Church leaders are encouraging members attending the open house and dedication of the Nauvoo Illinois Temple to be patient, courteous and respectful as they are welcomed by residents of Nauvoo during the next two months.
"Many will come," said President Gordon B. Hinckley in a recent interview. "We hope that courtesy will prevail in everything that goes on, that there will be respect and appreciation one for another, [and] patience. All of these qualities will be required and we hope that they will shine forth."
With a population of approximately 1,100, Nauvoo is poised for its largest ever influx of visitors. More than 350,000 people are expected to visit the temple during the open house which runs May 6 until June 22, followed by 13 dedicatory sessions scheduled June 27-30.
"Inevitably when you bring that many people together, you have some inconvenience," President Hinckley said. "I hope that we all rise above it, that we will be neighborly and good and treat one another with the greatest deference as we gather together in this historic city on the Mississippi River."
At the October 1999 groundbreaking ceremony for the temple, President Hinckley assured Nauvoo Mayor Tom Wilson that the Church and its members would cooperate with city officials and citizens to resolve concerns.
Elder David E. Sorensen of the Presidency of the Seventy and executive director of the Temple Department commented: "We would hope that [Church members who visit Nauvoo] will be patient, kind, considerate and they would certainly be friendly, and most of all, that they love one another as they realize this temple is, after all, a monument to our Lord and Master, Jesus Christ, and it really is His temple, built to His holy name.
"We should think of this as holy ground, and conduct ourselves appropriately, not just for the sake of the citizens of Nauvoo but for the sake of our Lord and Master, Jesus Christ, whose name we take upon us, in whose name we built this temple, in whose name we worship in this temple."
Elder Donald L. Staheli of the Seventy and president of the North America Central Area praised Mayor Wilson and Nauvoo city officials for their cooperation and support during the temple's construction of the past 2 1/2 years.
"They have worked with us to successfully resolve issues as they arose. There has been an excellent working relationship between the city and the Church," Elder Staheli said.
For members of the Church whose pioneering forebears were driven from Nauvoo in 1846, the newly built temple symbolizes a healing of old wounds. President Hinckley said the temple will stand as a memorial to those who built the first such structure there.
"There is a great interest in Nauvoo," President Hinckley said. "There always has been; there always will be on the part of our people. The thousands who lived in Nauvoo have become tens of thousands in their descendants. They look back on their people with affection and remembrance and with a great desire to honor them and respect them."
"During the Nauvoo Temple open house there will be 8,000 to 10,000 visitors daily. Courtesy on the highways and walkways and with the merchants in the community will provide lasting impressions of us as a people. The temple is a beautiful and impressive addition to the city of Nauvoo. As Church members and visitors, we can show our appreciation to the good people of Nauvoo as we heed President Hinckley's call to be sensitive and respectful," Elder Staheli said.
Church leaders are asking visitors to respect private property and observe parking regulations throughout the town and surrounding area. Open house visitors are reminded that free tickets must be obtained in advance and will not be available at the temple.
For information concerning ticket availability, please see article at left.
Following the seven-week public open house, the temple will be dedicated in 13 dedicatory sessions over four days, beginning on June 27. Selected dedicatory sessions will be broadcast over the Church satellite network.
Church leaders are asking members who reside outside the Nauvoo Temple district not to travel to Nauvoo for the dedication services. Church members in good standing over 8 years old can obtain a dedication recommend from their bishops to attend one of the satellite broadcasts at their local meetinghouses.