Location: On a hill overlooking San Francisco Bay, near intersection of Lincoln Avenue and Monterey Blvd.; 4770 Lincoln Ave., Oakland, CA 94602-2535; phone: (510) 531-3200.
Site: Inspected and approved by President David O. McKay in 1942; 14.5 acres purchased Jan. 28, 1943; additional land acquired later to make 18.3 acres.
Exterior finish: Reinforced concrete faced with Sierra white granite from Raymond, Calif.
Temple design: Modern, with an Oriental motif.
Architect: Harold W. Burton. Resident architect supervisor, Arthur Price.
Construction chairman: W. B. Mendenhall.
Construction supervisor: Robert C. Loder.
Contractors: Leon M. Wheatley Co., Palo Alto, Calif., and Jacobsen Construction Co., Salt Lake City.
Rooms: Baptistry, celestial room, four ordinance rooms 7 sealing rooms.
Total floor area: 95,000 square feet.
Dimensions: Temple proper, 210 feet by 302 feet with a central tower rising 170 feet.
District: 31 stakes in northern California.
Groundbreaking, site dedication: May 26, 1962, by President David O. McKay.
Dedication: Nov. 17-19, 1964, by President David O. McKay, 6 sessions.
Done by President David O. McKay
O God, our Eternal Father, Creator of the heavens, the earth, and all things therein, we, Thy children, assemble here in sacred service with hearts full of gratitude unto Thee for Thy many blessings unto us.
We are grateful for the knowledge that we have of our relationship to Thee; that Thou art our Father, to whom we may go for inspiration and guidance and, when in time of trouble and stress, with our hearts full of hope and desire we may go as to our earthly father.
Help us to free our minds from idle thoughts, and our souls from selfish and envious feelings, that in sincerity and truth we may assemble as one in singleness of purpose in love of Thee, and of all sincere people throughout the world.
O Father, wilt Thou grant unto us Thy guidance and Thy Spirit while we are thus assembled, and may we know that the channel of communication between Thee and us is now open. May we feel and know that we are partakers in reality of Thy divine Spirit.
To that end, let us come before Thee in sincerity of heart and purity of life. May what we say and do be wholly in accordance with Thy mind and will.
We are grateful that Thou didst send Thy Beloved Son into the world to reveal unto humanity Thine existence and to establish on earth the way that men should go in order to return into Thy presence as Thy sons and daughters.
We are grateful that throughout the dark ages, when this light of truth became practically obliterated, that Thou didst restore the gospel in this dispensation by Thine own appearance, and the appearance of Thy Beloved Son to the Prophet Joseph Smith, on which occasion Thou didst say, "This is My Beloved Son. Hear Him!" We are thankful for the message which he gave to the whole world that Thou dost live; that Thou dost hear and answer prayer; that Jesus Christ is the Savior of the world, and that through him death has been conquered and the soul of man set free from death.
We are grateful that under Thy guidance and inspiration the Church of Jesus Christ was organized in its entirety, which gives opportunity to every man, woman, and child to render service to humanity in an organized way. We are grateful beyond expression for its influence throughout the world today. Extend this influence, O Father, that peace may soon be established upon the earth.
We are grateful that following Thy glorious revelation to the Prophet Joseph Smith, Thou didst in this dispensation restore by heavenly messengers the Aaronic and Melchizedek Priesthood, and subsequently all the keys of the priesthood ever held by Thy prophets from the days of Adam through Abraham and Moses to Malachi, who held the power to "turn the heart of the fathers to the children, and the heart of the children to their fathers" down to the latest generation. For this completeness and consistency of restoration of authority, we express gratitude today and praise Thy holy name.
We are grateful for this land of America, "choice above all other lands." The freedom vouchsafed by the Constitution of the United States which guarantees to every man the right to worship Thee in accordance with the dictates of his own conscience, made possible the establishment of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. O Father, may the American people not forget Thee! Help us to see the greatness of this country. We express gratitude for the right of the people to resort to the ballot, and for freedom to meet in legislative halls to settle problems and disputes without fear or coercion of dictators, secret police, or slave camps. Help people everywhere to sense more clearly that government exists for the protection of the individual—not the individual for the government.
We pray for this country. Bless the President of the United States that he may have wisdom supreme to save the world as well as this nation from devastating war. Bless those associated with him. May they be enlightened and guided by Thy Spirit to maintain and uphold the glorious principles of human liberty!
We express gratitude to Thee for the men whom Thou hast chosen to lead the Church from the Prophet Joseph Smith, his brother Hyrum, and their associates, and their successors through the years down to the present General Authorities—The First Presidency, the Council of the Twelve Apostles, the Assistants to the Twelve, the Patriarch to the Church, the First Council of the Seventy, and the Presiding Bishopric. Confer upon each of them a rich endowment of Thy Spirit that under their guidance the gospel may go forth to all the nations of the earth.
