Announced: Sept. 17 1998.
Location: 4199 Kirby-Whitten Parkway, Bartlett, TN 38135; phone: (901) 379-02022; no clothing, rental.
Site: 6.35 acres, including adjoining meetinghouse.
Exterior finish: Imperial Danby White marble.
Temple design: Classic modern.
Architect: Dusty Driver of Bounds & Gillespie Architects and Church A&E Services.
Project manager: Leon Rowley.
Contractor: Layton Construction Co., Construction Management Company; Renternbach Construction, general contractor.
Rooms: Celestial room, baptistry, two ordinance rooms, two sealing rooms.
Total floor area: 10,700 square feet.
Dimensions: 149 feet by 77 feet.
District: Five stakes in Memphis, Tenn., and Little Rock, Ark., and Tupelo, Miss.
Groundbreaking, site dedication: Jan. 16, 1999, by Elder Gordon T. Watts of the Seventy and first counselor in the North America Southeast Area presidency.
Dedication: April 23, 2000, by President James E. Faust, second counselor in First Presidency; 4 sessions.
Done by President James E. Faust
Our Eternal Father in Heaven, hallowed be Thy name, Thou great Elohim. We come unto Thee in solemn prayer on this historic day of dedication. Our hearts are filled with gratitude for this beautiful temple which has been erected as Thine abode, the house of the Lord.
As was done in Kirtland, we today pray "that thy glory may rest down upon thy people, and upon this thy house, which we now dedicate to Thee, that it may be sanctified and consecrated to be holy, and that thy holy presence may be continually in this house;
"And that all people who shall enter upon the threshold of the Lord's house may feel thy power, and feel constrained to acknowledge that thou hast sanctified it, and that it is thy house, a place of thy holiness" (D&C 109: 12-13).
Acting in the authority of the holy priesthood which Thou hast vested in us, and in the name of Jesus Christ, our Redeemer, we dedicate and consecrate unto Thee and Thy Beloved Son this, the Nashville Tennessee Temple of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
We thank Thee for the purpose for which it has been built. Here in the authority of the fullness of Thy priesthood will be provided those ordinances which Thou hast designed for the salvation and exaltation of Thy children, both those now living, and those who have passed beyond the veil of death.
We dedicate the entire structure, including the grounds on which it stands with their beautiful vegetation. We dedicate the building from the footings to the figure of Moroni atop the steeple. We dedicate the beautiful baptistry, the facilities for the administration of ordinances, including the endowment rooms, the magnificent celestial room, and the sealing rooms with their sacred altars. We dedicate every other facility found in this Thy sacred house.
It is our gift of love. Please accept of it, dear Father, as an expression of the faith we have in Thine eternal purposes. This sacred structure stands as a monument before the world of our belief in the immortality of the human soul and that a great work is going forward on the other side of the veil to bring blessings to those who will accept the ordinances which will be performed in their behalf in this Thy house.
We thank Thee for the Prophet Joseph Smith, unto whom Thou didst reveal these ordinances which are everlasting in their efficacy. We thank Thee that Thou didst bestow upon him the keys of the everlasting priesthood in which authority these ordinances will be administered.
Bless Thy Church in all the world. Bless the messengers of eternal truth who go out to declare Thy gospel. Protect and watch over them, and lead them to those who will accept the truth. Bless all who enter the waters of baptism, that they may do so with resolution in their hearts to remain ever faithful to the covenants they make with Thee. Bless all who come into the Church that they may look forward with eagerness to the day when they may enter this Thy holy house and receive the higher ordinances of the gospel. May Zion grow and flourish in this part of Thy vineyard.
We pray for the temple workers, for the presidency of the temple, for the matron and her assistants, and for all who serve in any way. Bless them with joy and gladness in that which they do whether they be workers or patrons. Bless Thy faithful Saints everywhere. Prosper them, increase their faith, strengthen their families, pour down upon them the comforting, enlightening blessings of the Holy Ghost.
We pray for all who stand at the head of Thy work throughout the earth. Grant unto them strength and vitality, and above all, words of revelation concerning the on rolling of Thy great kingdom.
