Detroit Michigan Temple

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Announced: Aug. 10, 1998.

Location: 37425 N. Woodward Ave., in Bloomfield Hills, MI 48304; phone (248) 593-0690; no clothing rental.

Site: 3.1 acres.

Exterior finish: Imperial Danby Vermont marble.

Temple design: Traditional.

Architect: Joan Coakley of Bernath-Bernath-Coakley Associates.

Project manager: Bruce Catanzaro.

Contractor: Walbridge-Aldinger.

Rooms: Celestial room, baptistry, two ordinance rooms, two sealing rooms.

Total floor area: 10,700 square feet.

Dimensions: 149 feet by 77 feet.

District: Seven stakes, two districts in Michigan.

Groundbreaking, site dedication: Oct. 10, 1998, by Elder Jay E. Jensen of the First Quorum of the Seventy and president of the North America Northeast Area.

Dedication: Oct. 23, 1999, by President Gordon B. Hinckley; 6 sessions.

Dedicatory Prayer

Done by President Gordon B. Hinckley

O God our Eternal Father, Thou great Elohim, with bowed heads and thankful hearts we come unto Thee on this day of dedication.

We rejoice in the completion of this Thy sacred temple. It is beautiful and well-designed to accommodate the ordinances of Thy house. Thou hast invited us to come here as Thy guests to assist in Thy great work of bringing to pass the immortality and eternal lives of Thy children.

Almighty Father, in the name of Thy Beloved Son the great Jehovah of the Old Testament, the Messiah of the New and acting in the authority of that priesthood which comes from Thee, we dedicate unto Thee and unto Him this the Detroit Michigan Temple of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

We dedicate the attractive plantings, the lawns, shrubs, trees, and flowers that surround this sacred house. They represent the beauties of Thy creations. We dedicate the structure from the footings to the Angel Moroni which crowns its steeple. We dedicate the exterior walls dressed in shining marble. We dedicate all within the temple, the baptistry, the facilities for the initiatory ordinances, the endowment rooms, the celestial room, the sealing rooms with their sacred altars, the offices and all other facilities found herein. All of these we bring to Thee as the offering of our hands and our hearts.

Wilt Thou be pleased to accept this sacred structure. Wilt Thou sanctify it and hallow it, and endow it with Thy Holy Spirit. Bless all who enter these portals that they may be touched by the power of Thy Spirit. May their thoughts turn to Thee and to Thy Beloved Son, dwelling upon the things of eternity. May they serve herein with an eye single to Thy glory.

We pray that Thou wilt preserve this dedicated structure from the destructive forces of the elements. May no unhallowed hand deface it or mar it in any way.

May the work that will go forward in this sacred edifice please Thee and bring untold blessings to Thy sons and daughters on both sides of the veil. May the sacred covenants entered into in Thy house become an eternal binding element between Thee and Thy children.

May this structure shine as a bright and welcome light, a refuge from the storms and stresses of the world. May it be a house of peace and love and faith, where Thy children may find respite from the toil of their daily lives.

Holy Father, bless Thine endowed servants who go forth from this house to carry the glad tidings of the gospel to the world. Empower them "to seal up the law, and bind up the testimony," that those who accept the truth "may be prepared against the day of burning" (D&C 109:46).

Pour out Thy blessings upon Thy faithful people wherever they may be. Open the windows of heaven and let blessings shower down upon them. Hear and answer their supplications. When they are called upon to walk in the dark shadows of life, bring them light and understanding, reassurance and peace. Bless the faithful and their generations who come after them.

"Have mercy, O Lord, upon all the nations of the earth; have mercy upon the rulers of our land; may those principles, which were so honorably and nobly defended, namely, the Constitution of our land,…be established forever" (D&C 109:54).

We pray for all who shall labor in this temple, the presidency, the matron and her assistants, and all who consecrate their time and energies in the great work which will be carried forward here. May their burdens be light. May their joy be deep and profound.

Bless Thy work in all the earth, wherever it may be established. Prosper Thy people who love Thee and who love Thy Beloved Son. Strengthen Thy work. Add to the faith of all who accept the gospel, that they may remain true and loyal to Thy cause.

Bless all who serve in callings of responsibility in Thy great Church and kingdom. Give them strength and energy, inspiration and revelation in moving forward Thy work.

Our Eternal Father, smile upon us with that divine love which caused Thy Son to come to earth and suffer in an act of redemption for all mankind. His was a greater gift than any of us can fully understand. His was an Atonement infinite and universal.

We feel so deeply grateful for this day. Accept of our thanks. Forgive our sins and give us the strength to walk acceptably before Thee. As we dedicate this Holy House, may we rededicate our lives more fully to Thy sacred work and to the blessing of Thy children, we humbly pray in the name of our divine Redeemer, the Lord Jesus Christ, amen.

