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Kirtland first temple; temples now located in many areas of region

Kirtland Temple

  • Hauling of sandstone to site began June 5, 1833.- Dedicated March 27, 1836, by President Joseph Smith.
  • First temple (no longer owned by the Church).
  • Adaptation of Federal Georgian and New England Colonial design, sandstone covered with stuccoed plaster.

Following the pattern of biblical times, the Lord has commanded the Saints of the latter days to erect temples to His name. (See D&C 57:3.) The first to be completed in this dispensation was dedicated in 1836 at Kirtland, Ohio. (See D&C 95 and 97.)

In an April 1968 general conference address, Elder ElRay L. Christiansen, an Assistant to the Twelve, spoke of the building of the Kirtland Temple:

"Even though money was scarce, members were few, and persecution was unrelenting, in building the Kirtland Temple the people had the courage to match their faith!

"Edward Tullidge wrote in 1877: `With very little capital except brains, bone, and sinew combined with unwavering trust in God, men and women and even children worked with their might. . . .' " (Women of Mormonism 1877 Edition, p. 82.)

The dedicatory prayer of the Kirtland Temple is recorded as Section 109 of the Doctrine and Covenants. According to the Prophet Joseph Smith's written statement, the prayer was given to him by revelation.

Nauvoo Temple

  • Cornerstones laid April 6, 1841.
  • Dedicated May 1, 1846, by Elder Orson Hyde.
  • Incorporated several types of architecture, no single style dominating, with light gray limestone.
  • Temple no longer stands; burned by arson fire in 1848; walls later destroyed by a tornado.

The Nauvoo Temple, the second temple built in this dispensation, was constructed at a great sacrifice to the members of the Church.

Elder Joseph Fielding Smith, while a member of the Council of the Twelve, wrote of the Nauvoo Temple:

"Every detail had to be performed by the Saints. The timber had to be hewed in the far off forests of Wisconsin, carried to Nauvoo, and cut into boards and for the various uses of the temple. The stone had to be cut and polished from the quarries, and the whole work had to be supplied out of the tithing of the people." (Doctrines of Salvation 2:244-245.)

Elder James E. Talmage wrote of the the sacred edifice:

"The Saints had met the requirement made of them by the Lord in the building of another House to His name. Ordinance work continued a few months more, even though the exodus of the people was in progress. In September, 1846, the Nauvoo Temple was in possession of the mob; and the people whose energy and substance, whose sweat and blood had been spent in its rearing, were driven into the wilderness or slain. . . . For two years the once hallowed structure stood as an abandoned building; then on November 19, 1848, it fell a prey to the wanton act of an incendiary. After the conflagration, only blackened walls remained where once had stood so stately a sanctuary. Stones of the Temple have been carried into most of the states of the Union and beyond the seas, but upon the site where once stood the The House of the Lord not one stone is left upon another." (The House of the Lord, pp. 111-113.)

Atlanta Georgia Temple

  • Ground broken March 7, 1981, by President Spencer W. Kimball.
  • Dedicated June 1, 1983, by President Gordon B. Hinckley.
  • Located in Sandy Springs, on the northeastern outskirts of Atlanta.
  • Modern design with pre-cast stone walls and a built-up roof.

ATLANTA, GA.

When the Atlanta Georgia Temple was dedicated in 1983, it was a tangible symbol of the progress of the Church in the Southern States. Since that time, it has become influential as the Church's spiritual center of the South.

Donald S. Conkey, public communications director in 1983, commented at the time: "Sometimes it doesn't seem real. It's like it is too good to be true. When our oldest daughter married, we traveled 2,000 miles to the Arizona Temple. When our youngest daughter married, we traveled 700 miles to the Washington Temple. Now, we live nine miles from the temple."

Since that time, he said, "The temple has become a major force in the South" in changing the lives of the members.

"What is paramount of all is the peace that emanates from that building - the House of the Lord." Brother Conkey, who supervises work in the baptistry, said the youth who visit the temple are also being strengthened by their service.

"It is truly the Lord's university for the South. In the temple, the whole world opens up to us and we feel peace. The joy of working in the temple is beyond description."

