Edmonton Alberta Temple

Dates and facts, plus the dedicatory prayer by President Hinckley

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Announced: Aug. 11, 1998.

Location: 14325 53rd Ave. NW, Edmonton, Alberta T6H 5G6; phone: (780) 434-7436; no clothing rental.

Site: 1 acre.

Exterior features: Light gray granite quarried in Quebec.

Temple design: Classic modern.

Architect: Robert Bennett of Bennett Architect, Inc. and Church A&E Services.

Project manager: Cory Karl.

Contractor: Binder Construction Limited.

Rooms: Baptistry, celestial room, two ordinance rooms, two sealing rooms.

Total floor area: 10,700 square feet.

Dimensions: 149 by 77 feet.

District: Six Edmonton area stakes.

Groundbreaking, site dedication: Feb. 27, 1999, by Elder Yoshihiko Kikuchi of the Seventy and second counselor in the North America Central Area presidency.

Dedication: Dec. 11-12, 1999, by President Gordon B. Hinckley; 7 sessions.

Dedicatory Prayer

Done by President Gordon B. Hinckley

Almighty God, God of our Fathers, we call on Thee in humble prayer. We are met in sacred assembly to dedicate this holy temple. It is our offering to Thee, dear Father.

Acting in the authority of the everlasting priesthood which has come from Thee, and in the name of Thine Only Begotten Son, we dedicate to Thee and to Him this the Edmonton Alberta Temple of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. With holiness unto Thee, it now becomes the house of the Lord.

We dedicate the surrounding grounds that beauty may emanate therefrom. We dedicate the building from its footings to the figure of Moroni. We dedicate all of the interior facilities and furnishings, including the Baptistry, the rooms accommodating the initiatory ordinances and the endowment service, the beautiful Celestial Room, the sealing rooms with their sacred altars, and all other facilities of this hallowed house. "May it stand secure when the storms of winter blow upon it. May it be safeguarded from the destructive hands of vandals and pranksters. May all who look upon it recognize it as a place of holiness deserving of reverence and respect unto Thee.

Following this dedication may only those who are worthy in Thy sight cross the portals of this Thy house. When they enter herein, may they do so knowing that they come as Thy guests, here to feel the presence of Thy Holy Spirit. Enlighten their minds with an understanding of the sacred ordinances in which they will participate.

Sanctify, O Father, these beautiful premises to the accomplishment of Thine eternal purposes concerning Thy children of all the generations of mankind.

This temple has been made possible by the tithes of Thy faithful Saints throughout the world. Wilt Thou bless them as keepers of the covenants which they make with Thee. Shower Thy gifts upon them. Prosper them in their various endeavors, and let Thy nurturing hand reach out to them to lead them in ways of peace. Bless the husbands and the wives, the parents and the children that love may abide in the homes of Thy people, and that they may look to Thee as their Father and their God.

Let Thy providence be felt in this great nation of Canada that it shall continue to be a land where Thy sons and daughters enjoy the precious boon of freedom of assembly and worship. Bless those who govern that they shall look with favor upon Thy people, and may Thy work grow in numbers, in majesty, and in strength in this good land.

May "Thy servants go forth from this house armed with Thy power, and that Thy name may be upon them, and Thy glory be round about them, and Thine angels have charge over them" (D&C 109:22).

Holy Father, we pray for Thy work wherever it may be established, that the doors of the nations may be opened and that Thy servants may be welcomed into the homes of the people.

We invoke Thy special blessings upon all who shall serve in this house, upon the temple presidency, the matron and her assistants, and all who have to do with the ordinance work, that they shall not weary or tire, but that they may be given strength for the task at hand.

Bless those who come as patrons that the solemnities of Thy work may rest upon and bring peace into their hearts.

Bless Thy work in all the earth. Let Thy Holy Spirit come upon Thy people. Prosper them in their labors. Strengthen them for the work of each day. May their rest at night be sweet and untroubled.

