The spectacularly lit Mormon Temple in the Oakland Hills has been a fixture in the East Bay skyline for over almost fifty years. As part of our place profiles series, KALW's Isabel Angell decided to see what the temple looked like up close.
ISABEL ANGELL: I’ve lived my whole life in the Bay Area, specifically the East Bay. When I was little, I remember seeing a castle up in the Oakland Hills, and my mom told me it was the Mormon Temple. Growing up in a non-religious household, that didn’t mean a lot to me, but I thought it was the prettiest thing I’d ever seen. I imagined a princess lived there. Today, I know a princess doesn’t live there. The temple was built in 1964 and it used to be open to the public. After about 100,000 people walked through, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints officially dedicated it as a holy place. This means when I went to visit, I wasn’t allowed to go inside. But I did talk with Jay Pimentel, who’s been coming to this place since it was built.
JAY PIMENTEL: It’s opened for special worship services during the week, if fact it’s closed on Sundays, we hold our Sunday services in the church meeting house, the building across the way. Also, it is a place where a temple marriage can be performed, a marriage performed in a Mormon temple is not said to be til death do you part, but also to carry on into the eternities. If we were to hold the wedding across the way in the regular chapel meeting house, it would be til death do you part, here, my wife and I were married in this temple in 1975, and the words were “because it is in this sacred and holy place, we hereby make the marriage one for time and all eternity."
This is a busy and hectic area to live in, the San Francisco Bay Area. It’s vibrant, it’s exciting, it’s why I like to live here, it’s terrific. But to have a place of respite, to have a place where it is just this quiet, that is one of the sounds I like the very best here is the sense of quiet. My wife and I will sometimes come up on the terrace just to sit, and it’s a good place for us to, each year, we like to sit down, talk about what happened in the last year, talk about what we’re going to do going forward and it’s just a great and inspiring place to do that.
What’s a place in your neighborhood that means something to you – and why? Our Hear Here community storytelling project wants to know the answer. If you’ve got a story of a significant place, visit the Participate page at www.hearkere.kalw.org and tell it to us! You can also find the project on Facebook and follow it on Twitter at @hearhereradio.
Hear Here is part of a national initiative of AIR, the Association of Independents in Radio, Inc designed to bring new journalistic and technical ingenuity to extending public media service to more Americans. From Chinese restaurants in Boston, to shuttered factories in Dayton, to the oil fields of North Dakota, to Bay Area startups, the ten Localore production teams are working with their public station incubators to uncover ground-up stories of America in transition. Follow their development, and learn more at Localore.net.