Chicago Illinois Temple

  • Ground broken Aug.13, 1983, by President Gordon B. Hinckley.
  • Dedicated Aug. 9, 1985, by President Gordon B. Hinckley.
  • Located in Glenview, about 20 miles north of Chicago.
  • Modern adaptation of earlier six-spire design with gray buff marble and a gray slate roof.

CHICAGO, ILL.

Winter weather in the Plains States and around the Great Lakes is whimsically unpredictable at best and violent at worst. February 1994 was all of those and more.

Attendance at the Chicago Illinois Temple suffered, but faithful Saints came as they could. There were many special experiences and the story of Evelynn Doris Shepherd is a testimony to those experiences.

Sister Shepherd, who has been a member since March 1991, lives in Ypsilanti, Mich., where she is a member of the Ypsilanti Ward, Ann Arbor Michigan Stake.

The time had come for Sister Shepherd to attend the Chicago Illinois Temple to receive her endowments. Transportation was to be provided by Wilda Diehl of Ypsilanti, Mich., whom they were to pick up at a granddaughter's residence in Freeport, Ill., before going to the temple. Sister Diehl's daughter was to be Sister Shepherd's escort.

In normal driving conditions, the drive from Freeport to the temple would be about two hours. However, the night before they left for the temple, however, a storm blanketed the area with several inches of snow. The next morning was cold and blustery with drifting snow.

South and east of Rockford, Ill., their car became stuck in snow on a freeway entry ramp and the car received some damage. With the aid of a state highway trooper, their car was taken to a freeway "Oasis" for repairs.

While waiting for repairs, Sister Shepherd was in the "Oasis" gift shop. A woman there approached Sister Shepherd to ask where she was going, to which she replied, "To the Mormon temple in Chicago." The new friend said, "You must be a Mormon," to which Sister Shepherd replied, `Yes.' The woman just beamed. "My mother is a Mormon," she said. "I love them. They are just wonderful people. They certainly take good care of my mother."

After their car was repaired and undaunted by the weather, the two elderly sisters and the daughter pushed off for Chicago.

They arrived at the temple safely, but six hours late. The endowment was all that Sister Shepherd had dreamed of - and more. The beauty and power lifted her up and will provide food for many hopes and dreams. She will be back - perhaps on a warm, sun-filled summer day.

In the meantime, Sister Shepherd's life is anchored by the secure knowledge of the great blessings of the House of the Lord. - Paul W. Wilson, Chicago Illinois Temple president.

Dallas Texas Temple

  • Ground broken Jan. 22, 1983, by President Gordon B. Hinckley.
  • Dedicated Oct. 19, 1984, by President Gordon B. Hinckley.
  • Located 12 miles north of the downtown area.
  • Modern adaptation of earlier six-spire design with light-colored marble tile walls and a gray slate roof.

DALLAS, TEXAS

In 1988, the Kingwood Texas Stake presidency encouraged increasing the level of spirituality in the stake.

During this time, specific efforts were made in several areas:

  • An "Invitation to Come Back" effort focused on reactivation.
  • Daily prayer and scripture reading were emphasized.
  • Encouragment was given to participate in missionary work.
  • Priesthood leaders were trained in teaching principles of tithing and offerings, with emphasis on increasing tithing contributions and being self-sufficient in fast offerings.

The efforts produced some results, but not to the satisfaction of the stake presidency. So in 1992, a year-long focus on the temple was set. This focus included striving to have every endowed member hold a current temple recommend, and to have every current recommend holder attend the temple.

On Nov. 14, 1992, about 400 members of the stake participated in a temple trip. The success felt that day provided encouragement to return again on Nov. 13, 1993. Many who had not been to the temple in many years felt greatly blessed.

This example of effort and commitment to temple work has been inspiring to other stakes in the Dallas Texas Temple District. There are 22 stakes scheduled to come on at least one specified Saturday during 1994.

Santo Domingo Dominican Republic Temple

  • Announced by the First Presidency Dec. 4, 1993.
  • In planning stage.

