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Alberta temple: thousands attend open house following edifice's renovation

For the past three years, the whispers of faithful saints and dedicated temple workers within the Alberta Temple were replaced by the noise of hammers, saws and other construction equipment.

But now, after being renovated, the temple will soon be back in full service, allowing Church members in the provinces of Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, the Yukon, Northwest Territories and in northern Montana to resume the work that is so important to their eternal salvation.An open house commenced on June 5 with 5,000 volunteers greeting and informing invited VIPs about the importance of the temple. The first tour was reserved for the media, with the national Canadian television networks and Calgary newspapers, along with many other local and regional media, attending.

After the media tour, a press conference was conducted by Elder H. Burke Peterson of the Seventy and president of the North America Central Area.

Reporters asked questions about the renovations and LDS beliefs. One reporter, moved by what he had seen and felt, asked if he could go back and sit in the garden room for a while. This request was quickly granted by Elder Peterson.

Other tours accommodated various VIPs, including civic and corporate leaders, Chamber of Commerce members and the Royal Canadian Mounted Police.

In addition, a special tour was offered to people from the Blood Indian Reserve that borders on the township of Cardston. Former leader of the reserve, Chief Shot Both Sides, along with his wife Rosaline, summed up his experience in two words as he came out of the temple: "Really beautiful!"

During the day, Elder Peterson, along with regional representative Lynn A. Rosenvall and Temple Pres. Roy Spackman, stood by to greet VIPs as well as answer questions and meet special requests.

At the end of the day, 1,307 VIPs had toured the temple.

The public was invited to tour the temple beginning June 6. By the time the doors were opened there was a 45-minute wait to get inside. During the first hour 800 people visited the temple. The total for the day was 5,692 visitors, despite poor weather conditions and continuous rains that deluged both the VIP tours and the first public day.

The crowds increased June 7 with 8,926 people attending, including a special tour for the premier of the province of Alberta, Don Getty, along with members of the Provincial Legislature.

Getty later commented that, "[The templeT was utterly inspirational. I never expected anything so beautiful or magnificent." He added that he admired the emphasis the Church places on family and on youth and that he appreciates the impact the Church has on the community. He concluded, saying, "In the government we notice that the Church makes important and visible contributions to the province [of AlbertaT."

The open house ended June 15, and organizers expected tens of thousands of people to attend.

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