Bless with health and wisdom Thy servant whom Thou hast called to lead Thy Church in this day. Continue to reveal to him Thy mind and will as it pertains to the growth and advancement of Thy work among the children of men. Bless abundantly his Counselors. May the First Presidency be united by the Spirit and Power of God in all their labors, and in every thought, word, and act may they glorify Thy name. Here in this holy house, with humility and deep gratitude, we acknowledge Thy divine guidance and inspiration. Help us to magnify our callings and to preach to all the world the freedom which the gospel gives. For truth is freedom and gives the right to worship, to work, the right to serve. Help us never to lose sight of these blessings.
Bless the presidencies of stakes, high councils, bishoprics of wards, presidencies of branches, presidencies of the Melchizedek and Aaronic Priesthood quorums, presidencies and superintendencies of auxiliary organizations throughout the world. Guide them that they may be equal to the responsibility placed upon them. Keep the officers of the quorums and auxiliary organizations united, we beseech Thee. Keep them one as Thou and Thy Son are one, for unity is a great uplifting principle of the gospel of Jesus Christ.
Forget not, we beseech Thee, Thy servants who preside over the missions of the Church throughout the world, together with all the missionaries who have gone forth to proclaim to the peoples of the world the restoration of the gospel and the plan of salvation. Protect them from all evil and bless them with the gifts and powers of their ministry. Bless their families that they may be sustained in peace and comfort.
We are thankful that Thou didst inspire Thy Prophet Brigham Young to prophecy to the Saints who had come around Cape Horn under the presidency of Samuel Brannan in 1847 that "in the process of time, the shores of the Pacific may yet be overlooked from the Temple of the Lord," and that later, in 1924, Elder George Albert Smith of the Council of the Twelve envisioned that one day "a Temple would surmount the East Bay hills, one that would be visible as a beacon to ships as they entered the Golden Gate from the far-flung nations of the earth." We are grateful, also, for the foresight of the faithful men who were appointed as a committee in 1934 to locate a site for a temple were inspired of Thee to choose this glorious site upon which this temple now stands. We are grateful that through Thy divine intervention the site was made available and that Thy servant, President Heber J. Grant, authorized its purchase, and that in 1961 the decision was made to build this holy house.
We are especially grateful, O Heavenly Father, for the committee of stake presidencies who have had general charge of the organizing and building of this temple. Bless them for their devotion and unselfish service.
This edifice, the fifteenth, which has now been erected to Thy holy name, is a monument testifying to the faith and loyalty of the members of Thy Church in the payment of their tithes and offerings. We are grateful that the members of the Church recognize that the payment of tithes and offerings brings blessings and make possible the proclamation of truth and contributes to the carrying out of Thy purposes through the building of chapels, tabernacles, and eventually temples wherever the Church is organized.
We invoke Thy blessing particularly upon Thy people in this temple district who have so willingly and generously contributed their means, time, and effort to the completion of this holy temple.
We are grateful for the spirit of cooperation that has influenced the men and women in this city and surrounding towns. We thank Thee for the cooperation of the mayor, the city council, the Chamber of Commerce, and the united action of all who have seen in vision the value of the house of God.
We thank Thee for every effort that has been put forth by the members, from every sacrifice that has been made by the young boys and girls who have given of their dimes and dollars, to the millionaire who gave of his thousands. Accept, O Father, of the contributions from the widow, from the boys and girls who denied themselves some dress or some pleasure in order to make possible this edifice. May the Spirit that prompted them to give, to serve, be with them throughout their lives, for only by service may they obtain that happiness which passeth understanding.
Our Father, we pray Thee to bless all those who have labored in the erection of this temple, or who have, in any way, by their means or influence, aided in its completion. May peace abide in the homes of Thy people everywhere, and may sickness and disease be rebuked from their midst.
May each contributor be comforted in spirit and prospered a hundredfold! May all be assured that they have the gratitude of thousands, perhaps millions, on the other side for whom the prison doors may now be opened and deliverance proclaimed to those who will accept the truth and be set free.
While his body lay in the tomb, Christ, Thy Beloved Son, preached to the spirits in prison who once were disobedient in the days of Noah, thus evidencing that those who have passed beyond the veil must also hear the word of God and obey the eternal principles of life and salvation.
Temples are built to Thy holy name as a means of uniting Thy people, living and dead, in bonds of faith, of peace, and of love throughout eternity.
Help all, O Father, to realize more keenly and sincerely than ever before that only by obedience to eternal principles and ordinances of the gospel of Jesus Christ may loved ones who died without baptism be permitted the glorious privilege of entrance into Thy kingdom. Increase our desire, therefore, we pray Thee, to put forth even greater effort toward the consummation of Thy purposes to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of all Thy children.