Prior to the announcement of the Santo Domingo Dominican Republic Temple, there was a strong spirit at the site that was later chosen for the temple.

Carlos E. Madrid, president of the Dominican Republic Santo Domingo West Mission, said he and his wife were driving near the site one day.

"I could feel the spirit emanating from the place later known to be the temple site," he said. "I told my wife, `That would be a great place to build a temple.' "

Later he learned that two Church employees had similar experiences earlier. The announcement of the first temple to be built in the Carribbean has brought a strong spirit to the area, Pres. Madrid noted.

"We are just excited, not only for the work we can do for the living, but for the dead," he said. "Missionary work is happening on this side of the veil as well as the other side."

He pointed out that part-member families are becoming all-member families and there is an increase in temple preparation seminars.

"It's a great time here in the Dominican Republic," Pres. Madrid concluded.

Hartford Connecticut Temple

  • Announced by the First Presidency Oct. 3, 1992.
  • In planning stage.

HARTFORD, CONN.

Since the announcement of the Hartford Connecticut Temple brought shouts of joy from members of the Hartford Connecticut Stake, strides have been made to prepare for its blessings, according to stake Pres. Michael Dudley.

Pres. Dudley cited three things that indicate the feelings of stake members about the temple.

"One, when members of the Church received the announcement at general conference, there was a literal outcry of happiness and enthusiasm," he said. "As soon as President Gordon B. Hinckley made the announcement, members spontaneously expressed joy in a vocal way. It was an electrifying moment.

"Two, the announcement made a significant impact on missionary work. In the last 18 months we have had a record number of baptisms. The enthusiasm of the members for having a temple in their midst has led to a renewed and increased enthusiasm to share the gospel with their neighbors and friends.

"Three, members of the stake are doing their best individually and as families to prepare to participate in the blessings of the temple when it is here."

Orlando Florida Temple

  • Ground broken June 20, 1992, by Elder James E. Faust.
  • Nearing completion; dedication set for Oct. 9-11; open house to be held Sept. 10-30.
  • Located on the edge of the suburb of Windemere, five miles southeast of Orlando, on a knoll overlooking a chain of lakes.
  • White cast stone exterior, modern design.

ORLANDO, FLA.

One of the great blessings of the Orlando Florida Temple is the savings in time to travel to a temple, according to Joel H. McKinnon, president of the Orlando Florida Stake.

"This is much more than an Orlando temple; it is truly a Florida temple, he explained.

Some members from south Florida now travel more than 14 hours to Atlanta to do temple work. After the Orlando temple opens, the maximum time will be cut to four or five hours, Pres. McKinnon said.

Preceding the temple's dedication this fall, there will be a fireside in the Orlando Florida Stake. "It will focus on the history of the Church in central Florida and hopefully give people a flavor for the dedication and sacrifice that laid the groundwork for the blessings of the temple," Pres. McKinnon said.

Finally, he said members of his stake are looking forward to the blessings of helping with the open house.

St. Louis Missouri Temple

  • Ground broken Oct. 30, 1993, by President Gordon B. Hinckley and President Thomas S. Monson.
  • Located in suburb of Town and Country, about 10 miles west of St. Louis city center.
  • Traditional design with single spire.

ST. LOUIS, MO.

Although ground was broken for the St. Louis Missouri Temple just eight months ago, the temple has already been a blessing for the Church in the area, said Pres. Neal C. Lewis of the St. Louis Missouri North Stake.

The presidency of the North America Central Area challenged members in the new temple district to increase their missionary work, he said.

"I feel the momentum building. With the temple coming, there is more awareness on the part of our members about their missionary responsibilities."

Pres. Lewis said he believes there is more work being done in the Chicago Illinois Temple by members of his stake since the announcement of the St. Louis Temple.

Members of other faiths in St. Louis are also interested in the temple, he added.

"I'm a member of the interfaith partnership in this area made up of 30 different faiths, so I've become associated with a number of leaders of other churches," he explained. "They have all expressed interest in having an invitation when we have our open house. The temple is creating a lot of interest on the part of non-members as well as members."

