Thursday, September 10, 2009

Temples, Desert Lilies, and Las Vegas

I recently attended my nephew’s wedding in Las Vegas, Nevada. It was so much fun to be there and share in the day with family. My husband’s siblings are strewn across the US—from Georgia to Hawaii—but they are all very close and do their best to support each other in big events like marriages. So with some degree of sacrifice, they were there, all seven of them.

I do not, however, love being in Las Vegas. I know there are a lot of good people who live there and some great shows that are fun to see, but it is still hard for me to drive around the streets and see billboards that say things like, “Biggest Selection of X-rated Actors Here” There were many other similar billboards and signs, all advertising one form of evil or another and each promising thrills and happiness for those who partook.

My daughter Kathryn made an interesting observation. She commented on how fake everything in the town is. You can pretend to be in Venice, Rome, New York City, or Egypt, but you are not really there. That seemed to me to be symbolic of the message of the city in general. People go there to find riches, short term happiness and an escape from reality. But the reality is that true wealth and happiness will never be found in evil. No one involved in prostitution, gambling and pornography will find the joy they are seeking. So the city is not only pretend, it is also on some levels a lie, and a perfect example of how Satan operates.

Our morning at the temple was in stark contrast to our evening in the city. The man who performed the marriage ceremony told us something about the construction of the Las Vegas temple that I found interesting. Aware of the spiritual dearth in the area in general, the architect of the temple incorporated the desert lily into much of the temple décor—including down the sides of all four corners of each marriage altar. He had gone into the desert once and amidst the brown dirt and cacti, found a beautiful green leafed desert lily in full bloom. To him it represented the life the gospel brought to an otherwise spiritually barren land.

So if you ever get a chance to attend the Las Vegas temple, be sure to look for the lily, a symbol of spiritual life.
Now on a completely different subject. . . . I wrote a post about my mother in honor of her birthday but here are a few things I wanted to add to it. As I mentioned, my mother is a farm girl, born and raised, and so she learned to be resourceful, as well as brave. Here are two examples.
First--brave . . . Mom loves animals and does her best to care for them, although I have thought she has been a bit extreme at times. Like the time their doberman became diabetic and mom would go out every morning and get a urine sample from the dog to test his sugar levels. Seriously!! I am sorry to say, that is where I would have to draw the line.
Second--resourceful. When I was in fourth grade I broke my arm and had to have a cast. Back then the casts were plaster, not fiberglass like today. When my six weeks were up, and I could have the cast removed, my mom did not want to spend the money to take me to the doctor so she took me into the back yard and got out a saw and sawed it off! The honest truth.
Ahh, so many stories! :-)


Christina said...

What a beautiful story about the desert lily. We stayed for a few days in Vegas and while our hotel was off the strip and more family-friendly, the constant billboards got tiring.

Your mom sounds like a genius! =)

justmeagain said...

Okay sawing the cast off made me laugh! That is being resourceful, but I don't think I would dare do it. I would be afraid I would cut my child's arm off or something.

And I loved the symbolism of the desert lily. It made me wonder what symbolism is in my temple that I am not aware of. Thanks for sharing that.

Shannon said...

I love the story about the lily. Just goes to show you can find something good and uplifting almost anywhere. Don't you just love being in the temple?!

MissKris said...

hahaha your mom is awesome :)

JUST ME, THE MOM said...

Such a great analogy, I've been to Vegas to many times and would have to agree. I'll always think of that now when I visit. You must have been a brave little girl as your mom was sawing that cast off :)


PS - cannot wait to try that truffle. Looks heavenly. I'll let you know how it turns out!

Momza said...

I'm with you, having been to Vegas twice for conferences, I would never chose to go there on purpose for like a's just brown and ugly, and I'm not a glitter n lights kinda person, so the whole strip thing does nothing for me.
However, knowing there is a Temple there makes me realize there's a lot of really good people there too.

And your mom is a hoot! That dog was blessed to have her!

KC Mom said...

You comments about Las Vegas and the temple were spot on. Thank you for sharing that today.

Becky said...

I dislike Las vegas a lot too. Just not a great place to be. My DH likes it though, so every once in a while we go there.

Jenny-Jenny said...

Wonderful comparison with the land and the lily!

Your mom is so great. I would be so afraid of cutting my kids arm.

Carolyn said...

I've only been to Vegas get married, and not in the temple. (We were sealed later in Salt Lake.) What a beautiful contrast.

I loved this post.

Marilyn said...

Such a great post!