Monticello Utah Temple

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Announced: Oct. 4, 1997.

Location: 397 No. 200 West, Monticello, UT 84535; phone: (435) 587-3500; no rental clothing.

Site: 1.33 acres.

Exterior finish: White marble.

Temple design: Classic modern.

Architects: Church Architectural Services.

Construction advisers: Bob Dewey, Ron Prince.

Contractor: Jacobsen Construction Co.

Rooms: Celestial room, baptistry; originally one ordinance room, one sealing room; one ordinance room and one sealing room added in remodeling.

Size: Originally 7,000 square feet; increased to 11,225 square feet in remodeling.

Dimensions: 79 feet by 108 feet, 66 feet high to statue of Angel Moroni.

District: Five stakes in southeastern Utah and southwestern Colorado.

Groundbreaking, site dedication: Nov. 17, 1997, by Elder Ben B. Banks of the Seventy and president of the Utah South Area.

Dedication: July 26-27, 1998, by President Gordon B. Hinckley; 8 sessions; rededicated Nov. 17, 2002, one session by President Gordon B. Hinckley.


Dedicatory Prayer

Done by President Gordon B. Hinckley

Our beloved Father in Heaven, Thou great Elohim, the Eternal God whom we love and worship, we come unto Thee in prayer as we dedicate this, Thy Holy House.

Since the beginning of Thy work in this dispensation, Thy people have been commanded to build temples. Even in seasons of great poverty, they have struggled to erect these sacred houses.

Now, Thou has made Thy will known and blessed us with the means to erect many more temples, smaller in size, but complete in their necessary appointments. These will be convenient to Thy faithful Saints and will meet the needs of Thy growing Church throughout the world. This is the first of a new generation of such structures.

To this dedicated house will come Thy people to receive their initiatory ordinances, their endowments, and their eternal sealings. These blessings will be given not only to the living, but also to the dead. Here within these walls, through a great vicarious service, those beyond the veil of death may be afforded the blessing of baptism and the bestowal of the Holy Ghost, the birth of water and of the Spirit. This will be accomplished through the consecrated service of those who will stand as living proxies for those beyond the veil.

And now, acting in the authority of the Holy Priesthood, and in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, we dedicate this, the Monticello Utah Temple of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, to Thee and to Thy Beloved Son, as Thy holy house. Wilt Thou smile with favor upon it. Wilt Thou accept it as Thy dwelling place. May Thy Holy Spirit abide here and sanctify this sacred edifice. And wilt Thou receive it as the sacred offering of Thy faithful sons and daughters.

We dedicate every part of this sacred structure, from the footings to the figure of Moroni. We dedicate the baptismal font and all appertaining thereto. We dedicate the facilities associated with the initiatory ordinances and the endowment. We dedicate the beautiful celestial room, the sealing room with its sacred altar, and every other facility in this hallowed building.

We dedicate the grounds and the surroundings, the grass, the flowers, the shrubbery, the trees, that they may all lend beauty to this Thy house.

May Thy Spirit be felt here by all who come within these walls. May they be touched in their hearts with the certain knowledge that all that will occur here pertains to the eternal plan of salvation and exaltation which Thou hast outlined for Thy sons and daughters of all generations, and which becomes possible because of the Atonement wrought by the Redeemer of the world, Thine Only Begotten Son.

Bless the Saints of this temple district that they may make themselves worthy of the great and everlasting blessings to be found herein. May they come frequently, dressing in spotless white, setting aside the stress of the world, here to enter into solemn covenants with Thee, to be instructed according to Thy pattern, and to be endowed with power from on high.

May no unclean thing pass the portals of this Thy holy house. May all who enter here be worthy of the great and singular blessings here to be had. May the hand of the vandal and the destroyer be restrained from defacing or damaging this structure in any way. May it be holy to all who look upon it, and may it be regarded with reverence and respect, even by those of other faiths.

We remember those who, in early and difficult times, came here and settled these communities. Their struggles were great, their labors unceasing. Yet, they established a Zion in this part of the earth. Here they built meetinghouses that they might worship together. Generations of faithful Latter-day Saints have now lived and died in these communities which they pioneered. Through all of these years they have traveled long distances to gain the blessings of the Lord's House. And now this hallowed structure stands in their midst. It is a crowning jewel to all the labors of the past.

May those of this and future generations be ever grateful for it. May they respect it. May they enjoy it and derive great satisfaction and peace from their labors herein.

