ST. PAUL, Minn. The spirit of the St. Paul temple is radiating in the community through the recent public open house, said Richard Halverson, coordinator for the St. Paul Minnesota Temple open house and dedication.
Some 27,042 visitors toured the temple during the holiday season, including 1,282 community leaders and other special guests, said Brother Halverson, who is also first counselor in the Minnesota Minneapolis Mission presidency.
Leading the special tours were Elder Hugh W. Pinnock of the Seventy and president of the North America Central Area, and Elder Thomas A. Holt of Minneapolis, an Area Authority Seventy.
President Halverson explained that 40,000 invitations were printed and all given out by members along with the invitations which were sent to community leaders.
He said that with the assistance of members knowledgeable in the newspaper business, a newspaper insert was developed and half a million copies were distributed to Minneapolis-St. Paul area homes and businesses through general newspaper delivery.
The insert explained many of the teachings of the Church and its development during the past 150 years in Minnesota.
He said that the community has been very helpful. For example, "the coat racks were donated by the high school and the bleachers for the choir were donated by the city."
"The neighbors have been so favorable. We were worried about the neighbor next door to the temple, wondering if the temple night lights would bother her.
But as this neighbor "came through one of the neighborhood tours, she said, 'It's just so wonderful to see those beautiful lights on the building.'"
Multi-stake Director of Public Affairs Vicki Reid said that each community leader was invited by letter from a member he or she knew personally.
Sister Reid said the mayor of St. Paul attended, along with three U. S. congressmen and several judges. She said the mayor commented that it was "really great that you are opening this up to the public." Twenty-one children's choirs sang for open house guests.
"We also invited extensively the interfaith community," said Sister Reid. "The chief administrator of a college affiliated with the Baptist Church said, 'I appreciate the opportunity to hear about your church firsthand instead of through the usual rumors.' "
One of the tours was given for those involved in family history organizations in the community.
"Three TV stations came," said Sister Reid. "Two came twice. One did extensive interviewing of members for three hours, asking what it was like to grow up as a Latter-day Saint in Minnesota."