Announced: March 14, 1999.
Location: 12030 North Mustang Road, Yukon, OK 73099-9801; phone: (405) 373-2309; no clothing rental.
Site: 1.05 acres.
Exterior finish: Imperial Danby White Marble.
Temple design: Classic modern.
Architects: Richard Lueb of the Architectural Partnership and Church A&E Services.
Project manager: Leon Rowley.
Contractor: Arnell-West Inc.
Rooms: Celestial room, baptistry, two ordinance rooms, two sealing rooms.
Total floor area: 10,769 square feet.
Dimensions: 149 feet by 77 feet.
District: 12 stakes Oklahoma, Kansas, Arkansas and Missouri.
Groundbreaking, site dedication: July 3, 1999, by Elder Rex D. Pinegar of the Seventy and president of the North America Southwest Area.
Dedication: July 30, 2000, by President James E. Faust, second counselor in the First Presidency; 4 sessions.
Done by President James E. Faust
O Lord God of Israel, Thou great Elohim who rules in the heavens and judges among the nations of the earth, we come unto Thee in solemn prayer on this day of dedication.
Dear Father, we thank Thee for this Thy sacred house. We have longed for it. We are grateful that this day has come. It is wonderful to have this temple in our midst, where we may partake of the ordinances of the everlasting gospel made possible through the bestowal of the fulness of the priesthood.
In the sacred name of the Lord Jesus Christ, and in the authority of the divine priesthood which Thou hast bestowed upon us, we dedicate this the Oklahoma City Oklahoma Temple of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. We dedicate it to Thee and to Thy Beloved Son and pray that Thou wilt accept of it as the House of the Lord. Let Thy Holy Spirit dwell here at all times and may that sacred presence be felt by those who serve here.
We dedicate the beautiful surrounding grounds with their flowers, shrubs, and trees. We dedicate the structure from the footings to the tower with its figure of Moroni. We dedicate the walls and windows that they may be secure against the storms of nature. We dedicate the Baptistry that a great and eternal work may therein go forward in behalf of those beyond the veil of death. We dedicate the endowment rooms, the sacred celestial room, the sealing rooms with their altars where men and women and parents and children may be bound together as families for all eternity. We dedicate the halls and offices and every other facility found in this Thy holy house. May all be sacred unto those who come here. May a spirit of reverence and worship pervade this structure at all times and under all circumstances. Wilt Thou be pleased to smile upon it, to accept of it, and to accept of the labors of those who will work here in Thine eternal cause.
May none of evil intent enter the portals of Thy house. May the defiling hand of the vandal and the destroyer be kept from the exterior. May all who pass this way recognize Thy temple as a sacred and beautiful structure built unto Thy Holy Name. May they look upon it with reverence and respect.
We pray for the temple presidency, for the matron and her assistants, and for all who will serve as workers in this Thy house. May they not tire nor grow weary in their service. We pray that they may be lifted up by Thy sustaining hand in carrying forward Thy divine cause. We pray that Thou wilt bless all who come as patrons that they may do so with a spirit of love and total unselfishness to carry forward a great work in behalf of those who are helpless to help themselves.
We pray for Thy cause and kingdom, that it may grow ever stronger in this community. May all who have favored Thy cause be blessed for that which they have done. May many continue to seek for knowledge concerning Thy work until they have embraced Thy restored gospel.
Dear Father, we pray for the missionaries who will go forth from this house endowed with blessings from on high. May divine authority rest upon them. May Thy pillar go before them and Thy protection and watch care be over them. Wherever they are sent, may they carry the message of salvation and exaltation to all those upon whom they call.
Now Father, bless Thy work in all the earth. It has now spread far and wide among the nations. It is well-grounded in many lands, and graciously received by kings and presidents. Its people are recognized for their strength and goodness. May it roll forth, "clear as the moon, and fair as the sun, and terrible as an army with banners" (D&C 5:14). May it fill the earth, as Thou hast promised.
Now, we declare our love for Thee, our Father and our God. We declare our love for Thy Divine Son, our Redeemer, our Savior, our Lord and King. Accept of our thanks. Accept of our testimonies. Accept of our faith.
With heads bowed, with hearts filled with gratitude, with declarations of love we lift our voices in solemn prayer, and rededicate ourselves and all that we have to Thy divine service and do it in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, amen.
Oklahoma City Temple: A sacred building on sacred ground
By Julie A. Dockstader
Church News staff writer
OKLAHOMA CITY, Okla. — Some 160 years ago, a "Trail of Tears" led into Oklahoma. Thousands of American Indian refugees — Cherokee, Chickasaw, Choctaw, Creek and Seminole — wended their way here on a forced march from the southeast. The path to what the federal government had declared as Indian Territory was marked by sickness and death. Soon, more tribes followed, and then a land rush brought white settlers.
Oklahomans have walked a trail of tears in more recent years, also. A 1995 terrorist bombing and 1999 devastating tornado brought more death, injury and heartache to this heartland of America. But on July 30, 2000, the tears became those of joy for Latter-day Saints with the dedication of the Church's 95th temple — the new Oklahoma City Oklahoma Temple.
