Announced: Nov. 15, 1968.
Location: Wooded site in Kensington, Md., near Exit 33 of the Capital Beltway (Interstate 495); 9900 Stoneybrook Dr., Kensington, MD (301) 588-0650.
Site: Selected in 1962; 52 acres.
Exterior finish: Alabama white marble.
Temple design: Design portrays the Church as "a light to the world," with three towers to the east representing the Melchizedek Priesthood leadership, and those to the west, the Aaronic Priesthood leadership.
Architects: Fred L. Markham, Henry P. Fetzer, Harold K. Beecher, Keith W. Wilcox, under general direction of Church architect Emil B. Fetzer.
Contractor: Jacobsen, Okland, and Sidney Foulger construction companies.
Rooms: Baptistry, celestial room, six ordinance rooms, 14 sealing rooms, seven floors.
Total floor area: 160,000 square feet.
Dimensions of building: 240 feet long, 136 feet wide, not including annex or bridge to temple proper.
District: 36 stakes and districts in Washington D.C., Pennsylvania, Virginia, Maryland, New Jersey, New York.
Groundbreaking, site dedication: Dec. 7, 1968, by President Hugh B. Brown.
Dedication: Nov. 19-22, 1974, by President Spencer W. Kimball; 10 sessions.
Done by President Spencer W. Kimball
Our Holy Father in heaven, thou who hast created our spirits and the heavens and the earth and all things therein, thou most glorious one, perfect in mercy and love and truth, in the name of thy greatly Beloved Son, Jesus Christ, we come to thee this day in this beautiful edifice, to dedicate it unto thee, our living God.
We praise thy Holy Name, our Beloved Father. We are grateful that thou didst cause this land to be rediscovered and settled by people who founded a great nation with an inspired constitution guaranteeing freedom in which there could come the glorious restoration of the gospel and the Church of thy Beloved Son.
And now we present to thee this beautiful temple, provided by the sacrifice of thy people who love thee devotedly.
We are thankful that thou didst send thine Only Begotten Son to this earth to be its Savior, and thou didst send a Prophet, Joseph Smith, called and named long before his birth to bring about the restoration, and that thou and thy Beloved Son didst deign to appear to the Prophet in person, to foil the evil one, and to open the heavens and to restore to the world the knowledge of thee and thy Son and thy holy purposes, through revelations.
We are grateful that this, thy son, Joseph Smith, till the day of his martyrdom, and his successors to this day, are recipients of thy revelations through which the priesthood, the apostleship, the temple work, and all facets of the true and complete gospel have been restored, and holy men have delivered the keys of the kingdom and all vital work for the living and the dead, to bring them to eternal life.
We are grateful for the preservation of the gold plates so that the Book of Mormon, the most correct book, might be restored with all its glorious truths, to show to the house of Israel "… that they may know the covenants of the Lord … and also to the convincing of the Jew and Gentile that Jesus is the Christ, the Eternal God . …" (Title page, Book of Mormon.)
Our Father, we bless thy Holy Name and magnify thee day by day as thou sittest enthroned in glory, might, and dominion, and with an infinitude of power and glory; increase our faith, as we remember the glorious deliverances of the past, that we may not falter, but may accomplish all thy holy purposes.
Our Father, bless us that we may live thy commandments and follow thy program. Please forgive us our trespasses as we totally repent, and let us earn and enjoy the rich blessings thou hast promised to the faithful.
Father, we know that the wicked have been punished in the past with famine and pestilence and want and sorrow and war. We pray that thy people may repent and follow thy commandments and be able to avert such calamities as others have suffered before us.
We are greatly concerned, our Father, with the widespread wickedness in this world, the blasphemy, the corruption, the pollution, and the immorality, and we are reminded of days long past when the cities of the plains were destroyed, when cities were sacked and buildings razed and people taken prisoner, to become slaves of enemy nations. We remember the devastation of a flood which was to cleanse the earth from pollution of men, and now we see all the sins of the past being portrayed before our eyes again, when people worship the permissiveness of so-called freedoms, walking blindly into the traps which must terminate in destructive calamities. Bless them, Father, that they may return to thee in total righteousness.
Father, we are concerned with the political world of today and that nations seem to need only the lighting of a match to bring war and desolation and destruction. Bless, we pray thee, the leaders of nations, that they may rule wisely and righteously and give thy people freedom to worship thee in truth and righteousness. Stay the powers, our Father, that would bring us to the brink of annihilation.
