In That Holy Place
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.
Diane 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.
The 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.
They 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.
Sheet Music Downloads
Listen (and free 128kbps MP3 downloads)
Click the to download the free track for personal use.
Recording featuring vocals by Katie Bastian:
HQ Audio Downloads
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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
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