With these and many other glorious principles in mind, we have met to render unto Thee the thanks and gratitude of our hearts.
And now, Father, as Thy servant, holding the Holy Melchizedek Priesthood, I dedicate this the Oakland Temple of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and consecrate it for the sacred purposes for which it has been erected. We dedicate it unto Thee, with all pertaining thereto, as a house of prayer, a house of praise, a house of worship, a house of inspiration and communion with Thee.
We pray Thee, Heavenly Father, to accept this building in all its parts, and to guard it from foundation to the towers which stand aloft. Protect it from earthquakes, hurricanes, tempestuous storms, or other devastating holocausts. May the baptismal font, the ordinance rooms, and especially the sealing rooms be kept holy that Thy spirit may be ever present to comfort and to inspire. Protect all the mechanical parts pertaining to lighting, heating, ventilating system, elevators. Bless the persons who are charged to look after all such installations and fixtures that they may do so faithfully, skillfully, and reverently.
We dedicate the grounds upon which the temple stands, and by which it is surrounded; the walks, ornamental beds, the trees, plants, flowers, and shrubbery that grow in the soil; may they bloom and blossom and become exceedingly beautiful and fragrant, and may Thy Spirit dwell in the midst thereof, that this plot of ground may be a place of rest and peace for holy meditation and inspired thought.
Bless the president of the temple, and his wife, as matron. Let humility temper their feelings, wisdom and kind consideration guide their actions. May they, and others who will be appointed as assistants, sealers, and custodians, maintain an atmosphere of cleanliness and holiness in every room. Let no unclean person or thing ever enter herein, for "my spirit," saith the Lord, "will not dwell in unclean tabernacles"; neither will it remain in a house where selfish, arrogant, or unwholesome thoughts abide. Therefore, may all who seek this holy temple come with clean hands and pure hearts, that Thy Holy Spirit may ever be present to comfort, to inspire, and to bless. May all who come within these sacred walls feel a peaceful, hallowed influence. Cause, O Lord, that even people who pass the grounds, or view the temple from afar, may lift their eyes from groveling things of sordid life and look up to Thee and Thy providence.
Now, O God, our Heavenly Eternal Father, the faithful membership of Thy Church through love for Thee and Thy children, have erected to Thee by tithes and offerings this holy house in which shall be performed ordinances and ceremonies essential to the happiness, salvation, and exaltation of Thy children living in mortality and in the spirit world. Accept of our offering, hallow it by Thy Holy Spirit, and protect and guard it by Thy power.
With this prayer we dedicate our lives to the establishment of the kingdom of God on earth for the peace of the world and to Thy glory forever, in the name of Thy Beloved Son, Jesus Christ, Amen.
Oakland’s Temple Hill — A beacon for members
By Greg Hill
Church News staff writer
OAKLAND, Calif. — Arriving a few minutes before the start of the Oakland 1st Ward sacrament meeting, I slipped into a pew toward the back of the chapel, sitting next to a kind-looking elderly gentleman.
"Good morning. I'm Brother Hoopes," the brother said brightly. I introduced myself and told him I was on vacation in the San Francisco area.
Just before the meeting started, Brother Hoopes asked, "How do you like our chapel?"
Looking around, I assessed its beauty and cleanliness as quite typical of LDS chapels. I told him, "I'm really impressed with the entire Temple Hill complex."
Knowing that ground had been broken for the first Church building on this Oakland hillside 50 years earlier, I asked him if he was around then.
"I was bishop of the ward then," he replied.
That was the first of the many facts Brother Lorenzo N. Hoopes — Ren to his friends — revealed about himself between meetings and after the three-hour block, never of his own volition, but in response to my queries.
Later, I asked him if he had any other connections to the Temple Hill complex and he said, "I was president of the temple."
"You were probably a mission president, too," I said. He answered, "Yes, in England." Not totally surprised, I asked which mission. "Bristol," he said, "1979-1982."
When asked, he announced he is 93 years old. He said he grew up in Box Elder County, Utah, and ended up in Oakland via Idaho and Los Angeles as an employee of the Safeway grocery company. He married Stella Sorensen in the Los Angeles California Temple in 1938. She died in 1996.
During his more than 60 years in Oakland, Brother Hoopes was a bishop twice and president of the Oakland California Stake.
After the meeting block, he cheerfully guided me on a tour of what was built as a tri-stake center for the Oakland, Berkeley and San Francisco stakes in the 1950s. He noted that 29 stakes now cover the same area.
Though it was locked, he offered a peek through a window into the inter-stake center's 1,800-seat auditorium, home of the Church's only major indoor pageant. He said it is also the setting for Church meetings, concerts, firesides and other events. It is also valuable as a venue for appropriate community programs. Brother Hoopes said that while Steve Young was playing for the San Francisco 49ers, he sometimes brought teammates to firesides there.