Bless all people, our Father, that they may prosper, but not more than their faith can stand.
Our Father, bless the leaders of thy kingdom here upon the earth; reveal thy mind and will to them. Let them be true to righteousness today, tomorrow, and until the scene is folded up.
Our Father, in blessing thy people with prosperity, we pray that they may not be surfeited with flocks and herds and acres and barns and wealth which would bring them to worship these false gods.
Insomuch as the nations repent and follow thee, be gracious, our Father, and let thy destroying angel be pacified and let thy people be forgiven. Be merciful, O Lord, with thy repentant ones when they have suffered and transformed their lives.
Our gracious Father, we remember vividly the commands of thy Son to "Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature." (Mark 16:15.)
Our Father, our efforts to fulfill this command seem small and infantile, not wholly rewarding. Give us, we pray, hearts of determination that we, thy people, may make such sacrifices as are necessary; that our sons may live righteously through their growing years and strive for spiritual excellence to be worthy to take the gospel to the nations of the world.
Our gracious Father, there are national gates which seemingly need to be unlocked and doors that need to be opened, and hearts of kings, presidents, emperors, and ministers which need to be softened, that they may permit the gospel to be taken to their people.
Our Father, bless the countless millions in the world, that they may receive thy truth, and bless the missionaries on whom the sun never sets, that nothing will prevail against them in their faithful presentation of thy gospel to the world, and bless especially, our Father, the children of thy people in overseas countries that they may devote their sons to this holy work. Wherein we have failed, help us to see our duties; wherein we have been prevented, open the doors, we pray, and swing the gates wide open and let thy servants cover the earth with their testimonies.
Our Almighty Father, increase our faith as we remember the glorious deliverances of the past. We remember that thy powerful hand did reveal thyself in the unconsumed "burning bush" in the desert. Thou didst reveal thy power in delivering the children of Israel from captivity in Egypt; thou didst deliver Noah and his posterity from the raging sea; thou didst lead the Lehite family across impossible deserts and uncrossable seas; thou didst protect Daniel in the lions’ den; thou didst open prison doors and thou didst lead the modern Saints across the plains to the mountain valleys.
With these and numerous other events, we know that thou canst unlock gates and open doors, that we may present to the people of this world thy exalting program as thy Beloved Son has decreed. So we pray, lead our missionaries to all nations with their testimonies of the truth and successfully bridge all barriers.
Our Father in heaven, our hearts go out to the Lamanites. Give them listening ears and understanding hearts. Let them believe; cause that they may commune with thee and rid themselves of all "other gods" and superstitions and fears; let them grow mighty in thy cause. Bless them that they may know the covenants of the Lord, that they may believe the gospel and rely upon the merits of Jesus Christ, and be glorified through faith in his name, and that through their repentance they might be saved.
Our gracious Heavenly Father, bless, we pray thee, thy leaders. We are grateful for all the presidents from Joseph Smith, Jr., to President Harold B. Lee, and thank thee for the rich contribution that each has made to thy cause. Bless, we pray thee, the incumbent president, and reveal thy mind and will to him and his counselors, that together they may give inspired leadership to thy program on the earth. Give to them wisdom, judgment, peace, protection, inspiration, and thy revelations continually. Likewise, we pray for the Twelve Apostles, that they may properly take the gospel to every soul of the earth. Give them thy holy revelations also. Bless the Patriarch to the Church, the Assistants to the Twelve, the First Council of Seventy, and the Presiding Bishopric, the Regional Representatives of the Twelve, the stake and mission leaders, the wards and branches, the educational institutions, the auxiliaries, and all thy people in every area who give concerted action to bring growth and development to thy Church.
Bless, we pray thee, the presidency of this temple and the matron and all the officiators herein. Endow them with wisdom; help them create a holy atmosphere in this place so that all ordinances may be done with a sweet, spiritual tone that will cause the people to greatly desire to be here. Bless also the watchmen, the guards, and the officials who look after every part and portion of this edifice.
We are so grateful, our Father, that thy Son has thrown wide open the doors of the prisons for the multitudes who are waiting in the spirit world.
Wilt thou deign to make this temple thy house and let holy angels visit it to deliver thy messages, as the rushing of mighty winds with power and glory.
