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CELEBRITIES FIND TEMPLE SQUARE A ‘HIGHLIGHT’

SHARE CELEBRITIES FIND TEMPLE SQUARE A ‘HIGHLIGHT’

A galaxy of internationally known newsmakers and celebrities were among the 4 million visitors to Temple Square in 1988, reported Joseph F. Horne, Temple Square director.

Touring the Square during the year were diplomats, politicians, actors, writers, educators and others."The visit to Temple SquareT was a highlight of our brief return to Salt Lake City," Henry Kissinger, former U.S. Secretary of State, wrote in the guest log. While on the square, he inquired how many pioneers lived in Utah when the Tabernacle was completed, and how many members there are in the Church today, said Quig Nielsen, public relations director on the Square.

"We enjoy coming here," said Drew Lewis, former U.S. Secretary of Transportation and now chief executive officer of Union Pacific Railroad, who brought railroad executives to the square on three occasions during the year.

The Norwegian ambassador to the United States, Kjell Eliassen, visited the Square with Mark Austad, a member of the Church and former U.S. ambassador to Norway. Austad died in October 1988. During the visit, and in remarks with the First Presidency, Eliassen expressed interest in family history. He was later presented with a bound copy of his family history in Washington D.C. by Elder Russell M. Nelson of the Council of the Twelve. (See Dec. 24, 1988, Church News.) Ambassador Eliassen has since been called by his government as Norway's ambassador to Great Britain.

Another ambassador to the United States, Moshe Arad of Israel, commented that the square "is a beautiful place." Early Mormon history was of particular interest to him.

Mayor Ed Koch of New York City wanted to hear the story of the sea gulls. After the story was related, he exclaimed, "God sent manna to save the Jews; God sent sea gulls to save the Mormons. The same God, wasn't it?"

Shirley Harrison, a British author, came to the square gathering information for a book she was commissioned to write about religions that have taken root in America.

After hearing the acoustic demonstration in the Tabernacle, she was asked how she thought the pioneer builders of the 1860s could build a building with such excellent acoustics. After a pause, she replied, "They certainly must have had God's help."

Shirley Jones, movie and television actress, visited the square during the Utah State Fair, in which she participated. She expressed delight in hearing the Tabernacle Choir rehearse and meeting its director, Jerold Ottley. Later, actor Hal Linden sang with the choir during a rehearsal.

Former world heavyweight boxing champion Muhammad Ali, accompanied by Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, visited the square on two occasions. He hugged children and gave his autograph to older fans.

Among writers to visit was the Rev. John Catoir, president of the National Catholic Press Association, who led a group of more than 30 Catholic writers to Temple Square. They were in Salt Lake City for a convention.

Another journalist, Toni Dabbs, editor of Travelling magazine, was so impressed with Temple Square that she returned another day to visit the Beehive House and the Family History Library. "I really enjoyed myself and learned a great deal," she wrote.

Nad Toropov, a member of the Soviet inspection team stationed in Utah, also visited the Square and was given a Tabernacle Choir tape of 16 favorite songs. He wrote, "Have been extremely happy to receive such a marvelous gift of heaven - The Mormon Tabernacle Choir. A thousand thanks. If we could, we'd listen to it forever."

Professor Guttorm Floistad, a distinguished university teacher from Norway, told associates after his visit to Temple Square, "There is an organization that takes care of the families, the children, education, old people, sick people. . . . The organization and leadership is perfect. It's The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Next time you are visited by two handsome young men or women, let them in. Let them teach you, and read the Book of Mormon."

Myriad of faiths visit Square

Members of 49 faiths signed cards or the visitors book when they visited Temple Square during 1988, said Joseph F. Horne, Temple Square director.

About three-fourths of the visitors are non-members, he said. The top 10 denominations or religious groups as signed on the register are:

1- Catholic

2- Baptist

3- Methodist

4- First Christian

5- Lutheran

6- Protestant

7- Jewish

8- Episcopal

9- Church of England

10- Congregational