Wilt Thou bless the temple president and his counselors, the matron and her assistants, and all who serve here. May they do so with an eye single to Thy glory. May their burdens be light and their rewards great. May this building be kept clean and beautiful, as becomes Thine abode.

Now, dear Father, we thank Thee for the sacrifices, for the generous offering of the consecrated tithes of Thy people throughout the earth. Their faithfulness makes all of this possible. Bless them. Open the windows of heaven and pour down Thy favors upon them. Strike down the destroyer for their sakes. Bless the fathers and the mothers that they may rear their children in righteousness. Bless the children that there may grow in their hearts a desire to serve Thee all the days of their lives. May the hearts of the children be turned to the fathers, that Thine eternal work may be accomplished.

We remember before Thee in a special way the sons and daughters of Father Lehi. May they rise to new levels of growth and prosperity as they embrace and follow the gospel of Thy Son. May they be magnified and enlarged in knowledge and testimony as they come to this sacred temple and receive the blessings to be had within these consecrated walls. May peace and love exist among all who live in this area.

Wilt Thou bless those who come here to be endowed before going into the world as messengers of eternal truth, that they may feel of Thy power, and may be virtue of Thine anointing be upon them. Wilt Thou seal up the law and bind up the testimony of all who declare the divinity of Thy Holy work.

Bless all who stand in positions of leadership in Thy Church and kingdom that they may be granted strength and vitality, and that their lives may be extended for the accomplishment of Thy divine purposes.

Now, our Beloved Father in Heaven, we express unto Thee and to Thy Son, our deep and abiding love. We know likewise that Thou dost love us and that Thou hast made Thy love manifest through the love of Thy Son, our Savior and our Redeemer.

Accept of our gratitude. Hear our prayer. Bring into our hearts the sanctifying spirit of peace which emanates from this, Thine abode, we humbly pray as we rededicate ourselves to Thee and to Thy work, in the name of the Lord, Jesus Christ, amen.


Monticello temple expands to match faith of members

By Greg Hill

Church News staff writer

Monticello Utah Temple
Monticello Utah Temple Credit: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

MONTICELLO, Utah — A severe drought is afflicting southeastern Utah, a fact remembered during the day of rededication of the Monticello Utah Temple by President Gordon B. Hinckley on Sunday, Nov. 17.

But for some, the area's prolonged lack of rain and snow wasn't the only drought. It was their thirst to again serve in their own temple that was quenched with the reopening of its doors.

"It was a pretty good end to a seven-month drought," said Obid Hamblin, Moab Utah Stake patriarch, speaking of the dedicatory services he had just attended. "It's been a hard seven months without our temple."

Monticello Utah Stake President J. Terry Eardley said, "Most of the people I've talked to are just excited that the temple will be open again. We can go back to our temple and do our temple work again."

The expanded and remodeled temple was rededicated in one session by President Gordon B. Hinckley, who also presided over the first dedication July 26-27, 1998. The temple district includes 13,000 members in the Blanding Utah Stake, Blanding Utah West Stake, Durango Colorado Stake, Moab Utah Stake and Monticello Utah Stake.

Besides those attending in the temple, others viewed the proceedings of the rededication via satellite broadcast in the stake center in Monticello, the meetinghouse adjacent to the temple, and stake centers in Moab and Blanding. There was also a rebroadcast of the rededication in the afternoon at the stake centers and meetinghouse to accommodate those who couldn't attend the live session.

President Hinckley was accompanied at the dedication by his wife, Marjorie, and by his first counselor, President Thomas S. Monson, and his wife, Frances; Elder David B. Haight of the Quorum of the Twelve and his wife, Ruby; and Elder John H. Groberg of the Seventy, president of the Utah South Area, and his wife, Jean.

The temple was rededicated five years to the day from the date of the groundbreaking, noted President Eardley, who was early in his tenure at that time.

The temple closing for renovation in such a relatively short time, putting members back on the road to distant temples like the one in Manti, Utah, was brought on by themselves.

Temple president Lisle G. Adams said, "The facilities we had were just not adequate to take care of the work that was being done. The patrons of the temple responded so wholeheartedly to having a temple here."

While closed for the renovation, the size of the temple was increased from 7,000 square feet to 11,225 square feet. It was extended on the southeast and southwest sides, adding space on two sides of the baptismal font. An extension was built on the north end as well, all the new construction in complete harmony with the original white marble exterior. The celestial room was moved into the north addition, making room for a second ordinance room. A second sealing room was added. The extra space also provided for expansion of the dressing rooms and the laundry, the addition of a cozy but elegant brides room and a waiting room, and the repositioning and improving of the offices.

