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Thousands visit newest Utah temple, 49th in the Church, during open house

A tour through the new Mount Timpanogos Utah Temple inevitably lifts one's gaze heavenward, evoking concepts of light, glory and exaltation and focusing the mind on Christ and His gospel.

Since Aug. 6, an estimated 80,500 people had, as of Aug. 13, visited the new edifice at the corner of 7th North and 9th East streets in this farming community near the distinctive mountain for which the temple is named. Tours have been conducted for General Authorities, news media representatives, area clergy and dignitaries, as well as the general public. More than a million people are expected to tour the temple before its dedication, after which only recommend holders will be admitted inside.The public open house continues through Sept. 21 except on Sundays. Hours are 7 a.m. to 10 p.m Tuesdays through Saturdays, and 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Mondays. Free tickets may be obtained by calling (801) 763-4570.

Furnishings and features, including huge crystal chandeliers in the celestial and marriage ordinance rooms and art glass windows, sustain the overall feeling of light and splendor. Prisms embedded in the window glass refract light into its colorful spectrum, symbolizing God's influence radiating down upon His children, according to Keith Stepan, project architect.

Light, in fact, is an integral concept in the Church's teachings, noted Elder M. Russell Ballard of the Quorum of the Twelve during the Aug. 7 news media tour of the temple.

He alluded to D&C 50:24, "That which is of God is light; and he that receiveth light, and continueth in God, receiveth more light; and that light groweth brighter and brighter until the perfect day."

The temple, which he called "the university of the Lord," helps prepare men and women for that day by giving them an understanding of the Plan of Salvation, he said.

"We hope as people come through on these tours, they may be touched by the spirit of this building and want to know more about it," he said.

Those who attend the open house first enter into one of several temporary shelters, where they view a video presentation explaining the purpose of temples in the context of scripture and doctrine and walk through an exhibit about temples.

Near the entrance, visitors may hear a Primary children's chorus (800 choruses are scheduled at various times during the open house) singing such selections as "I Feel My Savior's Love." (See separate article on page 7.)

A brief welcome from President Gordon B. Hinckley on videotape greets visitors entering the edifice. They then proceed quietly through the temple, viewing the waiting area, baptistry, chapel, bride's room, one of four ordinance rooms, one of eight sealing rooms and the celestial room. At intervals, recordings are played to explain the purpose of each feature, and at the end of the tour, missionaries are available on the grounds to answer questions.

With 104,000 square feet of floor space on three levels, the Mount Timpanogos Temple most closely resembles the Bountiful Temple, dedicated in January 1995. As with the Bountiful Temple, there are no escalators.

But the colors and decor of the Mount Timpanogos Temple are unique. The spire, reaching 190 feet above ground level and topped with an Angel Moroni statue, is a lighter shade than the rest of the sierra-white, granite-clad exterior.

Carpet colors are mauve and gray. In some areas, such as the bride's room, patterns in the art glass windows are repeated in the carpeting.

Landscaping on the 17-acre temple site - fence, trees, lawn and shrubbery - is designed to suggest the pastoral setting of northern Utah County.

The temple district takes in some 131,000 Church members residing in 43 stakes, from Orem north to Alpine and east through Heber and Kamas to Vernal and the Utah-Colorado state line.

A cornerstone ceremony is scheduled for 8 a.m. Oct. 13, and the temple will be dedicated Oct. 13-19 in 27 sessions.

Mount Timpanogos will be the ninth temple in Utah. Elder Ballard said its construction was necessary to relieve pressure on the Jordan River Temple in Salt Lake County and on the Provo Temple, which serves Church members in Utah County, including those at BYU and the Missionary Training Center. He said a number of factors govern when and where a temple is built, and one of the main factors is whether the Church membership in a given area is able to support a temple. He cited Brigham Young's prophecy that one day there will be hundreds of temples around the world.

Currently, temples are located in 29 countries.

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