'A temple in their midst'

By Greg Hill

Church News staff writer

A temple located in their midst is a blessing for members of the Church in eastern Michigan, and its site is particularly significant to them, having figured into the travels of Joseph Smith and his family.

Detroit Michigan Temple
Detroit Michigan Temple | Intellectual Reserve Inc.

The Detroit Michigan Temple was dedicated by President Gordon B. Hinckley on Saturday and Sunday, Oct. 23-24. There were four sessions the first day and two more the second before President Hinckley and his associates departed for Illinois to break ground for the rebuilding of the temple in Nauvoo.

The newly dedicated temple, located in Bloomfield Hills, a suburb about 15 miles north of Detroit, is the Church's 63rd.

Accompanying President Hinckley and his wife, Marjorie, were Elder Henry B. Eyring of the Quorum of the Twelve and his wife, Kathleen, and Elder Jay E. Jensen of the Seventy and president of the North America Northeast Area and his wife, Lona Lee.

President Hinckley, in a Church News interview between dedicatory sessions, spoke of the people the temple will serve: "They appreciate it very much. They have indicated that they're so deeply grateful for this sacred structure and we, too, are happy that it has been erected here and dedicated and that the work of the Lord now goes forward here in this part of the earth."

Nestled at the bottom of one of the gently rolling hills in the area, it has the feel of peaceful seclusion even though it is in the middle of a highly populated area. Residences and businesses in the area are obscured by stands of trees still thick with colorful autumn leaves.

The roadway running in front of the temple is one of the Detroit area's major thoroughfares. It gives the temple good exposure to travelers, but is unobtrusive because it is a well-landscaped parkway and the temple is set back behind a large, grass-covered buffer.

When the day of dedication arrived, so did a cold front that brought a frigid wind and occasional showers of freezing rain.

"For the members, it's a warm day," bundled-up Bloomfield Hills Michigan Stake President Thomas C. Bithell was quick to say during a Church News interview in the temple parking lot between dedicatory sessions. Then, pointing to the temple, he said, "There's lots of sunshine inside."

Common themes among the members attending the dedication were the historic location of the temple, the selection of the site adjacent to the Bloomfield Hills Michigan Stake Center and a feeling of gratitude for a temple nearby.

President Hinckley noted that Stephen Mack, a brother of Joseph Smith's mother, Lucy, figured prominently in the early history of the Detroit area. "He surveyed the first road through what became Detroit," President Hinckley said.

Many members pointed out the road in front of the temple as the one Stephen Mack built. The Prophet Joseph Smith, his brother Hyrum and his father, Joseph Smith Sr., visited the Detroit area in 1834, and because of the location and nature of the road and its relationship to the Prophet's uncle, "it would seem likely to me that they went by the temple site," Pres. Bithell said.

The prominent thoroughfare is now an asset for the Church, according to W.E. Barry Mayo, an Area Authority Seventy in the North America Northeast Area. "The temple has attracted enormous attention of people who drive up and down this Woodward Avenue which is, as you can see, an eight-lane main business street. We've had all kinds of people just stop in and ask questions," Elder Mayo said.

The temple site in Bloomfield Hills was one of the last considered during the search for a place to build the temple. Pres. Bithell, who was in charge of finding a site, said he considered property behind the stake center, but it wasn't selected because the temple would be hidden behind the meetinghouse. He said the property to the north of the stake center wasn't seriously considered because it was assumed the lot was too small. But after considering several properties near other meetinghouses, Pres. Bithell again looked at the tree-covered lot outside his office window and wondered about the northward property. It was measured "and it was just perfect," he said.

He said the lot was part of the original eight acres purchased for Michigan's first stake center in 1952. Although selling the piece was often under consideration, it never happened.

So now there is a temple on a lot where many members remember holding various outdoor activities in conjunction with their time living in the stake. Bonnie Shurtz, whose husband, Dave, is president of the Detroit River Branch, reminisced about her time as Primary president in the Bloomfield Hills Ward. "We used to have Primary activities right where the temple is, under the trees, and we never realized there was enough land there to build a temple."

The location is a great blessing to many members, but none more so than those who have lived in eastern Michigan since the area was in the Salt Lake Temple District. One of those is Harold Rice of the North Shores Ward, Bloomfield Hills Stake, who will be an ordinance worker in the new temple. He listed the temple districts he has been in since Salt Lake and the travel time required to drive to each: Washington, 11 hours; Chicago, 5 hours; Toronto, 4 hours; Detroit, 45 minutes. "And I've lived in the same spot for 50 years," he said. "We're thoroughly enjoying having this temple."

