Faithful LDS parents raise their children to be “builders of the kingdom”—a message that Suzanne and Tim Calton and their four children take to heart.
“We live in China, where we don’t have temples. So every time we visited a temple outside of China, we always collected a postcard of that temple and taped it to the wall in our China home,” Sister Suzanne Calton says. Postcards turned to hand-drawn pictures, pictures led to models made from toy blocks, and it wasn’t long before the Caltons came up with an idea to make building the kingdom personal—and fun.
The Caltons are the founders of Brick‘em Young, a toy block company that produces temple building sets. Similar to (and compatible with) Lego blocks, the Caltons’ block sets enable customers to construct models of LDS temples.
Temple sets available include Salt Lake (small and large), Nauvoo, Washington, D.C., San Diego and Provo City Center. A separate Angel Moroni figurine is also available for purchase, and bride and groom figurines are forthcoming. Sets range from roughly 500 to 1700 bricks. Fun facts about the temple’s construction and a building FAQ come with each set, and videos and free downloadable instructions on the website help guide would-be architects through the building process. Completed temples range in height from 8” to nearly 14” and can be completed in 1-6 hours, depending on the model. Several pieces in the sets are custom-made, including spires and windows.
“The manufacturing process is quite extensive. It requires digital software and trial and error to make sure each custom piece adds to the value of the look,” says Sister Calton. The Salt Lake Temple roof was especially challenging, she notes. “But that’s the fun part of what we do!”
That process begins with a poll to determine the temple customers would like to see built next.
“Everyone feels a connection to their ‘own’ temple,” Sister Calton says. Currently leading the pack on their website poll is the Bountiful Temple, followed closely by Logan.
While originally conceived as a product for children, Brick‘em Young’s temple sets have also found fans in older consumers worldwide. On the company’s “Meet Our Builders” page, young single adults in Mexico relate building the small Salt Lake model on a date, and a couple from Africa tell of how they built a temple set while making preparations to be sealed. Brick‘em Young builders, its founders are proud to report, have sent in photos from “every livable continent in the world.”
The Caltons love the response from builders worldwide.
“It’s a sincere pleasure to get feedback of personal stories from our builders,” Sister Calton says. “Some families play conference in the background while they build. Some use the kit to bond grandparents to kids in something meaningful. We love that once the temple is built, it goes on display as a reminder of a fun family bonding moment.”
Sister Calton understands the importance of family. She considers herself a “momtrepreneur,” a business role she sees as compatible with her primary focus of being a wife and a mother.
“You have to do what invigorates your soul personally, while balancing your first priority as a mother. I believe that being a mom makes me more concise as an entrepreneur because my time is limited and our family priorities are uncompromising,” she says.
The Caltons hope to see Brick’em Young expand in the future, perhaps producing more of the smaller temples: “We hope to act upon the direction our builders are taking us—building more and more temple sets for them,” says Sister Calton.
Visit https://brickemyoung.com/ to browse Brick’em Young’s temple sets and order a model.