Redlands California Temple

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Announced: April 20, 2001.

Location: Corner of Wabash and Fifth Ave., (1761 Fifth Ave.) Redlands, CA.

Site: 4.55 acres.

Exterior finish: Light gray granite.

Temple design: Southern California traditional.

Architects: Lloyd Platt & Associates, with associate firm of Higginson & Cartozian.

Project manager: Jerry Sears.

Contractor: Layton Construction Co.

Rooms: Celestial room, baptistry, two ordinance rooms and three sealing rooms.

Total floor area: 17,279 square feet.

Dimensions: 200 feet by 98 feet.

District: 21 stakes in San Bernardino and Riverside counties.

Groundbreaking, site dedication: Dec. 1, 2001 by Elder Dieter F. Uchtdorf.

Dedication: Sept. 14, 2003, by President Gordon B. Hinckley; 4 sessions.


Dedicatory Prayer

Done by President Gordon B. Hinckley

O Lord God of Israel, Thou great Elohim who presides over the universe, in the name of Thy Beloved Son, our Redeemer, we come unto Thee in solemn prayer to dedicate this Thy holy house. Hear our prayer, Almighty God, and answer our pleadings.

We love Thee, and we love Thy Son. We love Thy Church. We love the Prophet Joseph. We love all who have assisted in any way in the establishment of this Thy great work in the fulness of times.

Acting in the name of our Lord, even our Redeemer, and in the authority of that priesthood which comes from Thee, we dedicate and consecrate unto Thee and Thy Beloved Son this the Redlands California Temple of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Wilt Thou accept of this our offering unto Thee. Wilt Thou deign to visit it and sanctify it by Thy holy presence. Let Thy Spirit dwell here at all times and in all circumstances.

We dedicate the beautiful grounds on which it stands, together with the gardens with which it is surrounded. We dedicate the structure from the footings to the figure of Moroni which crowns its steeple. We dedicate the walls. May they stand firm and whole against any trembling of the earth. We dedicate the beautiful baptistry, where sacred ordinances will be performed in behalf of those beyond the veil of death, even our own forebears. We dedicate all of those facilities associated with the endowment, which Thou hast revealed unto Thy people. We dedicate the beautiful Celestial Room, which reminds us of that kingdom and of that glory to which we may attain after stepping through the veil of death. We dedicate the sealing rooms with their sacred altars, where Thy children may be joined together under the authority of the everlasting priesthood for time and eternity in the bonds of marriage and family life.

We dedicate every facility and feature of this Thy house.

May it be sacred to all who enter its doors, and may these portals never be breached by anyone unworthy to enter. May those who pass by look upon it as the house of the Lord, and do so with reverence and respect. Hold back the hand of the vandal or anyone who would in any way deface it. May it stand strong against the storms of nature.

Father, this beautiful structure has come of the consecrations of Thy Saints in all the world. Bless them for their faith and faithfulness. Open the windows of heaven, as Thou hast promised through the prophet Malachi, and pour down blessings upon them that there shall not be room enough to receive them.

We pray for the temple presidency and the matron and her assistants, and for all who shall serve here. Grant unto them strength and vitality. May their eyes be single to Thy glory and the accomplishment of Thy purposes.

May Thy great plan of happiness be unfolded within these walls in behalf of Thy children of all generations.

Our dear Father, we pray for a special blessing upon those who shall go forth from this house to teach the truths of the everlasting gospel at home and abroad. May they be endowed in this Thy house with Thy power, and wilt Thou be with them as Thou hast promised. Be on their right hand and on their left, and let Thy Holy Spirit be in their hearts, and Thine angels round about them to bear them up. (see D&C 84:88). Seal upon them the “testimony of the covenant” (D&C 109:38) that they may go forth as messengers of eternal truth.

As was said at Kirtland, “Remember all thy church, O Lord, with all their families, and all their immediate connections, with all their sick and afflicted ones, with all the poor and meek of the earth; that the kingdom, which thou hast set up without hands, may become a great mountain and fill the whole earth;

“That thy church may come forth out of the wilderness of darkness, and shine forth fair as the moon, clear as the sun, and terrible as an army with banners” (D&C 109:72-73).

Father, our people are not strangers to this area. Not long after settling the Salt Lake Valley, some of them came to this region to establish an outpost of Thy Church. Thy work has more recently been firmly planted here. Wilt Thou cause it to grow and flourish and touch many hearts that they may turn to Thee and learn of Thy ways and do Thy will and bidding.

