Senators, Supreme Court justices and ambassadors visit renovated Washington D.C. Temple

KENSINGTON, Maryland — In this global area where cultures, business and politics intersect, the iconic Washington D.C. Temple has attracted the attention of millions driving the Capital Beltway for nearly five decades.

Now leaders of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints have a message for all of them: Come and see the temple.

Those who accepted the invitation  included members of the United States Senate, ambassadors, numerous religious and community leaders and several Supreme Court justices.

“Washington, D.C., is a world hub. People come here from around the globe for business, politics, and tourism,” said Elder David A. Bednar of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles. “Latter-day Saints who come to this historic city also are able to worship in the temple.”

Motorists drive on the Capital Beltway with a view of the Washington D.C.Temple in Kensington, Maryland, on Sunday, April 17, 2022.
Motorists drive on the Capital Beltway with a view of the Washington D.C.Temple in Kensington, Maryland, on Sunday, April 17, 2022. Credit: Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News

Now the Church has an opportunity to share the sacred building so guests can sit in the celestial room and feel the peace of the holy edifice. 

“We had the opportunity to take people through the temple who came from a wide variety of religious and professional backgrounds. And for a few minutes, regardless of who they are or where they came from, they could sit in the celestial room and experience supernal peace. I think they were reminded there is a God,” he said.

Property size, building size and building height for the Washington D.C. Temple.   Washington D.C. Temple * Property size: 52 acres * Building size: 156,558 square feet * Building height: 288 feet, including the statue of the Book of Mormon prophet Moroni
Property size, building size and building height for the Washington D.C. Temple. Washington D.C. Temple * Property size: 52 acres * Building size: 156,558 square feet * Building height: 288 feet, including the statue of the Book of Mormon prophet Moroni Credit: Church News graphic

Marking the first time the public will be able to tour the temple since its 1974 dedication, the open house highlights the iconic temple — the first such Latter-day Saint edifice built in the eastern United States. The temple, the Church’s 16th in operation, was announced in 1968 and was dedicated six years later by President Spencer W. Kimball.

The 160,000-square-foot temple sits on 52 acres and serves 123,000 members of the Church in Washington, D.C.; Pennsylvania; Virginia; West Virginia and Maryland. It is located 10 miles north of the United States Capitol.

The original public open house of the Washington D.C. Temple was attended by 758,328 guests, including Betty Ford, wife of then-U.S. President Gerald Ford.

Elder Quentin L. Cook of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles led several United States Supreme Court justices through the temple.

“These exceptionally capable justices were so kind and receptive — they are that kind of people, they’re good people,” Elder Cook said. “To have them understand the temple and the role of the Savior in our lives and the role of families in our lives and the [role of temple] ordinances and be able to share that with them and answer questions — that’s special.”

Elder D. Todd Christofferson of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles led 16 United States senators through the renovated house of the Lord in the nation’s capital.

He hopes those who visit the temple will see that Latter-day Saints aspire to “greater holiness.”

“As it says on the entrance, ‘Holiness to the Lord,’ that is an honest, very sincere desire on our part, and there are considerable efforts made in that direction as part of our temple worship,” he said.  “I hope overall, visitors will see the temple as a monument to Jesus Christ and our faith in Him because without His grace, without His resurrection, the temple really wouldn’t make sense.”

Elder D. Todd Christofferson and his wife, Kathy, pose with several United States senators and other invited guests outside the Washington D.C. Temple on Monday, April 25, 2022.
Elder D. Todd Christofferson and his wife, Kathy, pose with several United States senators and other invited guests outside the Washington D.C. Temple on Monday, April 25, 2022. Credit: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

Elder Gerrit W. Gong of the Quorum of the Twelve said it has been “a tremendous experience” to invite people to finally come and see. “The response has been very warm and welcoming, with really good questions,” he said.

Dates associated with the Washington D.C. Temple.   Washington D.C. Temple Address: 9900 Stoneybrook Drive, Kensington, Maryland 20895-3199 * Original temple announced: Nov. 15, 1968 * Original groundbreaking: Dec. 7, 1968 * Original dedication: Nov. 19–22, 1974 * Renovation construction start: March 5, 2018 * Public open house begins: April 28, 2022 * Rededication: Sunday, Aug. 14, 2022
Dates associated with the Washington D.C. Temple. Washington D.C. Temple Address: 9900 Stoneybrook Drive, Kensington, Maryland 20895-3199 * Original temple announced: Nov. 15, 1968 * Original groundbreaking: Dec. 7, 1968 * Original dedication: Nov. 19–22, 1974 * Renovation construction start: March 5, 2018 * Public open house begins: April 28, 2022 * Rededication: Sunday, Aug. 14, 2022 Credit: Church News graphic

U.S. Sen. Ben Cardin, D-Md., walked through the house of the Lord. He said everything about the temple was “so impressive.” He also said it was good to step away from the everyday bustle and pause to recognize what matters most.

“I’m so glad you’re located in the state of Maryland,” Cardin said of the Church. “You are so much more than just the iconic view we see on the Beltway. … We’re a better community because of your presence.”

Several ambassadors also toured the temple. Among them was Jorge Argüello, Argentina’s ambassador to the United States. He enjoyed the quiet he found inside the sacred edifice.

“It’s so hard to find peace and silence in this world,” Argüello said.

The Washington D.C. Temple open house is currently scheduled through June 11, excluding Sundays. Open house ticket information is available at dctemple.org.

An inscription reading "The House of the Lord" is pictured on The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints' Washington D.C. Temple in Kensington, Maryland, on Tuesday, April 19, 2022.
An inscription reading “The House of the Lord” is pictured on The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints’ Washington D.C. Temple in Kensington, Maryland, on Tuesday, April 19, 2022. Credit: Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News

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