Toronto Ontario Temple

  • Ground broken Oct. 10, 1987, by President Thomas S. Monson.
  • Dedicated Aug. 25, 1990, by President Gordon B. Hinckley.
  • Located on the outskirts of Brampton, about 20 miles west of Toronto.
  • Modern design of white cast stone.

TORONTO, ONTARIO

When Marilyn Haneberg of Honolulu, Hawaii, accepted a call to serve a leadership mission from 1987-1988 in the Montreal Quebec Mission, her mission brought her to Sherbrooke in southern Quebec. While serving in that small branch, she became acquainted with Laurence Leveille and Cecile Laliberte, both widowed sisters. During her stay in Sherbrooke, their relationship turned into a warm friendship.

Upon completion of her mission, Sister Haneberg returned to Hawaii but kept in touch with her friends. The excitement of having a temple in eastern Canada within a couple of years had been passed on to her by the members in Quebec.

In the summer of 1990, the Toronto Ontario Temple was completed, and Sister Haneberg decided to attend the open house and dedication. There she met Sister Audrey Roberts, the matron of the temple. During the ensuing conversation, Sister Haneberg asked how the temple presidency would staff the temple, especially since the Toronto temple is officially bilingual - English and French. She was informed that up to that point, no bilingual ordinance workers had been called to work in the temple. Sister Roberts then looked Sister Haneberg in the eye and said, "We could really use you."

Sister Haneberg went home, but couldn't forget the matron's challenge.

After some soul searching and much prayer, she determined that she would like to serve in the Toronto temple, especially since she already was an ordinance worker in the Hawaii Temple.

She served in the Toronto temple for one year full-time as a French-speaking ordinance worker from August 1991 until August 1992. Sisters Leveille and Laliberte, called as local temple missionaries, joined Sister Haneberg, also as French-speaking ordinance workers.

Later, Lucien Champagne, also from Quebec, accepted a call to serve a mission in the Toronto temple.

What Sisters Haneberg, Leveille and Laliberte did for the sisters in the temple, Brother Champagne did for the brothers. They brought a sweet spirit to the temple and their enthusiasm to serve the Lord inspired others to do likewise.

Washington Temple

  • Ground broken Dec. 7, 1968, by President Hugh B. Brown.
  • Dedicated Nov. 19, 1974, by President Spencer W. Kimball.
  • Located in Kensington, Md.
  • Reinforced concrete sheathed in Alabama white marble.

KENSINGTON, MD.

The Washington Temple serves as a beacon of peace among the world diplomatic community in the nation's capital. Each Christmas season for the past 16 years, a ceremony has been held to switch on the lights on the grounds surrounding the temple. In just the past four years, ambassadors or diplomats from the following countries have attended the ceremony:

Antigua and Barbuda, Argentina, Australia, Bahamas, Barbados, Belarus, Bolivia, Bulgaria, Cameroon, Cape Verde, Chile, China, Colombia, Croatia, Cyrpus, Czechoslovakia, Estonia, Fiji, Great Britain, Guatemala, Hungary, Ireland, Israel, Jamaica, Madagascar, Malaysia, Malta, Mauritania, Mauritius, Mongolia, Morocco, Pakistan, Poland, Romania, Senegal, Slovenia, South Africa, Soviet Union, Spain, Sri Lanka, St. Vincent, Swaziland, Switzerland, Thailand, Turkey, Uganda, Uruguay, Uzbekistan, West Germany, Western Samoa, Yemen, Yugoslavia, Zambia and Zimbabwe.

In addition, many religious leaders have attended the ceremonies.

As members of the Council of the Twelve have conducted the services and delivered addresses on the subjects of peace and hope, more cordial relations between nations and religions have developed. The more cordial relations have been relayed, in many cases, by the international press corps also stationed in Washington, D.C.

In 1993, Israel's ambassador, Itamar Rabinovich, summed up the experience when he said, "We recognize our differences and respect each other. . . . Let this be an example and a pattern for the whole world. This is the only basis for peace. Let the lights we illuminated tonight be a symbol of peace as well."

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