Holy Father, we are grateful that thou didst permit the appearance on the earth of Peter, James, and John to bring the Melchizedek Priesthood and the apostleship to thy servants, Joseph Smith and associates, and through them to us.
Our Holy Father, we have watched with great concern our brethren of Judah. We have seen their persecutions and torture and sufferings, and we pray that the hour may speedily come when they will believe the gospel, accept thy Son as their Savior, and be redeemed.
Bless the people who come into this building for their sealings, marriages, anointings, and other ordinances. Bless this place that it may be a house of prayer, a house of fasting, a house of faith, a house of glory, a house of eternal marriage, a house of sealings, and the house of God, even thy house, wherein the holy saving work may be done by the living for the countless dead.
Bless those who come here, that their hands may be holy as they lift them high, and that no unclean thing shall ever be permitted to come into this, thy house, to pollute it.
We ask thee, Holy Father, to confound and confuse and shame all who lie and spread false reports against thy servants, that all their destructive works may be brought to naught.
Our Holy Father. we pray that thou wilt bless this great nation, organized here on the choicest of all choice lands. Bless the President of this nation, the Congress, the Justice Department, the Cabinet, the lawmakers and the law enforcers in states, counties, and cities, that liberty may continue to be the foundation stone.
Our Holy Father, hear our pleadings; accept our penance; forgive our sins; and help us in our endeavors. Let thy blessings flow from thy heaven where thou sittest enthroned in glory, honor, power, majesty and might, dominion, truth and justice, judgment, mercy, and an infinity of fullness from everlasting to everlasting.
And now, our great and kind Father, accept this house, we pray. We dedicate it unto thee for thy holy and righteous purposes and put upon it thy name. Let us sing hosannahs to thee and the Lamb, and let these, thine anointed ones, be clothed in salvation, that thy Saints shall shout for joy.
And now, our Father, we ask thee to accept this house, the workmanship of the hands of thy servants, this house in which thou canst dwell forever.
We pray thee, Father, to accept this building in all its parts, from the foundation to the capstone and to all in between, and sanctify it and consecrate it.
From the lowest stone to the highest spire, on which the statue of Moroni stands, we ask thee to accept and protect.
Please bless these walls, that they decay not, and the partitions and floors and roof, the bridges, the elevators, and the stairways. Bless the lighting, the heating equipment, the boilers, the dynamos, the connecting pipes and wires, the lamps, the furniture, and articles of all kinds.
Bless also the veils, the altars, the curtains, the rugs, the baptismal font, and the oxen, the safes, the vaults, the record books, and the documents; bless all the furnishings, the seats, the cushions, the hangings, the locks, and all the appliances and appurtenances, including ornamentation, all work in wood and metal, the embroidery and needlework, the pictures and statuary, the silk, the wool, and the cotton;
The glass, the china, and all else herein, we humbly present for thine acceptance, thy sanctifying blessings, and thy protection.
Our Father, we present the altars before which thy servants and handmaidens will receive their blessings and sealings, and we pray that such may be kept holy.
With the buildings, we present the land on which they are built, the walks and fences and ornamental beds and trees and plants and flowers and shrubbery. May they blossom beautifully and be pleasant to all, that these hillsides may be a haven of peace and rest and holy meditation.
Father, we beg of thee to protect this building and appurtenances from injury and destruction by fire or flood or the rage of the elements, shafts of lightning and blasts of hurricanes, the upheaval of earthquakes, and all disturbing factors; O Lord, we beg of thee, protect it.
Now gracious Father, permit thy loyal, loving people to praise thy Holy Name forever in all nations with all kindreds and tongues and people, and let them cry with a loud voice before thy throne and before the Lamb of God, saying, "Salvation to our God which sitteth upon the throne and unto the Lamb," and let us in unison "praise thee, saying, Blessing and honor and glory and wisdom and thanksgiving, power and might be unto our God and His Son forever and ever."
And now, by the power of the holy priesthood thou hast given us, we dedicate this building and all that is connected therewith and all its furnishings and contents to thee, our Holy Father, and ask thy blessings upon it. In the worthy name of Thy Beloved Son, Jesus Christ, our Redeemer. Amen and Amen and Amen.
