Pilots use temples to help guide them to airports
Plausible, at least in London
A temple suffers a power failure for an extended amount of time and is unable to light the beautiful building at night. They then receive a phone call from the local airport asking them why they have turned off the lights. The airport wants them to turn the lights back on because airplane pilots use the temple to guide them to the airport. This story ends with a perfect faith-promoting message – the temple can guide us safely through the trials of life.
This legend has been told numerous times and about various temples. Obviously, members have taken this story and changed the location of the temple to make the story have the most impact. As the legend spreads, the location is changed to a hometown temple or to a temple in an area where the church may be dealing with political and social strife. Does this mean that the story is false? Not exactly, it just means that it is nearly impossible to find the original source, if one even exists.
Several pilots responding to this story have said that they have never used a temple to help guide them to an airport and that most temples are not close enough to an airport to even help.
Elder Kenneth Johnson, member of the First Quorum of the Seventy, at a BYU devotionalon September 23, 2004, referenced a similar story happening at the London temple. In his talk he said, “In 1992, following the remodeling and refurbishment of the London Temple, there was intense media interest in the impact of the closure and re-opening on the local community. The Temple is located on the flight path to London’s Gatwick Airport and one of the reporters took the initiative to interview some airline pilots who regularly navigated this route. It was remarkable to read their responses. The light on the pinnacle of the spire had not been illuminated for over two years. They had missed this beacon as it provided them with a landmark that could be referred to with certainty on the planes final descent to the runway. Just as the light on the spire of the Temple helped chart the course for temporal travelers, so Temple covenants provide a light by which we can chart our course in the quest for exaltation.”
An October 19, 1992 article in the Deseret News also stated, “Situated on 32 acres near the flight route of the nearby London Gatwick Airport, the temple long has been a reference point for pilots.”
The Johnson remarks and the Deseret News article make this legend very plausible, at least for the London LDS Temple.