MERIDIAN, Idaho — More than 200,000 people toured the interior and grounds of the recently completed Meridian Idaho Temple during a public open house held Oct. 21 through Nov. 11.
“We feel the Meridian temple open house was very successful,” said J. Craig Rowe, coordinator of the Meridian temple committee. “We opened the doors of the temple and allowed people from all walks of life here in the Treasure Valley and the western part of Idaho to feel the Spirit and see the beauty of the Meridian temple.”
Six and a half years after President Thomas S. Monson announced in the April 2011 general conference that a temple would be built in Meridian, Idaho, Church members are thrilled the time has come for a new temple in their area.
Although the Boise Idaho Temple is only 8.8 miles away, the new temple brings an excitement and renewal of faith for the members living in Western Idaho’s “Treasure Valley.”
“We have watched our members grow [their] excitement in anticipation of its opening,” Rowe said. “During the past three years of construction there has been an anticipation about the future, and an excitement to have another house of the Lord in the valley.”
The three-week long event brought Church and community members, along with civic and religious leaders, together to view the 67,331-square-foot edifice that will — after its dedication on Nov. 19 — become the Church’s fifth temple in Idaho and 158th operating temple around the world.
“We had people from all walks of life, a number of people from other faiths and those with no faith tradition at all,” Rowe said. “We enjoyed the company of many national and local political leaders, as well as everyday families and youth from the valley. It was a wonderful occasion and honor to have so many people come and enjoy a tour of the temple.”
Idaho Gov. Butch Otter and his wife, Lori Otter, Rep. Raúl Labrador, R-Idaho, and his wife, Rebecca Johnson Labrador, and Sen. James Risch, R-Idaho, and his wife, Vicki Risch, toured the temple along with other state and local leaders.
Whether it was guiding guests to a parking spot or leading visitors through the temple, more than 5,000 volunteers — comprised of members from the 16 stakes in the temple district — helped make the open house a success.
“It has really opened the hearts of many people that have had the opportunity to volunteer and share with their friends, neighbors and family members, as well as others not of our faith,” Rowe said. “They came to understand why the temple is such a sacred blessing to us as members of the Church.”
Trey Hallenberger, a young man in the temple district, posted a picture on Instagram of himself and a friend in front of the temple wearing reflective vests.
“Parking/traffic duty control with my friends … was so much fun,” he said. “We spent about 7 hours there and it felt like 15 minutes. So excited for the celebration and dedication next week!”
Casie Stevenson posted a photo of her in front of the temple with this comment, “Spent my 3rd week at the Meridian Idaho Temple helping with all the visitors that have come to the open house. There is no other place I’d rather be on a Wednesday morning!”
Many patrons commented on the beauty of the temple, as well as the feeling they felt as they walked through.
“It has been a wonderful experience. We are hesitant to see it come to an end in the next few days,” Rowe said. “But we are ready to begin performing sacred ordinances in the temple in behalf of our kindred dead.”