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Nearly 300,000 tour new temple

Nearly 300,000 visitors toured the new Las Vegas Nevada Temple during its 23-day public open house, which introduced them to the purpose of temples and established the temple as an important part of the city.

A total of 297,480 people attended, reported James K. Seastrand, temple committee chairman."Before the temple opened, we felt that if we had 200,000 visitors, we would be very successful," he said. "This was beyond our projection."

He explained that people were encouraged to come during the first days of the open house to avoid big crowds at its conclusion. So many people did that, as a result, crowds were expected to lessen during the last week. However, lines increased steadily until the last Saturday, Dec. 9, when 21,500 attended.

"It is a wonder to have this many people receive some understanding of the purpose of the temple," he said. Most visitors mentioned the beauty of the building, and added that they were yet more impressed by the warmth and friendliness of the members of the Church they met.

And nearly 100,000 of the visitors stopped in the temporary visitors center adjacent to the temple to learn more about the Church. Many saw Church videos about the Savior.

Robert Hal Parker, chairman of the open house, said, "This is the greatest thing that has happened to Las Vegas. This is history in the making. The people here, especially those who live nearby, now refer to the temple as `our temple.' "

He said so many members volunteered to help at the temple that an extra daily shift was added, and the daily total of 1,100 volunteers donated more than 122,000 hours of service. "That doesn't count the army of dedicated people who came in after 10:30 p.m. and were on their knees scrubbing. They worked all night to clean the temple.

"Everything was just as it should be; it was just a wonderful experience. I saw the love and joy in the eyes of the people who served there. This made us real Latter-day Saints."

Temple Pres. Boyad M. Tanner said he expects much of the enthusiasm of members for the open house to be translated toward temple work once the temple is dedicated.

"Everyone I talked to was feeling the Spirit, and each wants to participate."

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