San Diego Temple dedication: 'Lots of tears' as San Diego Temple opens

Only moments after President Thomas S. Monson concluded the 23rd and final session of the dedicatory service of the San Diego California Temple at 6:10 p.m. on April 30, scores of volunteer workers moved into the temple to prepare it for the purpose for which it was dedicated.

Nearly 2,000 folding chairs used in the dedicatory sessions were removed and returned to Church meetinghouses in the area. Carpets throughout the temple were vacuumed; walls, where necessary, were cleaned; and furnishings were returned to the various rooms of the building. About 50 persons on each of the four floors of the temple worked through the night preparing the edifice for sacred ordinance work, which began May 1. Many of the volunteers, after working all night, changed clothes and attended the temple the first day.The first endowment session, which was a special session for mission presidencies, regional representatives and stake presidencies and their wives, began at 4:15 a.m. Subsequent endowment sessions followed every half hour through the day until about 3:30 p.m.

During the first day, 26 persons, including 10 from Mexico, received their endowments. A total of 763 endowments were performed during the endowment sessions that day. In addition 18 marriages and sealings of husbands and wives were performed.

The baptistery was open from 5 a.m. until 5 p.m. and a total of 1,634 proxy baptisms were performed.

All phrases of temple work took place on the first day, said temple Pres. Floyd L. Packard.

"Lots of tears were shed," he commented. "It was just a beautiful, beautiful day.

"I feel this is a very special temple," Pres. Packard continued. "Even before the open house there were many spiritual experiences that took place in the temple, and that only intensified as we moved through the open house and dedication. The Spirit of the Lord has been felt here continually.

"The temple is the house of the Lord - and a very beautiful house of the Lord," he explained. "But the beauty of the ordinances performed in the temple will far outweigh the beauty of the building.

"We've always been a temple-going people in Southern California," Pres. Packard went on. "A temple in San Diego is something we've longed for, something we've prayed for, and now it is here. Members want to be involved with the temple in one way or another. We expect this temple to be a busy temple. Now we can go to the temple on a regular basis without struggling with freeways to get to Los Angeles.

"There never has been anything in the San Diego area that has excited the members quite like the building and dedication of the temple," the temple president affirmed. He said he felt the temple in the area would not only increase the number of ordinances performed by the local members, but also would help them live better lives.

Pres. Packard said because of the temple "a deep bond has been created among the members on both sides" of the United States-Mexico border. The temple district includes 21 stakes in Southern California and five stakes and a mission district in Mexico.

"The temple will be a great blessing to all of us," he declared. - Dell Van Orden

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