BYU Studies Quarterly

BYU Studies Quarterly

Article Title



Bentley Snow


Mormon studies, personal essay, ceremony, sanctuary


The part that got me was that I had to take off my Chacos to enter the sanctuary. I was irked at first, drifting at the back of our group—apathetic, iPod on—deliberately detached and not in the mood for ceremonial inconveniences. I looked into the sanctuary’s square, open-air center. The floor, I had to admit, was beautiful—thin blue rivulets streamed deep within white marble—but imagine how many feet had mixed their oils with the dirt that faintly coated it. Red wooden poles lined the edges of the square, rising out of white pedestals to support the red tiles that sloped down toward the center, where the rest of my friends had gone on ahead. I skirted the poles until I came to a few rows of shoes lying simply beside a pole on my right. Amid them, I recognized two small, slipperlike white ones, then, almost reflexively, imagined their owner’s face; then I recognized more shoes, and then I saw more faces; then the cold stones finally sent thrills through my feet.