Cyrus J. Webber Jr., the temple president, said he and his wife, Glenna, are grateful for a temple nearby, but also expressed appreciation for the opportunity they had to serve as, respectively, a counselor in the presidency and assistant matron in the Toronto Ontario Temple.

Elder Mayo said, "Now we will spend more time in the temple and less time on the road getting back and forth."

For younger members of the Church, having a nearby temple is also appreciated. Melanie Wells, 15, of the Adrian Ward, Ann Arbor Michigan Stake, attended a Saturday afternoon dedicatory session. She said: "I've gone to do baptisms for the dead in the Chicago temple a couple of times and I really liked it. Now I'll be able to come here and do baptisms for the dead without traveling so far."

And Gregoire W.E. Louis of the Grand River Branch, Detroit Michigan District, attended a dedicatory session Saturday while anticipating receiving his own endowment there on the new temple's first day of operation. "That makes me feel great," he said. Within a few days after going through the temple he will leave to serve a full-time mission in the California Arcadia Mission.

Craig Sensabaugh of the Owosso Ward, Lansing Michigan Stake, will soon be 12 years old and looks forward to doing baptisms for the dead in the new temple. A convert of just two years, he said attending the dedication and seeing President Hinckley was "the second best experience of my entire life. So far, the top one would have to be my baptism."

Daniel F. Dunnigan, president of the Westland Michigan Stake, expressed the feelings that impressed him as the dedication approached. He said he thought of the phrase in the hymn "The Spirit of God" that says, "Let glory to them in the highest be given. . . ." Then he said, "If we use this [temple] the way it's supposed to be used, we will all be organized into eternal families. What better reason to give glory to God and Jesus Christ than because they have set up the plan to do that for us."

Detroit open house visitors feel 'serenity of the temple'

By Patricia Michalek

Church News correspondent

BLOOMFIELD HILLS, Mich. — The Detroit Michigan Temple, the 63rd temple of the Church, opened its doors to the public Oct. 6, and during its 10-day open house, a total of 30,000 visitors toured the sacred edifice, set against the backdrop of vibrant fall colors, in Bloomfield Hills.

For two days prior to the public open house, special tours were conducted by Elder Jay E. Jensen, a member of the Seventy and president of the North America Northeast Area, and his first counselor, Elder Gary J. Coleman, also of the Seventy, for state and local media, and religious, government and education leaders.

A total of 749 people attended during this phase of the open house. Many were inspired by a new temple introductory video recently released by the Church for open houses. The video emphasizes the eternal family and the plan of salvation. At the conclusion of their video preview and tour, two local government officials referred to the Angel Moroni figure and said, "We are glad to have an angel watching over our city." Providing a rare opportunity to view the interior of one of the Church's temples, the open house attracted many visitors of other faiths and many walks of life from Michigan and other states, as well as Canada.

Kathie Smith, who is not affiliated with any faith, traveled more than an hour from Flint, Mich., to attend with her member brother. She said a strong feeling came over her as she stood at the baptismal font. "I don't know how to describe what I felt, but I felt something strongly and it was a good feeling."

Daniel Gatica, an executive with the Detroit Area Council of the Boy Scouts of America, attended the temple open house with his young daughter. He said he wanted to attend the open house because he worked with numerous LDS Scouters.

"The beauty of the temple is one thing, but the importance of the family and eternal marriage struck me as most significant," he said. "I could feel the serenity in the temple."

Bonnie Nielson, multi-stake public affairs director, told of two ladies, both members of other faiths, who sought out a temple volunteer to obtain information on the stake Family History Center. They commented on the friendliness of Latter-day Saints, saying, "The next time your young men knock on our door, we want them to be treated as nicely as we have been treated — we will invite them in."

Visitors were curious to learn that the 50 tons of glistening white marble used in the facade of the temple came from a quarry in Vermont, near the Prophet Joseph Smith's home in Sharon, Vt. Visitors consistently noted the interior appointments — the off-white sculpted carpet, crystal chandeliers, the mirrors, and the inspiring artwork depicting the Savior.

Hundreds of visitors stopped at the information booth, staffed by sister missionaries, to inquire about the use of the Family History Center in meetinghouses and asked specific questions about the beliefs of the Church.

"We've had a committee planning this open house for a year and the result has been a very smooth flow of visitors through the temple," Sister Nielson said. "We wanted people to know that the temple is a sacred place for us and we think most visitors felt the peace of the temple."

The temple open house was covered by television, radio, and daily and weekly newspapers throughout the state. One front page headline read, "Close to God, Closer to Home."

The Detroit temple is the first temple in the state and will serve more than 30,000 Church members. The temple district includes most of Michigan's lower peninsula. Six dedication sessions are scheduled for Oct. 23-24.

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