The day of rededication thrilled members young and old. Breanna Voorhis, age 8, beamed afterward, even as she stood outside the temple in the face of a bitterly cold wind, hoping to catch a close-up glimpse of President Hinckley. Four years earlier she had been terribly disappointed that she was too young to attend the dedication, said her mother, Barbara. In the meantime, she was somewhat mollified when she was able to accompany her parents as they traveled to the temple from her home in Pagosa Springs, Colo., with a youth group to do baptisms for the dead. While she couldn't participate in that experience, President Adams met her in front of the temple and explained to her the temple and its blessings. But Breanna's dream came true when she heard that the temple would be dedicated again and she would be old enough to attend.

For John Himmelberger, who is nearly 84, the second dedication was just another blessing in his life since he joined the Church in Monticello in 1964. "When I came here (in 1951) the Church was so small," he said. He watched the building where the town's single ward met originally was added onto three times until it is now a stake center. And then, though he never dreamed it was possible, he watched the temple being built. He credited the advances to "people dedicated enough to the Church to pay their tithing."

Bishop Larry Yarbrough of the Cortez 3rd Ward, Durango Colorado Stake, about 60 miles distant, said of the second dedication, "It's wonderful to come back so early. It's a blessing to have a temple so close." Enjoying the spiritual occasion was his entire family, including daughter Sasha who severely sprained her ankle playing high school basketball and hobbled around on crutches in the parking lot as she maneuvered to see President Hinckley as he left the temple.

President Adams, a descendant of pioneers who settled the area, was eager to see temple work begin again under improved circumstances.

One of the first three "smaller" temples announced by President Hinckley, it was the first one completed. President Adams said it was built as a "test" temple, close to Salt Lake City where Church leaders could watch and see how it would work out. What they learned from it, they used to improve later temples and now have come back and taken care of every deficiency with the recent renovation, he added.

E-mail: [email protected]


Monticello temple opens doors to public

By R. Scott Lloyd

Church News staff writer

The smallest temple ever to have been constructed in the history of the Church was opened for public tours July 15-18 in this red-rock country of southeastern Utah.

The new Monticello Utah Temple has less than half the floor space of a typical LDS meetinghouse. Yet, it has all the stateliness and functionality of any House of the Lord. And it was built to the same exacting standards, said Elder Ben B. Banks of the Seventy. Elder Banks, president of the Utah South area, conducted news media representatives on one of the initial tours of the new edifice July 15."As I have shared with my brethren, I have never seen more excitement, appreciation or anticipation than from the members of this area over this temple," he said in a briefing prior to the tour. "Though this is the Lord's temple, they consider it their temple; they are excited about it."

The new temple is the first of the smaller temples announced by President Gordon B. Hinckley at the October 1997 general conference. It has only 7,000 square feet of floor space. By comparison, the Bountiful and Mount Timpanogos temples in Utah each have about 104,000 square feet, and the St. Louis Missouri Temple has 68,000. The Monticello 2nd Ward meetinghouse adjacent to the temple site has 18,000 square feet.

In the briefing, conducted in the meetinghouse, Elder Banks said: "As nice as this chapel is, . . . temples are different from the chapels in the Church. . . . They are built as close to perfection and precision as possible because at the dedication, a temple does become a House of the Lord."

Like previous temples, the new one has a single celestial room and a baptistry but, by contrast, has only one ordinance room that seats 50, and one sealing room, which can be curtained off to accommodate smaller or larger groups.

The exterior is off-white marble – imported from Turkey, Elder Banks pointed out – with art glass windows. The lone spire is topped by a white-cast acrylic statue of the Angel Moroni, unique in design and composition from the Moroni statue of previous temples. (Please see Church News, May 23, 1998, for an article about the statue.)

With obvious pleasure, Elder Banks showed off the "beautiful workmanship" on the tour. For example, he said, it took 36 hours of donated labor to assemble the chandelier in the celestial room, with each crystal being placed by hand. And the carpet in the room is hand sculptured, he added.

Groundbreaking services were held Nov. 17, just a few weeks after President Hinckley announced the new temple in general conference along with two other smaller temples, now under construction in Anchorage, Alaska; and Colonia Juarez in Mexico.

Though the Monticello temple is a prototype for future smaller temples, they will differ in some respects, said David May of Church Architectural Services. The ones in Anchorage and Mexico, while having the same basic floor plan as Monticello, will have unique features in the art glass, exterior stone and positioning of the spire.

