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President Monson rededicates Atlanta Georgia Temple

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ATLANTA, GA.

On a calm and beautiful spring day, President Thomas S. Monson rededicated the Atlanta Georgia Temple in two sessions on Sunday, May 1.

Arriving for the rededication of the Atlanta Georgia Temple on May 1 are President Thomas S. Monson, left; Elder M. Russell Ballard of the Quorum of the Twelve, Elder Walter F. Gonzalez of the Presidency of the Seventy who has supervisory responsibilities in the North America Southeast Area, and Elder M. Keith Giddens, an Area Seventy who served as the local coordinator for the open house, cultural program and rededication of the temple.
Arriving for the rededication of the Atlanta Georgia Temple on May 1 are President Thomas S. Monson, left; Elder M. Russell Ballard of the Quorum of the Twelve, Elder Walter F. Gonzalez of the Presidency of the Seventy who has supervisory responsibilities in the North America Southeast Area, and Elder M. Keith Giddens, an Area Seventy who served as the local coordinator for the open house, cultural program and rededication of the temple. Photo: Photo by Gerry Avant

The skies were clear and, perhaps most significant, hardly a breeze stirred – a welcome respite in a region of the country beset by more than 100 tornadoes during the past week.

Some attending the rededication were still waiting for word on the status of homes of relatives, friends and acquaintances. Among them was Richard Youngblood, president of the Chattanooga Tennessee Stake, who said Church leaders and members are waiting for clearance from emergency officials and law enforcement to enter areas hit by the tornadoes. He said high winds and tornadoes rated as F-3 and F-4 hit several areas within his stake, which takes in parts of Georgia and Alabama.

Members line up to enter the Atlanta Georgia Temple for its rededication of the Atlanta Georgia Temple on May 1.
Members line up to enter the Atlanta Georgia Temple for its rededication of the Atlanta Georgia Temple on May 1. Photo: Photo by Gerry Avant

"The path of the tornadoes was 34 miles long and a half mile to two miles wide,” he said. He and other church leaders in the area are still assessing damage. “All our members are safe. A few were injured, but there were no fatalities in the stake.

President Thomas S. Monson greets members of the Philip and Shannon Kelley family as he arrives for the rededication of the Atlanta Georgia Temple on May 1.
President Thomas S. Monson greets members of the Philip and Shannon Kelley family as he arrives for the rededication of the Atlanta Georgia Temple on May 1. Photo: Photo by Gerry Avant
Members arrive at the Atlanta Georgia Temple on May 1 for its rededication.
Members arrive at the Atlanta Georgia Temple on May 1 for its rededication. Photo: Photo by Gerry Avant

The Atlanta temple, which serves Latter-day Saints throughout Georgia and parts of Alabama, Tennessee and North Carolina, had been closed since July 2009 while extensive refurbishing work was done. Except for the baptistry, the interior has been completely redone.

Gerald L. Scott served as president of the Atlanta Georgia Temple from 1992-1995, and his wife, Sister Betty E. Scott, was its matron.
Gerald L. Scott served as president of the Atlanta Georgia Temple from 1992-1995, and his wife, Sister Betty E. Scott, was its matron. Photo: Photo by Gerry Avant

During his time at the temple, President Monson shook hands with dozens of Church members, paying special attention to children ages 8-12, teenagers and others he felt needed a handshake or a hug.

Amanda Miller, 17, and her sister, Rachel, 13,  have tears on their faces after President Thomas S. Monson greeted them upon arrival for the rededication of the Atlanta Georgia Temple on May 1.
Amanda Miller, 17, and her sister, Rachel, 13, have tears on their faces after President Thomas S. Monson greeted them upon arrival for the rededication of the Atlanta Georgia Temple on May 1. Photo: Photo by Gerry Avant

Vivian Frost of Atlanta said she has been undergoing a lot of hardship recently. She said that President Monson shook her hand and then “looked into my eyes. He tilted his head and smiled. He didn’t say the words, but I felt he was telling me that everything was going to be all right.”

After the rededication of the Atlanta Georgia Temple on May 1, President Thomas S. Monson gives a warm greeting to Vivian Frost of Atlanta.
After the rededication of the Atlanta Georgia Temple on May 1, President Thomas S. Monson gives a warm greeting to Vivian Frost of Atlanta. Photo: Photo by Gerry Avant

The temple was built and originally dedicated in June of 1983 by President Gordon B. Hinckley, then a counselor in the First Presidency. President Monson, then a member of the Quorum of the Twelve, participated in that event nearly 28 years ago.

