Monday, August 24, 2009

Oquirrh, Oak-her, OQrrxxj

Yesterday along the Wasatch Front - Zion to many (except the Jews) - The Brethren felt inclined to give us a break from the normal grind meetings so that we might attend the temple dedication sessions. A newly gilded (careful not to confuse with 'gelded') Moroni was in place after the earlier mishap with the lightening, and music was in the air.

I've been wondering about the choice of this temple's name, and I believe I may have figured out the mystery. Until now, nearly all of the LDS temples have been named after the city of their location (Salt Lake City, Logan, Boise, Draper, etc). However this new temple is situated only a couple of blocks from the already-existing Jordon River temple. So to avoid confusion, the Temple Naming Committee selected a name very familiar to both of the still-living Goshute Indians: Oquirrh Mountain.

I've yet to speak to anyone outside of Utah who has the faintest idea of how to pronounce the name of this temple. Then the thought struck me - maybe this obscure and difficult-to-pronounce name was by design. I know a lot of people that, while visiting other areas, try and attend a new temple. It's like seeing a tourist site, without the entrance fee - well, sort of. In the case of this new temple, perhaps the idea was to discourage any out-of-town visitors - a "locals'only" hang out sort of thing.

I can imagine that when visitors might think of selecting a temple to visit, they start with, "how about that new temple, the OQr... temple?" They'd get funny looks, make a few additional attempts at an intelligible guess in pronunciation, and then settle for the Draper or Salt Lake City temple. I think they also had this in mind when naming the Mount Timpanogos Temple, but that turned out to be phonetically sound enough to at least get close to the name. 'Oquirrh,' on the other hand, might as well have been named using cuneiform letters.

I may be way off base here on my guess. Perhaps people enjoy the challenge of learning new, exotic Native American names and feel a connection to our quickly-fading Lamanite heritage. Have I missed any other obvious reasons for the selection of this name?


  1. Like our beloved prophet, even Thomas S. Monson, I'm just happy that the saints of that area finally have a temple near their homes.

  2. Did I miss this phrase while I was, ahem, pondering? Heaven forbid making those poor people from South Salt Lake County travel an extra two blocks to the Jordon River temple.

    Back when I was a lad, I remember my parents traveling two hours to a temple. In the snow. Both ways.

  3. "It's like seeing a tourist site, without the entrance fee - well, sort of."

    HA HA HA. Now THAT'S funny.

  4. Are you for real? The Temple Naming Committee? Really? I don't think so. It is the Prophet who names the temples. It was originally the South Jordan Utah Temple, but a few days before the groundbreaking, President Hinckley felt inspired to change the name to the Oquirrh Mountain Utah Temple.

  5. Photograph of the Oquirrh Mountain Temple (c)2009 by Michael Provard.