LDS temples are only open to members of the church who have a temple recommend -- basically you have an interview to show you're in good standing. There are also some age requirements -- at 12 years old you can get a limited use recommend for doing baptisms for the dead. Around young adulthood (usually when you go on a mission or get married), you get your full use recommend.
But when a new temple is built, or an existing temple is renovated, the church holds an open house where anyone, regardless of age or religion, can take a tour of the temple. I highly recommend it if you're at all curious.
Germany has two temples: Freiberg and Frankfurt. There are two Freibergs in Germany -- although the other one might be spelled differently. The other one is in/near the Black Forest and has a famous cathedral or church. This one is about 2.5 hours from us and maybe a half hour from Dresden. If you're thinking geography right, it was in the part of the Germany that was East Germany not too long ago -- in fact, it's the first temple to have been built behind the iron curtain and the first in Germany and also the smallest that the church had ever built. And it is small!! It's had a few renovations over the years and has been in open house phase for a few weeks so we grabbed the opportunity and drove up!!
There was quite the line waiting for tours and they were passing out white umbrellas to keeps the sun off.
Abby found a random flower in the grass and really really wanted to pick it and keep it but I wouldn't let her.
I kept trying to get pictures of the Angel Moroni and the German flag together but it was hard with the breeze and the sun. I resorted to taking funny pictures of William to help keep him occupied while we were in line.
This kid loves to take goofy pictures and then laugh at them afterwards. But the downside is that now he simply won't smile for a picture, he has to do a weird face. And weird, wonky, and silly are regular parts of his vocabulary.
Everyone was very reverent and good in the temple -- I was very pleased with them. They liked wearing the white booties to cover their shoes. The girl's favorite room was the baptismal font with the font on the backs of the 12 oxen. They are both excited to be 12 and be able to do baptisms for the dead. For Megan, that might happen at this temple! They also thought the mirrors in the sealing room were cool showing the eternal reflections and of course the chandeliers.
We asked someone to take some pictures of us in front of the temple and this is what we got. It may not be a beautiful family picture but it clearly shows each of the kids' personalities and I love that about this picture.
We didn't stay and tour the town. We had some things that needed to be accomplished so we drove back after we were done. This was our first experience driving on the Autobahn. Chopper drove! I'm not that brave yet! And really I don't think it's too bad. There are speed limits in some locations but mostly 130 kph is the recommendation. There is a law that says you cannot stay and drive in the left lane and you cannot pass in the right lane. The right lane is for driving, the left lane is for passing. And this is a law for safety really because some people go so fast that they can't stop suddenly and you do NOT want to be in the way.
Just a cool bridge
Can you see we're doing 90? That's about what the CRV will do. We took that instead of the van because we heard that there was a parking garage near the temple and knew that on a Saturday there would be quite a few people. We were right and our informant was as well -- the parking garage was TINY. The spaces yes, but mainly the ramps and the way they were placed. We had to 3 point turn a few times to get up and down them (of course the temple parking was on the top floor -- what???) and I can't imagine the scrapes that would have occurred had we driven the van. We saw a few struggling! We've been told to expect car damage because we have a larger vehicle. I'm sure it will happen at some point!
Our GPS took us a different way back to the Autobahn to go home and we drove through some small villages set in the hills and valleys. It was a beautiful drive on narrow roads and Made me think a lot about the people who were separated from the rest of their nation to live in a communist nation -- and not by choice. I don't think that it was generally a good situation. Also, how did they keep things separate and contained? I know that there are walls in Berlin and at least one other town that was literally divided in two but what about the rest of the country? We did see a sign with a picture of a fence and a tower just as we were crossing the "border" but didn't see the actual fence. Its really interesting to think about borders here because it's so difference from the United States. You cross a border and it's a different language, system, laws, etc. It will be interesting to see how it it blends and stays separate the more that we travel.
But we felt the Spirit at the temple and had a good trip. I'm grateful for the opportunity to take the kids and that they enjoyed it as well. I'm grateful for temples and the opportunity to be an eternal family. And I'm grateful to have a place to feel peace when everything else seems crazy -- like now!! Even just for an open house, we could feel the peace and it was wonderful.