All that we have and are we place in Thy hands, dear Father. Accept of our labors. Accept of our love. May the covenants we have made with Thee remain ever bright in our memories, that we may walk the straight and narrow path that leads to Thy divine presence.

For all that Thou hast done for us we thank Thee, and seek Thy blessings upon us in the name of our Savior and Redeemer, Thy divine Son, even the Lord Jesus Christ, amen.

Temple dedicated in 'hub of the north'

By Sarah Jane Weaver

Church News staff writer

EDMONTON, Alberta — The Edmonton Alberta Temple, dedicated by President Gordon B. Hinckley Dec. 11-12, has unified Church members living in and around this "hub of the north."

Edmonton Alberta Temple
Edmonton Alberta Temple | Intellectual Reserve Inc.

"We have become something we never thought we would become — a temple city," said temple Pres. Donald D. Salmon.

And as such, Edmonton is now a place where couples who traditionally would retire to southern Alberta are staying, where members living on the northern outskirts of the province are now renewing and forging friendships, and where Latter-day Saints are now reaching across branch, ward and stake boundaries as part of a larger temple district.

"The temple gives us the association with all members," explained Pres. Salmon. "We are coming together to work and serve."

The Church's 67th temple stands as a dominant part of Alberta's capital city. Located on 53rd Avenue, the temple can be seen from the Whitemud freeway. Impressions of Alberta's wild rose and wheat shaft, commonly farmed in the province's rich soil, grace the front of the edifice, constructed of granite quarried in Quebec.

The temple district serves some 14,800 members in five stakes, stretching hundreds of miles across the northern end of Alberta.

An estimated 6,879 Church members attended one of seven dedicatory sessions for the new temple, the fifth operating in Canada. President Hinckley, accompanied by his wife, Marjorie, presided over the dedication. Also in attendance were Elder Neal A. Maxwell of the Quorum of the Twelve and his wife, Colleen; Elder Hugh W. Pinnock of the Seventy and president of the North America Central Area, and his wife, Anne; and Elder Blair S. Bennett, Area Authority Seventy, and his wife, Jane.

Vinyl tents and enclosed walkways to the new temple protected members from outside temperatures, which traditionally drop each December to minus 30 or 40 degrees Celsius. However, milder temperatures, hovering around zero degree Celsius, prompted numerous local Latter-day Saints to declare that this winter they were experiencing "temple weather."

A tent also enclosed a small area for the cornerstone ceremony, attended by members of a choir directed by Viola Wallbank of the Edmonton Alberta Riverbend Stake and six children, dressed in their Sunday best. Others viewed the ceremony via video transmitted live into the temple and adjoining stake center.

President Hinckley placed mortar on the top edge of the cornerstone before inviting others in his traveling party, members of the temple presidency and the children to participate.

The Church has a rich history in Edmonton — a city known for the world's biggest mall and Wayne Gretzki, the world's greatest hockey player.

Although LDS university students and government leaders lived in Edmonton as early as 1920, the first recorded Church meeting was not held in this city until 1933. Then in 1935, N. Eldon Tanner (later a counselor in the First Presidency) moved to northern Alberta, where he served during the next 16 years in Church leadership positions. In 1951 the first Church building in the city was dedicated on Whyte Avenue and the first stake was organized Nov. 15, 1960.

LeRoy Rollins, called as president of that stake, could not be happier to see the dreams of Edmonton's pioneer generation fulfilled with the dedication of the temple.

"I imagined it. I worked toward it. I knew we would have a temple in Edmonton, it had to be," said Brother Rollins, now director of the family history center in the Alberta Bonnie Doon Stake. "It marks a status we have not had before. It will cause even greater growth in this city."

Pres. Salmon, who moved to Edmonton in 1951, also expects the temple to escalate Church growth in Edmonton. It will unite the current Church members in northern Alberta, as well, he said.

"Over the years we have seen the Church grow and divide [as new wards and stakes are created]. This is a time for coming back together. The temple will eliminate phrases such as 'I live in this stake or that stake.' We will be in the temple with people from all stakes."