Powerful messages seen in temple view
“As we contemplated the powerful messages delivered by Washington DC Temple President Earl C. Tingey and Elder Jay E. Jensen of the Presidency of the Seventy, we turned back to look at the temple. We were struck with how vividly the temple emerged from the darkness and seemed to represent the hope of the Gospel and power of the Atonement. The festive purple lights in the trees leading to the temple entrance reminded us of Sister Joanne Tingey’s comment of how during Christmas time the world is blessed with the feeling that we have inside the temple every day.”
— This account, and the accompanying photograph, was provided to Church News by Brother Tom Hawkins, who, with his wife Sister Julie Hawkins, attended a temple workers’ devotional held at the Washington DC Temple, Dec. 14, 2008.
Submitted by Tom Hawkins, Medford Ward, Cherry Hill New Jersey Stake
Shining lights at Washington D.C. Temple
Message of ceremony: Service brightens life
Everyone can be a light for someone else, said Elder Neil L. Andersen of the Presidency of the Seventy during the Christmas lighting ceremony at the Washington D.C. Temple on Thursday, Dec. 4.
In the visitors center, with the large Christus statue behind them and the stately temple looming large through the picture-glass windows before them, India Ambassador Ronen Sen and his wife, Kaltana Sen, joined Elder Andersen in flipping the switch illuminating nearly half a million lights on the temple grounds.
Each year for 31 years, dignitaries and delegates from nations around the world have been invited to share in the festival of lights. Senior missionaries serving at the visitors center tell how visiting dignitaries frequently express their joy at participating, saying that there are many lighting ceremonies in Washington, D.C., but this ceremony brings the happiest feelings.
Following comments by Ambassador Sen, Elder Andersen addressed the international guests and their families.
“We are here tonight to celebrate the beauty of light,” he said. “Don’t we each love light”
He continued, “Whatever our country, culture or religious persuasion, we have all felt the power and goodness of someone who has been a light to us; someone who has made our life better because of their unselfish and giving service. We can think of our parents, our grandparents, a teacher who has enlarged our thinking; our service men and women who have preserved our freedom; or maybe a friend who has shown an interest in us when we have felt alone.
“I want to thank each person here for being a light to someone else. I would encourage each of us at this Christmas season to thank those who have been our lights and have helped us find our way.”
Elder Andersen recalled a personal experience of a stranger’s goodness and unselfishness to him and his family. It was 18 years ago when he was serving as president of the Bordeaux mission in France.
“It was Dec. 24, 1990,” he said. “We had been on a service project in the very southern part of France. Now we were on our way home.
“We were 10 people in a 10-passenger van” that included his wife, four children and four missionaries.
The blue van was filled with the Christmas spirit. Two daughters, Camey and Kristen, 14 and 10 at the time, were very excited as they anticipated the surprises Christmas morning would bring.
But the van began to falter, with only one gear working, limiting its speed to 5 miles per hour. It broke down in front of a country inn in Villeneuve-de-Marsan. There was little activity on Christmas Eve in the small French village.
Elder Andersen entered the inn to inquire about a place to stay for the night, meeting owner Francis Darroze. After Elder Andersen explained their plight and asked about rooms, Mr. Darroze looked at the children and said, “Of course, I have rooms here. But you do not want to spend Christmas Eve here in the inn. Children should be home as they await the excitement of Christmas morning. I will lend you my car and you can go to Bordeaux tonight.”
“I was amazed at his thoughtfulness,” Elder Andersen said. “Most people would view strangers, especially foreigners like us, with caution. I thanked him, but explained that there were 10 of us and a small French car would never be sufficient.”
Mr. Darroze hesitated, then said he had an old van at his farm that “will travel at only about 45 miles per hour, and I am not certain the heater works well. But if you want it, I will drive you to my farm to get it.”
Elder Andersen said, “The children jumped for joy. I reached into my pocket for my cash or credit cards. He quickly shook his head and his finger in disapproval.
” ‘No,’ he said, ‘I will take nothing. You can bring my van back to me when you get time after Christmas. It is Christmas Eve. Take your family home.’ “
Back in Bordeaux just after midnight, “Kathy and I said a prayer of gratefulness for our own Christmas miracle,” Elder Andersen said.
“We were home on Christmas Eve, even though in Villeneuve-de-Marsan there was room in the inn.
“Mr. Francis Darroze was a beacon of light to us on that Christmas Eve so many years ago,” Elder Andersen said.
“I pray that our family, our children, are more unselfish, more willing to help those in need, having seen the example of a man who was a stranger to us, a Frenchman being kind beyond expression to foreigners living in his country.”