We are grateful for the spirit of hospitality which we have experienced here. May it increase that we may live in harmony with our neighbors, walking as examples before them. We pray that many may be constrained in their hearts to learn more of Thy great plan of salvation, that the mantle of membership may come upon them and enfold them.

Father dear, bless this state of California that its people may be strong and wise in their decisions, that they might be prosperous and free. And bless our nation, we humbly pray. May the Constitution which was established and ordained by our forebears, and which came of Thine inspiration and direction, ever stand as a bulwark against tyranny and oppression. May peace and freedom reign in the land.

We invoke Thy blessings upon those who have been called to responsibilities of leadership in Thy work. Grant them health, strength, and above all, revelation that Thy people may be led in truth and righteousness before Thee.

Now, our Beloved Father in Heaven, we desire to do Thy will in all things. We wish to walk as Thou hast ordained we should walk.

We pledge to Thee our faith, our love, all honor and glory and thanks, Holy Father, and to Thy Beloved Son in whose sacred name we offer our petition unto Thee, even the name of the Lord Jesus Christ. Amen.


Redlands California Temple dedicated in ‘Inland Empire’

President Hinckley dedicates edifice near San Bernardino Mountains

By Greg Hill

Church News staff writer

REDLANDS, Calif. — President Gordon B. Hinckley dedicated the Redlands California Temple on Sept. 14, 2003, in what is known as the “Inland Empire,” an area of the state at the base of the San Bernardino Mountains that has deep roots in the history of the Church.

San Bernardino was given permanent roots when President Brigham Young sent colonists there in 1851. They followed a trail marked out earlier by remnants of the Mormon Battalion journeying to the Salt Lake Valley after their discharge from the army in California. Those colonists built homes and farms. They established a way station where converts arriving from many parts of the world at Pacific ports could prepare for the desert trek to the Salt Lake Valley. That created an ethnically and culturally diverse community.

The Church presence almost completely disappeared when President Young called colonists home during the Utah War in 1857, but it is flourishing again thanks in great part to modern pioneers.

Now they have a temple built on the western edge of the Rancho San Bernardino, land which the original pioneers purchased for their new colony.

Before the temple was built, members in San Bernardino County already had reasonable access to temples in Los Angeles, San Diego, and Las Vegas, Nev.

The distances can be deceiving, though. Alben Chamberlain of the San Bernardino 2nd Ward, San Bernardino California Stake, pointed out that because of traffic congestion in the Los Angeles area, travel is measured in time — it’s a three-hour drive to the Los Angeles temple — rather than distance because it’s a 75-mile drive to the Los Angeles temple.

The Redlands temple, of the current smaller design, will serve some 70,000 Church members from Riverside and San Bernardino counties, most of whom have convenient access. It is located a short distance off Interstate 10, the main east-west artery through the “Inland Empire.” Approximately 23,000 of those members ages 8 and older attended one of the four dedicatory sessions either in the temple or in one of the eight stake centers where the proceedings were broadcast via satellite.

Built on what was an orange grove adjacent to the Redlands California Stake Center, the imposing and beautifully landscaped temple is surrounded by new development as well as orange groves.

Glenn Franks of the Upland 5th Ward, Upland California Stake, said he noticed that just before the temple was announced in 2001 there was a migration of members — “new pioneers” — to the Redlands area who added even more strength to the membership. Speaking of the temple location and the movement of members, Brother Franks said, “Between the population expansion toward Palm Springs and the existing saints toward the Los Angeles County line, this is a natural center.”

John Finau of the Rancho Cucamonga California Stake, who grew up in Utah, said many Utahns who have California roots have moved back to the San Bernardino area to be part of a “colony” of the Church there. A number of them trace their roots back to early Mormon pioneers.

He and his wife, A. Maopa, are relatively modern pioneers in the area who met and married in Tonga. Brother Finau left Utah as a young man to follow his roots back to Tonga. While there, he was called on a mission to the island nation. His wife, who grew up in Tonga, also served a mission there. After their missions, they met in Tonga and were married. They moved back to Utah where he went into the construction business, then, many years ago, to Southern California where Brother Finau’s construction work wasn’t so subject to severe weather.

