FORT COLLINS, COLO.
More than 105,000 guests toured the new Fort Collins Colorado Temple during a three-week public open house held from Aug. 19 through Sept. 10. Many local government, business, academic, religious and judicial leaders from Colorado and Wyoming visited the Church’s 153rd temple during the open house.
“We had a variety of state and local officials, as well as a number of leaders of other churches in the area who visited the temple,” said George F. Rhodes, chairman of the local coordinating committee for the Fort Collins Colorado Temple.
The temple, announced by President Thomas S. Monson on April 2, 2011, is the second temple for the state of Colorado and will serve the approximately 44,000 Church members from 13 stakes living in the temple district — that includes northern Colorado, southern Wyoming and a small portion of Nebraska.
“The English language does not adequately describe what it feels like to have a temple here,” said Brother Rhodes.
The temple is 57 miles north of Denver and sits on the southeast corner of the intersection of Trilby Road and Timberline Road in Fort Collins. A local meetinghouse sits across the street from the 15-acre temple site.
The 44,000-square-foot temple stands 112 feet tall and features art glass with a mountain flora motif representing the Rocky Mountain vegetation that surrounds the sacred building. The interior features stone from Iran and Turkey and houses an original oil-painting wall mural depicting local landscapes.
“People reported that they enjoyed peaceful feelings as they visited the temple,” said Brother Rhodes. “Day after day people felt peaceful, they felt calm, they noted all of the art that depicts the life and ministry of Christ.”
In addition to many prominent government and faith leaders, community members enjoyed touring the building. Brother Rhodes said people of other Christian denominations noticed the painting of Esther in the brides’ room of the temple, and many other guests asked about the oxen in the baptismal font.
“A wonderful minister and his wife had a variety of questions while they were going through the baptistry,” said Brother Rhodes. “I think they were at least mildly surprised … as they heard there were similarities in what we do.”
Many of the guests were surprised to find smaller rooms, rather than one large assembly room.
“People came expecting this big cavernous room,” Brother Rhodes said. “And then there is an opportunity to talk about things that we share. People are almost always touched by the concept of eternal marriage.”
Just as important as the visitors to the temple were the hundreds of volunteers who gave their time to be a part of the open house.
“It was a wonderful experience [for visitors] but to me, as remarkable as the guests were, it was amazing [to see] volunteers that came to supervise parking, to usher, to make sure the physical facilities were clean, to host or play music … all the way from Wyoming to Nebraska,” he said. “What I saw was members enjoying working side-by-side. People are so thrilled to have a temple here — everybody wanted to be involved.”
It didn’t matter if it was cleaning the temple after hours at night or playing music in the information tent for guests to enjoy, Church members were eager to participate and enjoyed being a part of the temple events.
“They showed up early in the morning and stayed until late at night,” Brother Rhodes said.
Church leaders will dedicate the temple on Oct. 16 in three dedicatory sessions. A cultural celebration for the youth is scheduled for the evening of Oct. 15. Elder Ronald A. Rasband, then of the Presidency of the Seventy, presided over the groundbreaking ceremony on Aug. 24, 2013.