And, Brother May said, smaller temples built after Anchorage and Colonia Juarez will have an additional sealing room and endowment room while still following the basic format of the first three smaller temples.

Other differences between this temple and larger temples of the Church:

  • Ordinances will be performed by appointments made through the temple presidency. The Monticello temple will be open Tuesday-Thursday for two sessions a day, and on Friday and Saturday for five sessions a day. Those coming to a session without appointment would be accommodated on a space-available basis.
  • There will be no temple clothing rental facilities; patrons will be required to bring their own clothing. For baptisms for the dead, clothing will be furnished.
  • The first counselor in the temple presidency will serve a dual role as temple recorder and the second counselor as temple engineer.

In addition to the news media tour on July 15, groups of dignitaries from government, business and education were given tours. Some 30,000 people were expected to have toured the edifice by the time the open house concluded, including many Church members with roots in southeastern Utah, Elder Banks said.

The temple will be formally dedicated in seven separate services beginning Sunday, July 26, with President Hinckley officiating. Two additional sessions will occur that day and another four on Monday, July 27.

The first session will immediately follow a traditional, outdoor cornerstone ceremony planned for 8 a.m. Items pertaining to the circumstances of the area will be placed in the cornerstone before President Hinckley and other Church leaders ceremonially apply mortar to seal it, Elder Banks noted.

The temple will begin functioning with scheduled sessions on Tuesday, July 28.

Nearly 13,000 Latter-day Saints are in the temple district, comprising five stakes: Monticello Utah, Moab Utah, Blanding Utah, Blanding Utah West and Durango Colorado.

When he announced the concept of the smaller temples, President Hinckley explained that they would be open "according to local demand, maybe only one or two days a week," but will offer the full range of temple ordinances.

The smaller temples are designed to accommodate needs in areas of the world where relatively few Church members live and where the population is not likely to grow significantly in the near future. President Hinckley has said he wants to make the blessings of the temple more accessible to the members, many of whom now must travel considerable distances to the nearest temple. At the most recent general conference in April, he indicated he wanted to see the number of operating temples increase to 100 by the year 2000.

Located at 347 N. 200 West, on 1.33 acres of land donated by Monticello residents Ernest and Paul Sonderegger, a father and son, the temple is adjacent to the Monticello 2nd Ward meetinghouse, completed in 1993.

The new edifice provides a striking view – especially when bathed in floodlights at night – for motorists entering the city from the north via Highway 191, the main route through town.

Lisle G. Adams and his wife, Jewell Redd Adams, will be president and matron of the new temple.

The Latter-day Saints presence in this "four-corners" region of southeastern Utah began in earnest in April 1880. That was the year a group of 200 Church members from Cedar City settled the town of Bluff. Their "Hole in the Rock" expedition, in which they took six months to traverse forbidding terrain, is an epic in the history of the Church and the settlement of the West.

The San Juan Mission of the Church was established soon afterward and was instrumental in conveying the blessings of the gospel to the descendants of Lehi – members of the Navajo and Ute tribes – who live in the area. From that mission have grown the Church units that are here today. Longtime residents have wished for and expected a temple in this area for years, though the population is relatively sparse compared with other areas in the Church.

"But I never expected it would be in my lifetime," Pres. Adams said.

The San Juan Stake of the Church, established in 1888, was divided in 1912 to form the Young Stake, which included part of Colorado and New Mexico, and the Platt Stake (soon renamed the San Juan Stake), which included San Juan and Grand counties in Utah.

The first LDS meetinghouse in Moab was built in 1888, the same year the town of Monticello was established. The first brick meetinghouse in Monticello was completed in 1912.

On Sept. 19, 1971, the Moab Stake was formed from parts of the Carbon and San Juan stakes. In that stake realignment, the Monticello Utah Stake was created.

The Mesa Verde Stake, which later became the Durango Stake in Colorado, was also created in 1971 from the Young Stake.

The Blanding Utah Stake was organized March 5, 1978, with boundaries including all of southeastern Utah from Blanding south and east to the Arizona and Colorado state lines and west to the Colorado River. Within a year, the Chinle, Kayenta, Chilchinbeto and Dennehotso branches on the Navajo Reservation were included in that stake. The Blanding Stake was divided July 12, 1981, and the Blanding Utah West Stake was organized. It extended south to Kayenta, Ariz., until the fall of 1990, when the Chinle Arizona Stake was created.