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In That Holy Place

…establish a house, even a house of prayer, a house of fasting, a house of faith, a house of learning, a house of glory, a house of order, a house of God;…
D&C 88:119
Art by Thomas Virgin. Used by permission.

About the Song

I thought about what to say here for a long time because… everything I want to say about the content of the song is already in the lyrics and really requires no explanation. So I figured maybe you’d like to hear how this song came about.

Calgary Alberta TempleDiane Bastian, who has since retired as Church Music Chairman, called with an assignment. A song about the temple for young women. That may seem like a simple thing, but as it turned out, it was mightily complicated. I have never had another song undergo such scrutiny.

I set to work, and believe me, I prayed over this one like nobody’s business. The basic words and melody came quickly, which surprised me. I promptly thanked Heavenly Father for his help, and sent off the rough draft, feeling pretty good about things. And Heavenly Father was sitting up there with a smile on His face, because He knew what was coming.

Payson TempleThe Music Committee said, “Thank you very much,” and took it to the YW Board who promptly sent it back to me asking for a few changes. It was written from the point of view of someone inside the temple looking out. They needed it written from the perspective of someone looking towards the temple.

Do you have any idea how hard it is to change point of view in a carefully-crafted lyric?????” 

I only thought it; I didn’t say it, however sorely I was tempted. Eventually it was “done” and I sent it back. And again Heavenly Father was smiling–kindly I think, but very knowingly.

The Music committee said, “Thank you very much,” and took it to the Correlation Committee–the body that approves Church curriculum and other such things. They promptly sent it back asking for a few changes. Again I hammered it into the desired shape and returned it.

The Music committee said, “Thank you very much,” and took it to the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles. They actually spent time in a Quorum meeting discussing the lyrics to my poor little song. Talk about intimidating.

Kona Hawaii TempleThey sent it back, asking for more changes. Some of them even had specific suggestions. One of them was reminded by the others that his suggestion had 7 syllables and we had only 5 to work with… So I hammered it again, and sent it back.

The Music committee said, “Thank you very much,” and took it to… you guessed it, the First Presidency. President Gordon B. Hinckley changed two words, and stamped it “approved for all Church meetings and broadcasts.”

Whew. It was a wilder ride than I anticipated, but in the end the song was exactly what it was supposed to be.

As a fitting, full-circle sort of end to the story, the demo recording below is sung by Katie Bastian, Diane’s daughter, who is now an amazing Church Music Manager (the titles keep changing) as was her mother before her.

Appeared in the March 2002 New Era Magazine.
Lyrics to this song were read at the dedication of the Nauvoo, IL temple.


Spotify, Soundcloud (inc. free downloads)

Click the Soundcloud download icon to download the free track for personal use.

Recording featuring vocals by Katie Bastian:

Accompaniment track:

Apple Music, Amazon

These files may be copied/shared in any quantity in any physical format unless otherwise noted. They may not be re-sold or offered for download.





  (Video provided to YouTube by outside parties may contain ads that may be skipped after a few seconds.)


Holy temple; hallowed walls; filled with heaven’s light
Where the Spirit teaches truth and testifies of Christ
There within that holy place our hearts are made as one
United by the power of God in pure eternal love

House of learning; house of faith; house of peace and prayer;
House of glory; house of God;
I’ll feel His presence there
I will stand with heart and hands kept clean and pure each day
Worthy of the blessings found in that holy place

Holy temple where we learn creation’s grand design
Where our souls will be endowed with power from on high
There we kneel, our hearts prepared to cov’nant with our Lord
And there His Spirit binds our lives in love forever more

(Repeat Chorus for Unison/SA)

Holy temple where we bless our loved ones gone before
Where eternal ties are sealed by sacred priesthood pow’r
There we turn our hearts to those who gave us life and birth
How beautiful that holy place where heaven dwells on earth

(Repeat Chorus)

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  1. Diane

    Your song was performed last night and touched every sister there. Thank you for the history! It’s perfect!

  2. Catherine Keller

    I am so happy to find this music and Lyrics to such a spiritual blessing! Im an inactive member for many years, but I never heard this before. I have been blessed by the temple…

  3. Mari Belandres

    Thank you Sally for this wonderful music. It reminds me the covenant I’ve made to my hushand, and to my owm family where I am sealed, and most of all to my savior Jesus Christ and His atoning sacrifice that made family relationship to last through all eternities.

  4. Shauna Stingley

    This song was just brought to my attention. I love it so much! Thanks for sharing your talent with us.

  5. José Vicente

    Tks for your lyrics. We are using It in conference in Engenho de Dentro Rio de Janeiro Stake.

  6. Pamela Christensen

    I want to thank you so much for your talent. I have used many of your pieces in Firesides and other church meetings. This is one of my favorites. I will be singing it at a singles fireside this Sunday the 24th of July. The topic is the Logan Temple and the history of it. I feel there isn’t another piece of music that fits this as much as this beautiful arrangement. I love that you have written pieces for lower voices your arrangements fit perfect with my mezzo voice.

    Pamela Christensen
    Logan, UT


    Sally, we are using this for our Temple Devotional and am so excited. Thanks, as always, for your music, your talent and your love to all those you inspire to do better. Love you

  8. Larissa Dunlop

    We just wanted to thank you for this beautiful song. The young women sang it in our ward today and it was so lovely.
    I feel like the girls have really internalised the message we love it!
    Thank you so much for blessing us with your talents!
    Love Chermside Ward Young Women, Australia

  9. Ronald Shiflet

    I really enjoy your music. I was particularly impressed with your song “In That Holy Place”. I heard it sung at the General Young Women’s Meeting (yes, some men listen to those broadcasts as well).

    Thanks for sharing.

    Ron Shiflet

  10. Margie Richards

    I wanted to thank this web site and especially Ms. Sally DeFord for her generous sharing of her music for our Church use. Yesterday, our Young Men and Young Women sang In That Holy Place in our Sacrament Meeting after spending Saturday morning serving in the San Antonio Temple participating in baptisms. Performing your music was a perfect ending to our spiritual exercise. To be able to have this wonderful music to help our youth learn through practicing the song before our temple visit and then performing in Sacrament Meeting was a small way to slip in an extra bit of spiritual feeding. Music is so important to help us learn and feel the Holy Spirit. Truly pure learning and teaching comes through music and the Spirit. Your talent benefitted our youth’s testimonies and our Ward Members in general.

    Thank you for your lovely songs. Thank you for your testimony and generous kindness of music sharing. Ms. DeFord, you made this “spiritual extra”
    Margie Richards
    McNeil Ward Beehive Leader, Round Rock Texas Stake
    Round Rock, Texas

  11. Timothy Morrow


    I have used a number of your pieces with my choir and they thoroughly enjoy singing them. Yesterday our morning service was broadcast live on BBC radio Ulster and the choir sang ‘In that Holy Place’. I just wanted to thank you and let you know you can listen on the BBC iPlayer at BBC radio Ulster listen again, Morning Service 28th April.

    Best Wishes & keep composing,
    Timothy Morrow (Director of Music St Vindic’s Parish Church, Tynan, Co Armagh. Northern Ireland)

    • Sally DeFord

      Listening as I type… lovely rendition! 🙂


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