Participating in the rededication with President Monson were Elder Russell M. Ballard of the Quorum of the Twelve, Elder Walter F. Gonzalez of the presidency of the Seventy who has supervisory responsibilities for the North America Southeast Area and Elder William R. Walker of the Seventy and executive director of the temple department.

Elder William R. Walker of the Seventy and executive director of the Temple Department and his wife, Sister Vicky Walker, lived in Atlanta when the temple was built and dedicated in 1983. Elder Walker served as a tour guide during the temple's original open house.
Elder William R. Walker of the Seventy and executive director of the Temple Department and his wife, Sister Vicky Walker, lived in Atlanta when the temple was built and dedicated in 1983. Elder Walker served as a tour guide during the temple's original open house. Photo: Photo by Gerry Avant
Atlanta Georgia Temple
Atlanta Georgia Temple Photo: Photo by Gerry Avant
President Thomas S. Monson speaks during the cultural celebration on Saturday, April 30.
President Thomas S. Monson speaks during the cultural celebration on Saturday, April 30. Photo: Photo by Gerry Avant

Some 2,400 members of the Church attended the two sessions of the rededication in the temple. Thousands more watched a broadcast of the sessions in stake centers throughout the temple district.

President Thomas S. Monson hugs Victoria Hasek of the Sugar Hill Georgia Stake after the youth cultural celebration April 30.
President Thomas S. Monson hugs Victoria Hasek of the Sugar Hill Georgia Stake after the youth cultural celebration April 30. Photo: Photo by Gerry Avant
President Thomas S. Monson joins cast in waving flashlight at the conclusion of the cultural program. With him are Elder M. Russell Ballard, left, and President Monson's daughter, Sister Ann M. Dibb, second counselor in the general Young Women presidency.
President Thomas S. Monson joins cast in waving flashlight at the conclusion of the cultural program. With him are Elder M. Russell Ballard, left, and President Monson's daughter, Sister Ann M. Dibb, second counselor in the general Young Women presidency. Photo: Photo by Gerry Avant

On Saturday evening 2,500 youth from throughout the temple district participated in a cultural program titled "Southern Lights," which recapped through music, song and dance some of the history of the state and of the Church in Georgia.

Kathie and Rene Alba, directors of the Atlanta Temple Youth Cultural Celebration, pause for a photo with President Thomas S. Monson.
Kathie and Rene Alba, directors of the Atlanta Temple Youth Cultural Celebration, pause for a photo with President Thomas S. Monson. Photo: Photo by Gerry Avant
Danny and Jaime Waxter and daughter, Madelyn, of Winder, Ga., enjoy the beauty of the grounds as they attend the rededication of the Atlanta Georgia Temple on May 1.
Danny and Jaime Waxter and daughter, Madelyn, of Winder, Ga., enjoy the beauty of the grounds as they attend the rededication of the Atlanta Georgia Temple on May 1. Photo: Photo by Gerry Avant
Cultural celebration scene from 1930s-1950s - "Big Band Boogie"
Cultural celebration scene from 1930s-1950s - "Big Band Boogie" Photo: Photo by Gerry Avant
Cultural celebration scene from "1776 -Birth of a nation"
Cultural celebration scene from "1776 -Birth of a nation" Photo: Photo by Gerry Avant
Two of the cast members participating in the Atlanta Temple Youth Cultural Celebration.
Two of the cast members participating in the Atlanta Temple Youth Cultural Celebration. Photo: Photo by Gerry Avant
Cultural celebration.
Cultural celebration. Photo: Photo by Gerry Avant
Cultural celebration scene - Country swing dance
Cultural celebration scene - Country swing dance Photo: Photo by Gerry Avant
Cultural celebration - football mania
Cultural celebration - football mania Photo: Photo by Gerry Avant
Cultural celebration scene: Revolutionary soldiers
Cultural celebration scene: Revolutionary soldiers Photo: Photo by Gerry Avant
Cultural celebration scene from 1860s-1880s - "Roses from the South" waltz
Cultural celebration scene from 1860s-1880s - "Roses from the South" waltz Photo: Photo by Gerry Avant
President Thomas S. Monson, center, Elder M. Russell Ballard, right, and Elder William R. Walker attend the cultural celebration Saturday, April 30. In front are several of the youth who participated in the cultural celebration.
President Thomas S. Monson, center, Elder M. Russell Ballard, right, and Elder William R. Walker attend the cultural celebration Saturday, April 30. In front are several of the youth who participated in the cultural celebration. Photo: Photo by Gerry Avant

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