They attended the final dedicatory session in the temple where Sister Finau was a member of the choir. A talented singer, she said she wanted to sing in a choir at the temple in Tonga, but was serving as a missionary on another island at the time.

“I’ve been waiting 25 years to sing at a temple dedication, and now I have,” she said gratefully. “It has blessed our family to be a part of this dedication.”

Adding to the spirit and reverent continuity of the dedication day was an army of young single adults from the Riverside 1st Ward, Riverside California Stake, and Crafton Hills Ward, Redlands California Stake. Serving as ushers, they checked tickets, gave directions and encouraged reverence on the temple grounds. Jay Sanders, recently returned from the India Bangalore Mission, was one of those who signed up as a volunteer the week before in the Crafton Hills Ward. He echoed the sentiment of many of the ushers saying, “It’s a special day and I just wanted to be around and do whatever I could to help. We’ll always remember this day.”

The impression from those attending the dedication was that having a temple in an area of such concentrated membership is a privilege requiring increased service, service they are willing to give.

Brother Chamberlain and his wife, Georgia, believe the response to the temple was tremendous, beginning at the time of the announcement. During a visit to the temple the night before the dedication, they recalled the way members, with positive support from the community in general, did what they were asked to do from the beginning of construction through the open house and dedication.

For example, they said members eagerly accepted assignments to provide meals for construction workers and volunteered to staff the many positions required for a successful open house attended by 140,000. Sister Chamberlain said the Primary had a project to collect rocks to be placed under the foundation of the temple and fountains on the grounds. The Primary children, and many others, painted pictures and wrote messages on the rocks, she said. Brother Chamberlain said that looking at the rocks, the broad base of the Church in the area was evident as messages were written in a multitude of languages.

They said the Primary children also donated pennies to help pay for the arcs of towering palm trees which enfold the temple in dramatic beauty on the front and back.

Ultimately, the temple service of the members in the “Inland Empire” today seems a fitting tribute to the valiant pioneers who originally colonized the area through sacrifices of their own.

E-mail: [email protected]


First Vision window to grace new temple

Treasure to members who sacrificed during the difficult Depression years

By Marilyn Mills

Church News contributor

SAN BERNARDINO, Calif. — After the first chapel was built in San Bernardino, Calif., in 1933, a large art glass window depicting the First Vision and over a dozen small windows or icons showing various aspects of Church history were installed. They were considered a real treasure to the members who had sacrificed for the chapel and its windows during the difficult Depression years.

Redlands California Temple
Redlands California Temple Credit: Intellectual Reserve Inc.

The windows will become part of the new Redlands California Temple.

Church membership grew in the region. In 1935 President Heber J. Grant, accompanied by Elder John A. Widtsoe of the Quorum of the Twelve, organized the San Bernardino Stake on February 3, as the 111th stake of the Church. The building was finally dedicated on October 9, 1943. In 1960, it was deemed necessary to sell the building — windows and all — because it had no off-street parking for the growing wards.

Once the building was sold, San Bernardino Ward Bishop Charles W. Eastwood tried to buy the First Vision window but the pastors of the Protestant faith that had bought the building would not allow its removal. Finally, in 1978, after repeated requests, a new pastor allowed it to be taken if it would be replaced with amber glass.

Some time later, the icons were also obtained and put into storage.

Brother Eastwood and his wife, Laurie, became the custodians of the window and began to search for an artisan to restore the dirty and broken panes of art glass. Sister Eastwood, daughter of famous Latter-day Saint artist Minerva Teichert, had a special interest to see these works of art preserved.

Meanwhile, Brother Eastwood, now patriarch of the Highland California Stake, solicited private donations for the restoration work.

The First Vision window was finally installed in the Pacific Chapel in San Bernardino and unveiled on March 7, 1979.

When the Redlands California Temple was announced, Sister Eastwood initiated efforts to obtain the window for permanent display in the temple.

“I felt impressed that this exquisite piece of art should be in the temple,” recounted Sister Eastwood. “In the temple thousands will enjoy its beauty and message.”

The icons have also now been restored by John Heiss of the Upland California Stake. Brother Heiss spent hundreds of hours taking apart, cleaning, repairing and reassembling each small window. Time has made the windows very fragile and hard to handle but his long years of experience with art glass helped him to save every window. They will be on display as part of the Redlands California Temple open house tour Aug. 9-Sept. 26, except Sundays. The temple will be dedicated Sept. 14.