Philadelphia Pennsylvania Mormon Temple

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Philadelphia Pennsylvania Temple
Philadelphia Pennsylvania Temple

On 4 October 2008, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints announced that it would build a new temple in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The Philadelphia Pennsylvania Temple was originally scheduled to be located on the east side of the 400 block of North Broad Street, between Noble and Hamilton Streets in downtown Philadelphia. However, according to Robert B. Smith, a Church leader in Philadelphia, "the church encountered "contamination" problems with that site, prohibiting it from using the entire parcel to construct two buildings." He further stated that the Church was "in the process" of finalizing a sales agreement for 1739 Vine St., now a parking lot owned by Logan Place Associates." The new property is located between 17th and 18th Streets, on the north side of Vine Street, east of the Old Family Courthouse and near the Central Library of the Philadelphia Free Library and the Cathedral Basilica of Saints Peter and Paul.

It is assumed that the Church of Jesus Christ will build the temple according to the same pattern it has used in large metropolitan areas such as Hong Kong and New York City. Therefore, the new sacred edifice would be a multi-purpose high rise building with offices and a visitors' center on the lower floors, and ordinance rooms on the top floors.

Significant Events in Church History in Pennsylvania

Two years prior to the organization of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in 1830, Church President, Joseph Smith, moved to Harmony, Pennsylvania, and lived in the home of Isaac Hale, his father-in-law. After a few weeks, he moved to a cabin adjacent to the farm. It was in this cabin where Joseph Smith translated most of the Book of Mormon: Another Testament of Jesus Christ - a companion volume of scripture to the Bible. Joseph and the first members of the Church were baptized in the Susquehanna River in May 1829. A total of 12 congregations were organized in Pennsylvania in the 1830s, prior to the gatherings of Saints to Ohio, Missouri, and Illinois. One prominent congregation in Philadelphia had more than 200 members before 1840 and eight to ten new members were baptized weekly. Membership fell following the migration of the Saints to the Salt Lake Valley, but grew again as Latter-day Saint European emigrants arrived. Eventually the first stake was organized in 1960 with 1,100 members located in congregations in southeastern Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Delaware, and Maryland.

Another significant event in Church history which occurred in Pennsylvania was the restoration of Priesthood authority. On 15 May 1829, having read about baptism for the remission of sins as they worked on the translation of the gold plates, Joseph Smith and his scribe Oliver Cowdery went to a secluded area to inquire of the Lord concerning the matter. There, on the banks of the Susquehanna River near Harmony, Pennsylvania, they received the answer to their prayer. John the Baptist, a resurrected being, came to them as “a messenger from heaven . . . in a cloud of light.” He conferred upon them the Aaronic Priesthood. Then, in obedience to his instructions, Joseph and Oliver baptized each other and ordained each other to the Aaronic Priesthood. Also in May 1829, the ancient Apostles Peter, James, and John conferred the Melchizedek Priesthood upon Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery. In June 1829, guided “by the gift and power of God” Doctrine and Covenants 135:3, the Prophet Joseph Smith completed the translation of the Book of Mormon. In 1839, Joseph visited Philadelphia to organize a branch of the Church and speak to a gathering of 3,000 people.

Today there are over 52,000 members in Pennsylvania, with 2 missions, 107 congregations. The Philadelphia Pennsylvania Temple was the first temple in the Pennsylvania-New Jersey-Delaware region. The Philadelphia Temple District originally included 10 stakes — seven in Pennsylvania, two in Delaware, and one in New Jersey.

Groundbreaking Ceremony

Philadelphia Pennsylvania Mormon Temple Groundbreaking Ceremony

President Henry B. Eyring, First Counselor in the First Presidency, presided over the groundbreaking ceremony for the Philadelphia Pennsylvania Temple on Saturday, 17 September 2011 — the 224th anniversary of the signing of the Constitution of the United States at Philadelphia's Independence Hall. Attendance at the temple site was by invitation only. The event warranted a long story in the Philadelphia Enquirer.

A Symbolic Landmark

"No other temple built by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints combines a rare downtown location next to a major Catholic basilica, strong historic meaning to both the founding of the faith and a nation, fitting architectural majesty and a church-owned high-rise commercial project." In a Friday, 2 October 2015 Deseret Newsarticle, Elder D. Todd Christofferson of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles stated, "It is in a way symbolic. It's nice to have these two buildings, those key symbols of our faith, the basilica and the temple, side by side almost. I think they complement each other well." The archbishop of Philadelphia, Charles Chaput, who spoke at Brigham Young University (BYU) in 2014, and also during Elder Christofferson's presentation at the World Meeting of Families, commented that Catholics can learn from Latter-day Saints about strengthening families. Elder Christofferson further commented, "here are many ways and venues in which we're participating together, and these great buildings side by side say, 'Here we are, together.'"

According to the Deseret News article, the Latter-day Saint Philadelphia project includes the temple — expected to be complete in 2016, according to published reports — a meetinghouse across the street and a neighboring 32-story residential tower which will have 258 apartments and 13 townhouses, and will also include retail space. "The look of the temple's two towers provides echoes of Independence Hall, the site two miles away where the Founding Fathers signed the Declaration of Independence."

Stake President, Jordan Peterson, a PNC Bank senior vice president who lives in suburban Lansdale, commented, "I've been to the Manhattan Temple many times, and to the Washington D.C. Temple, but Philadelphia is in a really historical and wonderful place. I really believe it's going to be an icon in the city and draw people to it."

Angel Moroni Statue Is Put in Place

Philadelphia Pennsylvania Temple Angel Moroni Statue

On 30 December 2015, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints placed an angel Moroni statue atop the highest spire of its temple in downtown Philadelphia, thus marking a major milestone in the construction of the first Latter-day Saint temple in Pennsylvania. An area seventy and senior Church leader for the Philadelphia region, Elder Milan Kunz, commented, "Mormons in our area have been watching for this visible highlight of the construction period. It indicates the temple is nearing completion and it adds a new image to the skyline of the city." He further stated, “Our temples point us to Jesus Christ. These sacred edifices are houses of the Lord and play a key role in strengthening our faith and commitment to follow Jesus Christ and His teachings.”

Moroni is a prophet from the Book of Mormon, which Latter-day Saints consider scripture and a companion to the Bible for study and teaching. The statue of Moroni is not a figure of worship, but rather a symbol of the fullness of the gospel of Jesus Christ.

A Picturesque Tour of the Philadelphia Pennsylvania Temple

The following pictures from LDS of the inside of the Philadelphia Pennsylvania Temple were officially released by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints on 1 August 2016.

Open House and Cultural Celebration

A public open house for the Philadelphia Pennsylvania Temple was conducted from Wednesday, 10 August 2016, through Friday, 9 September 2016, excluding Sundays.

President Henry B. Eyring, First Counselor in the First Presidency, presided over the cultural celebration which took place the night before the dedication of the temple, on Saturday, 17 September 2016, at Temple University.

The Philadelphia Pennsylvania Temple Is Dedicated

The Philadelphia Pennsylvania Temple was dedicated as the 152nd temple of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Sunday, 18 September 2016. It is the first temple in Philadelphia and the state. President Henry B. Eyring, the First Counselor in the First Presidency of the Church, dedicated the temple in three sessions 9:00 a.m., 12:00 noon, and 3:00 p.m. The dedicatory sessions were broadcast to all Church meetinghouses in Pennsylvania and those in the Philadelphia Temple district.

President Eyring has a close bond to this particular temple since he was born and lived in New Jersey and was baptized in Philadelphia as a boy.

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