More than 11,000 people visited the Boise Idaho Temple Saturday, Oct. 13 — the first day of the public open house for the edifice that will be rededicated Nov. 18.
Elder K. Brett Nattress, an Area Seventy and chairman of the local temple committee, called the public open house a community event and said many people from a variety of faiths have lined up to see the newly renovated temple. In fact, interest in the temple is so great, people from 38 states, two provinces, and 10 countries have signed up to come to the open house, he said.
"It has been wonderful for us to share what we hold so dear with our friends and neighbors," he said. "By and large, those not of our faith are very interested and appreciative of the invitation."
The temple, located just off Interstate 84 in Boise and originally dedicated in 1984 by President Gordon B. Hinckley, was closed 16 months ago for renovation. "The temple was remodeled and updated to meet the current needs of our Saints, including a large number of youth who faithfully attend the temple," said Elder Nattress, noting that the renovated temple includes a separate entrance for youth entering the baptistry.
The temple closed in July 2011 for an extensive renovation of the grounds and the interior. The temple's exterior has been replaced with white granite. A new gold-leafed statue of the angel Moroni sits atop the temple's tallest spire. The temple's interior now features a syringa flower and trees motif, which can be seen in the art glass and decorative painting.
The public open house was preceded by tours for contractors, neighbors, news media and government, religious and community leaders.
Elder Nattress said there was a constant line at the temple on the first day of the public open house. "You saw grandmothers and grandchildren, parents with their sons and daughters, and the community; most everyone was touched by the experience. There is a reverence and a spirit that attend the House of the Lord. ... When you come and see, you feel and then you know."
Elder Nattress said Church members traveled to the Twin Falls Idaho Temple while the Boise temple was being renovated. "We are grateful for the opportunity we have had to attend the Twin Falls temple," he said. "There is no question there is a huge sense of excitement and anticipation to have our temple open again."
Following the public open house, the temple will be dedicated on Sunday, Nov. 18, 2012, in three sessions. The dedication will be preceded, on Nov. 17, by a cultural celebration featuring music and dance by more than 8,000 youth.
The Boise Idaho Temple is the 27th operating temple of the Church's 139 temples worldwide. It is one of four temples in Idaho, with others in Twin Falls, Idaho Falls and Rexburg. A fifth temple, in Meridian, Idaho, is in the planning and approval phase.