Like many others, Pres. Salmon and his wife, Joyce, had after retirement planned to leave the harsh Edmonton winters and move to southern Alberta, nearer the Cardston Alberta Temple. Then came the Aug. 11, 1998, announcement of the Edmonton temple that changed their lives. "We are staying and many others are staying, too," he said.

Some are even returning.

After the temple announcement, Calvin G. and Verona Harker Merkley sold their home in Lethbridge, Alberta, — where they had planned to spend their retirement years closer to a temple — and returned to their home ward in Edmonton.

"We are coming home to family and the temple; we can't beat that," said Sister Merkley.

Now members of the River Valley Ward, Edmonton Alberta Riverbend Stake, the Merkleys contemplate the miracle of the temple. "The influence of the temple will be felt," Brother Merkley said.

Gordon L. Strate, and his wife, Myrna, have already witnessed the influence of the temple, even though they live eight hours from Edmonton in Fort St. John. While attending the temple dedication, the couple renewed old friendships and forged new ones. "It is the best place in the world we can go for peace, tranquility and happiness," explained Brother Strate, the son of early Church pioneers in Edmonton.

Elder Bennett explained that Church members, divided by hundreds of miles, now feel united by the temple.

The Edmonton Bonnie Doon Stake is comprised of 15 units, with the furthest unit located 300 miles north, he said. In the Grande Prairie Alberta Stake there are members who will drive between five to eight hours to get to their stake center. Church members in Yellow Knife, he added, live near the Arctic Circle, an estimated 15 hours north of Edmonton.

"To have a temple located here is going to bless lives in ways we really don't even understand yet," he said. "This has literally been a fulfillment of the hopes and dreams and aspirations of a generation that has lived and served in Edmonton."

Ground is broken for temple in Canada, 'a monument of faith'

By R. Scott Lloyd

Church News staff writer

EDMONTON, ALBERTA — In a crowded stake center and in proceedings carried by audio feed to 19 other locations in northern Alberta and part of British Columbia, Elder Yoshihiko Kikuchi of the Seventy presided over the Feb. 27 groundbreaking for the Edmonton Alberta Temple.

"This is a monument of your faith, and Heavenly Father truly has answered your prayers," declared Elder Kikuchi, second counselor in the North America Central Area presidency, regarding the temple, which is being constructed to the west of the Edmonton Alberta Riverbend Stake Center.

The 10,500-square-foot temple, with its gold-leafed Angel Moroni statue rising 80 feet above ground level, will have prominent visibility to motorists on the adjacent Whitemud Freeway.

An estimated 3,500 people witnessed the service. They included those who filled the stake center chapel and cultural hall and others linked by audio feed in the Edmonton Millwoods, Edmonton Bonnie Doon and Grande Prairie stake centers. The feed was also carried to meetinghouses in Cherry Grove, Fort McMurray, St. Paul, Athabasca, Lloydminster, Vermillion, Wainwright, Drayton Valley, Devon, Fort St. John, Dawson Creek, Fairview, Hinton, Edson, White Court and Slave Lake.

A video tape of the service was shown later in the day to members of the Red Deer Alberta Stake.

Those locations are all in the five-stake temple district.

With such a large and far-flung congregation, only a representative 300 people could be invited to come out to the site where the ground was broken. The congregation seated in the stake center saw the groundbreaking by video feed, while an announcer narrated it for those in other meetinghouses who were listening via audio feed.

Elder Kikuchi and Elder Blair S. Bennett, Area Authority Seventy, turned the first shovelsful of soil. They were followed by a group composed of the five stake presidents in the temple district and the president of the Calgary Alberta East stake who represented the five stakes in the Calgary area.

The third group to wield the gold-colored shovels consisted of city, provincial and federal dignitaries including Edmonton Mayor Bill Smith; Ian McClelland, Rahim Jaffer and Jack Ramsay, members of Parliament; and Albert Klapstein of the Provincial Legislature. They were followed by groups consisting of long-time residents and recent converts in the area; young-married couples and Primary children; and youth.

