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School Of Communications

Student Q&A: Megan Hatton Shares Her Testimony of Temples Through Journalism

Comms Senior Megan Hatton’s Temple Project Aims to Spiritually Strengthen the BYU Community

A BYU education aims for students to develop spiritually and leave strengthened. Devotionals and religion classes provide students opportunities to build their testimonies during school, and even non-religious classes offer opportunities for prayer and study about spiritual topics. For Megan Hatton, studying journalism in the School of Communications was an opportunity for her to come closer to God.

For her senior capstone project, Hatton traveled to St. George, Utah, with fellow student Thabata Freitas and Professor Ed Carter. There she attended the St. George temple open house, interviewing patrons and gathering several types of media content to share in the Daily Universe this January. Studying temples helped Hatton strengthen her testimony and share it.

Hatton provided a look into her experience with the temple project.

Q: What is the purpose of your multimedia project?

Thabata Freitas, Megan Hatton, and Ed Carter in Front of the St. George Temple. Photo Courtesy BYU School of Communications

Hatton: We intended to gain a personal and outside perspective of the St. George temple open house to best cover the experience in both an educational and spiritual manner for those who were unable to attend. I wrote a story that will be included in the January Daily Universe magazine and put together a photo essay that will accompany the story.

Q: What did you learn about temples through this project?

Hatton: I went through the St. George temple for the first time with a very analytical eye and observed a great amount of traditionally historical architecture. The second time through, I was more invested in the colors that were used throughout the temple. I learned that oftentimes temples reflect surrounding culture and geographical features through artwork and architecture. In this way, the temple connects us to more than just the deceased we complete ordinances for. It connects us to the region and legions of people who came before us to make it all possible. This can be felt especially with the pioneer spirit that envelops the St. George temple.

Q: How do you use journalism as an outlet to share your testimony?

Hatton: For this project, I was able to introduce basic principles and truths surrounding temples of God in my written story. Though often subtle, I believe that reading such truths will invite the Spirit into the life of anyone reading, and that will be what ultimately draws someone closer to Jesus Christ.

I was also able to capture the joy and light of those at the temple open house in pictures. I believe that joy and light are a reflection of the Spirit that can be felt at any temple and is a result of coming closer to the Savior.

The Recently Renovated St. George, Utah Temple. Photo Courtesy of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints Newsroom

Q: How did your testimony grow as you interviewed temple patrons?

Hatton: My testimony grew as I interacted with the local patrons. St. George hasn’t had an active temple in four years but these faithful Saints have been dedicated to continuing their family temple work, even if that means sacrificing more time and money to get to the next available temple. They are overjoyed to have the temple open again, and that happiness was beautiful to see. I was touched and felt so thankful for the opportunity to live so close to two temples here in Provo. I know that temples are the houses of the Lord.

Q: What impact do you hope this project will have on those who see it?

Hatton: I hope that people will look forward to attending temple open houses (Orem is happening now and Provo’s will most likely be in a few years. The Red Cliffs temple, also in St. George, and the Layton temple both have open houses in 2024). I hope that it will inspire people to look into their family history and connect with family in some way if they are a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. I hope it will inspire more temple attendance and gratitude for their nearest temple.