Temple open house draws wide interest

Interest in the Vernal Utah Temple is reaching far beyond the boundaries of the temple district.

"We have had people call from New Jersey, Michigan, Washington, Oregon and several Wasatch Front counties

in UtahT for open house tickets," Gayle McKeachnie, vice chairman of the temple committee, said. "A lot of the people who call have some connection to Vernal or the old tabernacle."The edifice, the first temple in the Church to be built from an existing building, will be open to the public Oct. 11-25 and will be dedicated in 11 sessions Nov. 2-4.

Members of the Vernal Utah Temple committee have distributed more than 100,000 tickets - at an average rate of about 1,000 a day - for the open house. The temple district has about 42,000 members, so the majority of people attending the open house will travel from other areas to see the Church's 51st temple.

The temple was built from the old Uintah Tabernacle, and additional new facilities have been constructed adjacent to it.

"People here have been really excited since the announcement of the temple," Brother McKeachnie said. "Since the outside landscaping was done we have had numerous people who just come and walk around the temple and look at it."

De Armon Batty, president of the Vernal Utah Maeser Stake, said members in the temple district are eager to volunteer during the open house and dedication.

"There is overwhelming support," he said. "The problem is making sure that everyone who wants to be involved can be. As a member of the Church in Vernal, I have never felt this kind of thrill and excitement."

Laird M. Hartman, president of the Vernal Utah Glines Stake, said so many people have volunteered as ushers during the open house (they need 120 volunteer ushers per shift) that he had to make lists of alternates.

"Words can not express the happiness, joy and gratitude that people are feeling," he said. "We have seen some real blessings come into the lives of our people that we would attribute to the temple. A lot of people are looking at their lives and deciding that they want to be active, that they want to hold a temple recommend and that they want to attend the dedication."

Tickets for the two-week open house may be ordered by calling a toll-free number, 1-888-216-5844. Those who live in the Vernal area may call 781-1611. Phone lines will be open on Mondays from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Tuesdays through Fridays from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m., and Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. There is no charge for the tickets.

Following the open house, the temple will be closed and prepared to be dedicated. Tickets for the dedication will be distributed to members of the temple district and their families before they will be made available to other worthy Church members.

All the motels and hotels in Vernal have been booked for the open house and the temple dedication. Members of the temple committee suggest Church members traveling long distances plan to stay in neighboring cities, such as Roosevelt and Duchesne.

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