The Oakland California Temple

This is the first Holy Temple I attended as an adult.  It was at the Oakland California Temple where I would ultimately complete my personal “Live Temple Ordinances: Washing, Anointing and Clothing.”  That was in March 1966, as I was preparing to serve a Full-Time Mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.  Before that, I had only seen that beautiful white building while it was under-constructed.

Before that, our nearest Temple was in Santa Monica, California.  In my youth, I had traveled with our Ward Youth group on a bus to do “Baptism’s for the Dead.”  We would load onto the bus in the evening and travel much of the night, arriving in Santa Monica in the early morning.  We did not have a Temple in the San Francisco Bay Area.  So, the Santa Monica Temple was our “assigned” Temple.   While there, we would do “Baptisms and Confirmations” for the Dead.  Afterwards, we would stop somewhere for food.  Often, we ate on the Temple grounds.  Eventually, we simply rode the bus back to our Ward building in San Mateo and our families/friends would bring us home.

At any rate, I didn’t know much about Temples until 1964, prior to my high school graduation.  One evening. my friends and I drove up the Nimitz Freeway (East Bay) heading towards Oakland.  We all saw the bright building high upon the Oakland Hills, but none of us knew what it was.  We were all curious and wanted to know what it was.  So, we decided to drive up the highway leading to the “bright building” and see what it was (it could be seen from just about anywhere in the San Francisco/Oakland Bay Area.  To my surprise (and embarrassment), it was a Holy Temple of the Lord Jesus Christ.  It was a Holy Temple, a House of the Lord (currently under construction).

This would be the first LDS Temple of the Lord in the San Francisco Bay Area.  I would come to love this building.  It was here that I made sacred covenants with the Lord prior to entering the Mission Field.  Two years later, when I returned from the mission field, I met my dear Jenny Marie after attending our Stake Conference (the Palo Alto Stake).  On our first date, we both wanted to visit on the Oakland Temple grounds together.  It was there that Jenny and I would often visit.  In fact, it was on the Temple grounds that Jenny asked me to sit with and teach missionary lessons to dear friends of Her’s.  At that time (the Summer of 1968), we sat as a small group on the outside garden terrace level, overlooking the vast San Francisco Bay area, as I taught and bore testimony of the Divinity of Jesus Christ and the glorious Restoration of His Gospel.  And, less than one year later (on April 15th, 1969), at the Oakland California Temple, Jenny and I made sacred vows, were united together, and were sealed “together forever” as Husband and Wife.

In this life, Jenny and I were together for 15 wonderful years, and we were blessed with seven (7) wonderful children. But sadly, on April 8th. 1984, Jenny became seriously ill (a congenital heart problem) and passed away suddenly in my arms.  However, because of our Sealing Covenants, I know that my Dear Jenny Marie is safely in the realm of God our Eternal Father and His Son Jesus Christ.  And I know I will see Jenny again, and I will be united again with her!

At the time of Jenny’s death, we live in Germany.  I decided to relocate our family to Utah.  We sent all household goods to Utah, and we ship our VW Bus to a San Francisco Sea Port.  When our vehicle arrived, we picked it up at the port and visited my mother in Cupertino.  While in the San Francisco Bay Area, I was impressed to attend an endowment session in the Oakland Temple.  Much to my surprise when I stepped up to the veil in the Temple, I looked at the Ordinance Worker and read his name tag: Brother Hank Pardini.  Hank was my father’s best friend.  Brother Pardini was presenting me at the veil.  He is a great man, and it meant a great deal to me to see him there.  After our session, Hank invited me to his home where I was loved and comforted just being with him and his dear wife.

One last thought!  Jenny was a “Temple goer.”  In fact, she and I were both Ordinance Workers in both the London Temple when we lived in England, and in the Swiss Temple when we lived in Germany.  I can also add that after serving a yearlong remote military assignment in Southeast Asia, Jenny and I met each other in Hawaii for a special reunion upon on my return from Southeast Asia.  While there, we made it a priority of attending the Laie Hawaii Temple!  Jenny was a Temple goer!  We are both “Temple goers!”