
                                                                 Habakkuk 2:20


Below is the east side of the Palmyra Temple. We are looking at the windows on the right side of front door. Once again, the windows have the magnificent stained glass trees.


The two pictures below show the angel Moroni atop the Palmyra Temple. Because of the angel Moroni's role in restoring the everlasting gospel to be preached to all the world, a statue depicting him as a herald [vs. 6-7] of the Restoration sits atop many temples throughout the world.


Below is the north view of the Palmyra Temple, taken early one morning. Just below the bench seen in the foreground of the picture are some stairs. Under those stairs, below the cement are some very special rocks.  The man that was in charge of the building of the temple told us that he wanted a class of young children he taught in church to write their names on rocks to be placed under the soon to be poured concrete of the temple steps.  His wife thought it would be wonderful to let every child that lived in the temple district place a rock under the cement and so an invitation was sent out.  Soon the UPS delivery person had boxes and boxes of rocks to deliver to the Palmyra Temple that was now under construction.  These rocks were lovingly placed one by one in the dirt where the stairs would soon be poured.  Then, the location of each rock, with each child's name, was recorded.  After that the cement was poured.  I was touched by this act of kindness that involved the children of the temple district in this soon to be dedicated temple.


Below is the west side of the temple. There are some very special windows in this side of the temple. They are clear and provide a view of the Sacred Grove. This is the only temple in the world with clear windows that allow those inside to look outside. President Gordon B. Hinckley, the prophet that dedicated this temple, felt it was very important to be able to look out onto the Sacred Grove from inside the temple.  He said at the groundbreaking for the Palmyra Temple on May 25, 1999: “I regard this temple as perhaps the most significant, in one respect, in the entire Church. It was right here in the Sacred Grove where it all began.”

President Hinckley dedicated this temple on April 6, 2000 exactly 170 years after The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints was formally organized in Fayette, New York, about 30 miles from Palmyra. The dedicatory services of the Palmyra New York Temple were broadcast over the Church's encrypted satellite system to stake centers and Church facilities throughout North America. Elder Watts and I were excited to be able to attend one of those broadcasts.


Church leaders commissioned Utah artist Tom Holdman to create the Sacred-Grove-themed stained glass windows throughout the Palmyra New York Temple including a stained glass mural of the First Vision, which hangs in the hallway.


The inside of the temples of the Church are just as beautiful as the outside. To see pictures of various rooms in temples throughout the world click on this link:  Mormon Temple Virtual Tour

Learn more about why Mormons build temples by viewing the video:


  1. Thanks for sharing. I learned a lot about this temple. I want to go!

  2. That was really nice! You do such a good job sharing your experiences and I really enjoy reading about them. This was really nice and you had some really great pictures! May the Lord continue to bless you richly!

  3. Please tell Sister Miller thank you for the wonderful tour of the Cumorah Vistor's Center on Monday, June 16. Her help in getting to the monument by car was very helpful to our non-member friend. Thank you. Keep up the good work! Ted Leo Jensen, tljensen273@gmail.com