South of the auditorium is a massive cultural hall — large enough for at least two full-size basketball courts. It can be opened to the stage of the auditorium. Brother Hoopes said that when the National Basketball Association's Philadelphia Warriors moved to San Francisco in 1962, they practiced in the Church's cultural hall for a time.
Again to the south are two-level meetinghouse facilities large enough for three units to concurrently hold their Sunday meetings.
Also on the grounds are a visitors center, family history center and employment center, and across the street is a mission home and distribution center.
Outside, Brother Hoopes gazed reverently at the crowning edifice of Temple Hill — the Oakland California Temple. It was dedicated in November 1964 by President David O. McKay, and Brother Hoopes was its president from 1985-1990.
The temple is clearly visible in the hills above Oakland from much of the East Bay and can even be picked out from the San Francisco side of the bay on a clear day by those who know where to look.
Brother Hoopes said the temple is a beacon for members in the area. He added that it was also once a beacon in a more literal way. During an energy crisis when people cut back on their use of electricity, the Church dutifully turned off the temple's exterior lights. He said a frantic call came in from air traffic control asking the Church to turn the lights back on because the temple was a marker to guide pilots to the airport.
During our conversation, Brother Hoopes mentioned he served two years in the 1950s as executive assistant to Dwight D. Eisenhower's Secretary of Agriculture, Elder Ezra Taft Benson of the Quorum of the Twelve.
Still on the temple grounds, we could see downtown Oakland below and San Francisco across the bay. Brother Hoopes reminisced about the time Temple Hill was called Cow Hill, where children would slide down the grassy slopes on pieces of cardboard.
He asked me where I received my college degree. From Weber State University in Ogden, Utah, I answered. He was pleased I attended the same college he did and said he was now a member of the school's national advisory council. Asked why he didn't just retire, he said he couldn't imagine getting up in the morning without something to do. Then he excused himself to go conduct a meeting in his calling as director of the Temple Hill Public Affairs Council.
Ensign on a hill, resource to the community
Oakland temple visitors center renovated with new displays
OAKLAND, Calif. — The Oakland California Temple visitors center, featuring all new exhibits, reopened over the Independence Day weekend. It had been closed for remodeling since February.
The fixtures and finishes of the center have been replaced with new materials in colors that complement the temple and its surrounding grounds, according to Mark Lusvardi, manager of Church exhibits.
The center emphasizes the birth, ministry and atonement of Jesus Christ, and the restoration of His gospel, said Elder Sylvan F. Seely, the center director. He added that the theme "Restoration" is carried throughout the visitors center. With its new exhibits, it is open to anyone who would like to learn more about Jesus Christ and the restoration of His Church, Elder Seely said, noting that it gives people a chance to leave the city and enjoy a place of peace and tranquility.
An open house for area priesthood leaders and their families was held on June 30. The official opening was July 4.
The visitors center "Christus" statue has a dramatic new background mural depicting the universe.
One of the new exhibits is "God's Plan for His Family," and can be seen only in the visitors centers in Oakland and Mesa, Ariz. Missionaries escort visitors through the exhibit's six different scene areas that teach the principles of the restoration of the gospel through prophets in the context of a family setting.
Among the other exhibits is the Book of Mormon scripture table which includes copies of the Book of Mormon in many languages There are two interactive kiosks that present the teachings and doctrine of the Book of Mormon.
"Teachings of Modern Prophets" is an exhibit which includes the testimonies of the First Presidency and members of the Quorum of the Twelve in 16 languages.
"The Savior of the World" exhibit features an interactive topographical model of ancient Jerusalem as well as art depicting the life of the Savior.
"The Proclamation on the Family" exhibit teaches about the importance of families, while the Temples and Eternal Family exhibit contains images of the Oakland Temple along with explanations of the blessings available in holy temples.
Family Search gives visitors an opportunity to research their own family history by accessing the Church's family history Internet site www.FamilySearch.org
Two films are shown in the center. One is on the life of Joseph Smith, helping viewers gain an understanding of his role in the restoration of the gospel. "Testaments of One Fold and One Shepherd" is also shown, and the two films will be made available in Spanish and other languages, according to Brother Lusvardi.
He said the center's new design encourages visitors to explore the exhibits at their own pace according to their individual interests. Missionaries make presentations to introduce the various exhibits and help visitors understand the doctrines as well as feel the spirit of their testimonies.
Brother Lusvardi noted that the visitors center is a tremendous resource to the community, associated with the temple, which is an ensign on the hill visible from many places around the San Francisco Bay area. Members are encouraged to visit the center with family, friends and neighbors, he said.