On an atypically temperate summer day, nearly 9,000 members from throughout the temple district, which includes Oklahoma, and parts of Kansas, Texas, Arkansas and Missouri, gathered here as President James E. Faust, second counselor in the First Presidency, dedicated the new edifice in four sessions. The white marble temple rests among tall green trees, adjacent a golf course and a small, quiet residential neighborhood. On the same grounds as the temple is the meetinghouse for the Oklahoma City 5th Ward, Oklahoma City Oklahoma Stake.
"It's home," said Anne Pemberton of the Anadarko Branch, Lawton Oklahoma Stake, as she stood gazing at the statue of the Angel Moroni that tops the temple's spire. This tall, slim woman wearing silver bracelets is Delaware Indian, whose mother was born on the original 160-acre tract of land given her ancestors by the government decades ago. Sister Pemberton and her husband, Douglas, live on that land today. In fact, many members of the Anadarko Branch, who are mainly descendants of the children of Lehi, live on land where time has removed the footprints of their ancestors.
But time has not removed their memory. Speaking of what a temple means not only to her family today, but also to those who have gone before, Sister Pemberton added: "It is sacred and on sacred ground. Our ancestors have waited. They rejoice in this day."
"It's what everyone in our community has prayed for," added Brother Pemberton, who is Chippewa Indian, and who recently received five generations of family history and pictures from relatives. "It's a start of something we waited for and looked forward to having our family participate in."
New Oklahoma City temple President H. Jerrel Chesney emphasized the "emotional significance" of having a temple in what was once Indian Territory. "After being driven and suffering as they did, after the government then designated this as the official home of the Lamanite people, now the gospel is here for them with the full benefits [including temple worship]."
Those same benefits are available to all within the Oklahoma City Oklahoma Temple District. "You'll get all the adjectives," said Oklahoma City South stake President David Lawton. "It's awesome. [We've] been waiting so long to attend the temple here that everyone's excited."
For some at the dedication the excitement was tempered by reflection. Sitting outside the temple after the first dedicatory session was Bishop James Alen Howard of the Oklahoma City 2nd Ward, Oklahoma City Oklahoma South Stake. Bishop Howard sat in a black wheelchair. His wife, Shirleen, stood with her hands on his shoulders from behind. Three and a half months ago, he was diagnosed with cancer.
Others who speak of Bishop Howard describe him as a man full of energy. Though physically weaker now, he was determined to attend the dedication of the temple. "This day is just the climax of the struggles of a family that's gone on for a long time," Bishop Howard told the Church News. "I was honored to see four children out of six in the celestial room for the dedication. It helps my testimony to know God lives and Jesus is the Christ. This is His edifice we've dedicated so we can do His work."
Speaking of his illness, he added: "We've put it in the Lord's hands. I'm looking at it that I'm being reassigned."
With tears in her eyes, Sister Howard described a priesthood blessing given to her husband by President Lawton. "When he was being blessed, I got the feeling he was being set apart."
Despite their struggles, there was a feeling of peace and even joy with the Howard family. With their parents were Alen, 23; Debra Walker, 25; David, 21; and Sherilee, 16. Their other daughter, Tamra Ockey, 26, was unable to travel to the temple, and another son, Jonathan, 19, is serving a mission in Barcelona, Spain.
Sitting by the decorative water fountain on the temple grounds, Bishop Howard recalled how in November 1997 when he was called as bishop, he sensed that the Lord's work in Oklahoma was going to accelerate.
With his wife standing behind him, he added, "I can see more of a vision [of that] with a temple here."
Having a vision of what can be accomplished here seemed common among those attending the dedication, whether their ancestors walked paths here nearly two hundred years ago or whether they are first-generation Oklahomans.
Ground broken for first temple in Oklahoma
Turning the ceremonial shovelful of soil during groundbreaking services for a new temple is symbolic of "turning our lives over to Christ and keeping His commandments." Elder Rex D. Pinegar of the Seventy and president of the North America Southwest Area declared July 3.
Speaking at services for the Oklahoma City Oklahoma Temple prior to participating in the groundbreaking, Elder Pinegar spoke of the importance of faith and family. He said having a temple in an area can aid members in developing their faith and building strung families. He added that having a temple in Oklahoma City would help the youth of the temple district in seeing clearly their future and what the Lord expects of them.Some 360 people were in attendance on this hot, humid summer day, including members of the local media. Pat Gilliland, religion editor for The Daily Oklahoman, who was in attendance, ran four positive articles during the week of the groundbreaking. Providing music for the occasion was the Oklahoma City 1st Ward choir.
In his remarks, Elder Pinegar also referred to the deadly tornado which struck Oklahoma City May 3, (Please see May 15, 1999, Church News) After the tornado, he said he toured the devastated areas and saw little standing but the people, which showed they were people of faith. He also spoke of how Church members reached out to help others simply because they wanted to help.
Also speaking during the groundbreaking services were Elder J. Michael Moeller, an Area Authority Seventy, and other local leaders, Elder Moeller spoke of the tragedies that have occurred in Oklahoma City in the last few years. (A bomb destroyed a federal building in April 1995, killing dozens, including one Church member. Please see April 1995, Church News) Having a temple in this area, Elder Moeller added, is a great blessing.
He also explained how Isaiah opened his writings by talking about temples and that Daniel spoke of a stone cut out of the mountain without hands that would fill the whole earth. This temple, he said, is part of that stone.