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Detroit open house visitors feel 'serenity of the temple'

BLOOMFIELD HILLS, Mich. — The Detroit Michigan Temple, the 63rd temple of the Church, opened its doors to the public Oct. 6, and during its 10-day open house, a total of 30,000 visitors toured the sacred edifice, set against the backdrop of vibrant fall colors, in Bloomfield Hills.

For two days prior to the public open house, special tours were conducted by Elder Jay E. Jensen, a member of the Seventy and president of the North America Northeast Area, and his first counselor, Elder Gary J. Coleman, also of the Seventy, for state and local media, and religious, government and education leaders.

A total of 749 people attended during this phase of the open house. Many were inspired by a new temple introductory video recently released by the Church for open houses. The video emphasizes the eternal family and the plan of salvation. At the conclusion of their video preview and tour, two local government officials referred to the Angel Moroni figure and said, "We are glad to have an angel watching over our city." Providing a rare opportunity to view the interior of one of the Church's temples, the open house attracted many visitors of other faiths and many walks of life from Michigan and other states, as well as Canada.

Kathie Smith, who is not affiliated with any faith, traveled more than an hour from Flint, Mich., to attend with her member brother. She said a strong feeling came over her as she stood at the baptismal font. "I don't know how to describe what I felt, but I felt something strongly and it was a good feeling."

Daniel Gatica, an executive with the Detroit Area Council of the Boy Scouts of America, attended the temple open house with his young daughter. He said he wanted to attend the open house because he worked with numerous LDS Scouters.

"The beauty of the temple is one thing, but the importance of the family and eternal marriage struck me as most significant," he said. "I could feel the serenity in the temple."

Bonnie Nielson, multi-stake public affairs director, told of two ladies, both members of other faiths, who sought out a temple volunteer to obtain information on the stake Family History Center. They commented on the friendliness of Latter-day Saints, saying, "The next time your young men knock on our door, we want them to be treated as nicely as we have been treated — we will invite them in."

Visitors were curious to learn that the 50 tons of glistening white marble used in the facade of the temple came from a quarry in Vermont, near the Prophet Joseph Smith's home in Sharon, Vt. Visitors consistently noted the interior appointments — the off-white sculpted carpet, crystal chandeliers, the mirrors, and the inspiring artwork depicting the Savior.

Hundreds of visitors stopped at the information booth, staffed by sister missionaries, to inquire about the use of the Family History Center in meetinghouses and asked specific questions about the beliefs of the Church.

"We've had a committee planning this open house for a year and the result has been a very smooth flow of visitors through the temple," Sister Nielson said. "We wanted people to know that the temple is a sacred place for us and we think most visitors felt the peace of the temple."

The temple open house was covered by television, radio, and daily and weekly newspapers throughout the state. One front page headline read, "Close to God, Closer to Home."

The Detroit temple is the first temple in the state and will serve more than 30,000 Church members. The temple district includes most of Michigan's lower peninsula. Six dedication sessions are scheduled for Oct. 23-24.

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