In remarks given in the chapel, Elder Kikuchi said: "The temple is a place to know our Heavenly Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. . . . I testify to you as we walk with clean hands, clean minds and clean hearts, you and I will feel the most celestial, profound feelings there, a feeling of His love and a celestial glow, a celestial tranquility which you can never acquire anywhere else in the world."

He added that the temple is the place where Heavenly Father's children can, will, and must receive the essential and sacred ordinances to return to His presence.

"The temple is a place to learn the great plan of our Heavenly Father," he said. "This is a place for our thanksgiving, for instruction, for understanding the mystery of God and also our ministry in the Kingdom of God, God's theory, God's principle, God's doctrine."

Those who go to the temple will be armed with God's holy power, Elder Kikuchi declared, citing a prophecy and prayer of Joseph Smith in the Kirtland Temple.

In his talk, Elder Bennett separately addressed three groups whom he called the "pioneers," the "builders" and "our future."

To the first group, "those faithful brothers and sisters who were present when our members here were less than 100," he said: "It is because of your commitment and your unwavering devotion to magnifying your callings that our numbers have swelled . . . . We truly stand on your shoulders today."

To the "builders" or stake missionaries, he said: "The construction of a temple in Edmonton will provide you with significant opportunities to open your mouths. May the Lord bless you as you magnify your callings. And now, go forth and do so."

And to "the future," the children or "youth of the noble birthright," he said: "The Edmonton temple will serve as a beacon, a guiding light in your lives. Plan your futures around this holy edifice. It is our desire that you establish ownership of the temple in your lives."

LeRoy Rollins, who was the first stake president in Edmonton, gave a historic overview of local Church history. He spoke of the Gordon family of six, the first Church members to live in the area as they undertook a government contract in 1914 but who stayed only two years and then moved south.

He said that in the 1920s, university students and government employees who were Church members came, though no records were kept of their meetings, so the first recorded meeting was Feb. 26, 1933, at the Alph and Mabel Strate home. This small group soon became a branch of the Lethbridge Stake.

"About 1935, N. Eldon Tanner and Solon E. Low came with their families, effectively doubling the membership of the Latter-day Saints in Edmonton," Brother Rollins said. "N. Eldon Tanner [later a counselor in the First Presidency] became a highly loved and respected leader of the Saints here, standing in that position of leadership for the next 16 years. . . .

"I had the privilege as a young school teacher of attending the branch in those years. In my first trip to Edmonton I was impressed with how I was welcomed by Pres. Tanner, how he reflected a spirit of love, how he gave me a sense of being needed and how he recognized my personal worth."

Brother Rollins recalled that members by 1943 grew tired of cleaning up beer bottles and other debris in rented halls so that services could be held. Through their sacrifice, a building was finally dedicated on White Avenue in 1951 by President Stephen L Richards of the First Presidency that is still in use today.

The branch was divided, and by May 19, 1953, the Western Canadian Mission was formed. The Edmonton Stake was organized on Nov. 15, 1960.

"Over the 12 years that I had the privilege of being stake president, the membership doubled to 16 wards and branches," Brother Rollins noted. "It's interesting that the Church grew from 2 million in 1960 to 10 million now, five times [the size in 1960]. This area [Edmonton] grew from roughly 2,000 of then to the 15,000 of now, which is 7 1/2 times. For this we should be grateful."

A combined choir from the Red Deer, Bonnie Doon, Millwoods and Riverbend stakes provided music under the direction of Maureen Williams and accompanied by Tammy Garside.

Even before the groundbreaking, site work had commenced; the level was already several feet below the usual grade, and pilings were already installed. Binder Construction in Alberta is the contractor.

The temple will be the second in Alberta and will eliminate the need for Church members to drive many miles south to Cardston for temple sessions.

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