For the first time in nearly a quarter-century, the recently renovated Columbus Ohio Temple opened its doors literally and virtually Monday, April 24, as media day kicked off the public open house phase for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints’ house of the Lord in Ohio’s capital city.
Joining the media in the day’s tours was Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine, who was hosted by a trio of the Church’s General Authority Seventies — Elder Allen D. Haynie and Elder Vaiangina Sikahema, president and second counselor in the North America Northeast Area presidency, and Elder Kevin R. Duncan, executive director of the Temple Department. They were joined by Elder Kevin W. Birch, an Area Seventy.
The temple’s virtual opening came as the Church released a video and series of photographs showing the sacred edifice both inside and out, including rooms used for sacred ordinances by members making covenants with the Lord. The video and photos were published Monday on ChurchofJesusChrist.org.
Closed for renovations for the past three years, the Columbus Ohio Temple will be rededicated by President M. Russell Ballard, Acting President of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, on Sunday, June 4, in two sessions, at 10 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. local time.
The sessions will be broadcast to all units in the temple district, with the temple serving about 57,000 Latter-day Saints in congregations throughout parts of Ohio, Pennsylvania and West Virginia.
Following Monday’s media day and through Friday, April 28, invited guests — including local government, community, education and business leaders — will take walking tours through the renovated house of the Lord. The free public open house tours begin Saturday, April 29, and run through Saturday, May 13, excluding Sundays; reservations can be made online for these tours over the two weeks.
The open house marks the public’s first chance to go inside the temple since the open house held prior to its 1999 dedication.
The announcement of the Aug. 15, 2020, closure of the Columbus temple for renovations came on March 27, 2020, two days after the First Presidency closed all temple operations because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Located some 150 miles south of Kirtland, Ohio, the Columbus temple was dedicated by President Gordon B. Hinckley in September 1999.
Once the headquarters of the Church of Jesus Christ in the 1830s, Kirtland is where early Latter-day Saints dedicated the first temple of the modern era in 1836, having to abandon it two years later. The Community of Christ currently owns and operates the Kirtland Temple.
President Hinckley announced the Columbus Ohio Temple in April 1998; it was dedicated in September of the following year, becoming the Church’s 60th operating temple in President Hinckley’s push to have 100 dedicated temples by the end of 2000, the end of the 20th century.
The Church currently has 176 dedicated temples and 315 total temples that are operating, under construction or renovation or in planning and design.
More than 63,000 Latter-day Saints in nearly 130 congregations reside in Ohio.
ChurchofJesusChrist.org detailed the exterior and interior features of the Columbus Ohio Temple, which is 11,745 square feet and sits on five acres in central Ohio.
Renovations included climate-control improvements to the exterior to enhance energy efficiency as well as improved building acoustics inside. Natural light has been added to some rooms, with some existing windows enlarged to provide even more natural light and include more art glass.
The granite and marble on the temple’s exterior are from Spain, while the temple grounds’ landscaping consists of plants native to the Columbus area. Trees and shrubs include Eastern redbud, Red Sunset maple, magnolias, junipers and boxwoods. The renovated grounds provide a continuous walkway around the temple and additional, larger plaza areas for group gatherings.
The temple incorporates a magnolia blossom throughout its décor, with the blossom inspired by the surrounding landscape and symbolizing purity.
The beige and gold flooring inside the temple consists of Turkish stone with accents of stone from Pakistan. The rugs include warm, geometric lacework patterns on cool background colors. Carpet carvings include similar patterns to the exterior art glass lattice and magnolia blossom.
Decorative painting can be found on the walls and ceilings consistent with the Regency style of the interior. Patterns and motifs of the door hardware include the magnolia flower and the diamond lattice found in the art glass and floor patterns of the temple, with the baptistry and the main entry areas featuring interior art glass.
Sacred artwork throughout the temple illustrates the life of the Savior, stories found in scripture and scenes from nature representative of the central Ohio area.
NOTE: This updates an earlier version with the correct number of rededication sessions and times.