Now, Father, we bow before Thee in humility. Accept of our love. Let Thy blessings distill upon us as the dews from heaven. May we walk with faith, never faltering in the testimonies which we carry in our hearts concerning Thee, and Thy precious Son, our Redeemer. For all of this we humbly pray in His sacred name, even the name of Jesus Christ, amen.
Memphis temple wins ‘America in Bloom’ award
MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Officials from the City of Bartlett, Tenn., surprised Memphis Tennessee Temple President Boyd Lee when they announced that the temple, located in the heart of the Mid-South just northeast of Memphis, had won the "America in Bloom" award. The reason for the surprise: the temple was never entered in the contest.
Committee members entered select structures that they felt should have been in the contest. That is how the Memphis temple came to be in the running. Pat Casey, committee member, logged hundreds of miles driving through the city taking pictures of the churches in the area that she felt should be entered. When the national America in Bloom representatives were in town, she took them to the temple grounds.
"You just have to see this building in person, it is beautiful," she had told them.
Memphis temple one of two to be built in Volunteer State
By Amy Topp
Church News contributor
BARTLETT, Tenn. — It was an extraordinarily warm and sunny morning on Jan. 16 when more than 2,300 people gathered here to witness the historic groundbreaking for the Memphis Tennessee Temple.
"This is the beginning of a new temple and a time for reflection," said Elder Gordon T. Watts, first counselor in the North America Southeast Area presidency, who presided at the ceremony. "If necessary, it should also be a beginning of our personal preparation to be worthy in every way to enter and perform labors for the living and the dead."
The groundbreaking ceremony was held on a small rise adjacent to the Memphis Tennessee North Stake Center in Bartlett, a city located on the outskirts of Memphis. The temple will serve some 9,000 families — about 20,000 members — in seven stakes in Arkansas, Mississippi, Missouri and Tennessee who live in the temple district.
The temple was announced by the First Presidency Sept. 17, 1998, and will be one of two temples constructed in Tennessee. The other temple will be in Nashville, where ground is expected to be broken later this year.
The Memphis temple groundbreaking ceremony was conducted by Elder James E. Griffin, an Area Authority Seventy. Many community leaders attended the event, including Bartlett Mayor Kenneth Fulmar. Music for the ceremony was provided by a 125-member multi-stake choir, directed by Marilyn Huntsman.
Elder Watts told the members that with the temple come great responsibilities and many blessings. He listed six blessings:
First, he said, the temple will stand as a "landmark of strength, hope and holiness" to all who are associated with it.
Second, it will enhance the importance and sacredness of values that promote love, honor, respect and the sanctity of marriage.
Third, it will be "a reminder of the important work of salvation that will take place within its walls."
Fourth, the sacred edifice will remind members — who must be worthy to enter it — "that we must be constantly aware of our personal actions and thoughts."
Fifth, "the temple will stand as a firm foundation that will encourage and entice the rising generation of young people to pattern their lives after that of the Savior."
Sixth, Elder Watts concluded, the "presence of the temple in the community will spark the Spirit of Christ in hundreds of people."
He also noted, "Hundreds, thousands, even millions will be the benefactors of the work that will be done within these sacred walls of this soon-to-be completed temple. I can imagine that many of your ancestors who may have been waiting for years, are shouting for joy at the possibility that they may now receive the sacred, saving ordinances that you can give them."
During the program, Elder Griffin reminded members of President Gordon B. Hinckley's concern for them. "Knowing of the essential saving ordinances that are to be had only in the temples, he wanted to make them available to all Church members no matter where they lived."
Speaking of the temple in an interview after the groundbreaking, Bertha Spencer, widow of L. B. Spencer, the first president of the Tennessee West District, created in 1947, said: "I have prayed ever since I was a girl to have a temple in Memphis."
Darrell Danielson, president of the Memphis Tennessee Stake, noted: "We are excited to have a temple in our area. Early members traveled to Salt Lake City for their first temple experience. Later the trip was cut in half when the Washington D.C. Temple was built. Then came Atlanta followed by St. Louis. Travel time was reduced from days to hours. Now some members will have less than an hour to go to participate in temple work."
During the groundbreaking program, Elder Watts said that the Memphis Tennessee Temple will be about 11,000 square feet. It will include a baptistry, two endowment rooms, two sealing rooms and the celestial room.