San Diego California Temple

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The San Diego California Temple, the 47th constructed and 45th operating temple of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, was announced on 7 April 1984. It was the third temple built in California, following the Los Angeles California Temple (1956) and the Oakland California Temple (1964). The architects for the temple were William S. Lewis, Jr., design architect; Dennis Hyndman, project architect; and Shelly Hyndman, interior design architect. The Hyndmans, who are Roman Catholic, had not toured the interior of a Latter-day Saint temple until the Las Vegas Nevada Temple open house commenced in 1989.

The 72,000 square foot sacred edifice consisting of four ordinance rooms and eight sealing rooms, located on a 7.2-acre landmark at 7474 Charmant Drive, near the La Jolla community of San Diego, adjacent to the main thoroughfare between San Diego and Los Angeles, reaches 190 feet in the air. Every day, tens of thousands of cars travel the freeway and see the temple with its gleaming white exterior.[1]. The temple was built with two main spires, but unique to this temple are four smaller spires at the base of each main spire. The East spire is topped with a gold-leafed statue of the Angel Moroni. According to

Connecting the towers at the center is a supernal star-shaped atrium filled with a healthy, colorful garden. The atrium is accessed from the breathtaking two-story Celestial Room filled with towering art glass, suspended light fixtures, and featuring a grand staircase to an upper-level balcony.

Groundbreaking, Site Dedication, and Installation of Angel Moroni Statue

After suffering a mild heart attack four months earlier, President Ezra Taft Benson made his first trip outside the Salt Lake Valley to break ground and dedicate the site for the San Diego California Temple on 27 February 1988. It was his first time presiding over a temple groundbreaking.

On Monday, 23 December 1991, the 186th anniversary of the birth of the Prophet Joseph Smith, a gilded statue of the angel Moroni was installed atop the eastern spire of the San Diego California Temple. Shortly after the setting, a traveling flock of seagulls—a bird of symbolic significance to the Church—circled the new statue about three times before continuing on its course.

History of Mormons in San Diego

Latter-day Saints, have lived in San Diego for nearly 166 years. On 29 January 1847, the soldiers of the Mormon Battalion entered San Diego, completing the longest infantry march in the history of the United States Army. Recruited to help secure California in the Mexican War, these pioneers left their wives and children and marched more than 2,000 miles from Fort Leavenworth, Kansas to the Presidio of San Diego. After the Mexican War, some members of the Mormon Battalion settled in California.

San Diego California Temple Dedication

Due to President Benson's ailing health he was unable to preside at the dedication of the San Diego California Temple. President Gordon B. Hinckley was assigned to dedicate the temple in 23 sessions 25–30 April 1993 where 49,273 persons attended. President Hinckley cautioned the members to never lose sight of the purpose of temples, "the whole purpose is to provide a place where we can worship God according to the dictates of our own conscience, exercise the priesthood that has been restored in its fullness and receive the blessings that are administered only in these holy houses." [2]

The Sights and Sounds of Christmas

The best noncommercial display of Christmas lights in the San Diego region is perhaps the one that surrounds the 22-year-old San Diego California Temple, a tradition that has been celebrated for the past seven years.

The director of grounds and lights within the Sights and Sounds of Christmas Committee, Ken Carr, commented, "It’s a big undertaking. More than 3,000 individual strings of lights totaling over 150,000 lights plus wreaths, stars and a Nativity are set up by 300-plus young adults (ages 18-30) from throughout the San Diego area." He estimates that it takes approximately 2,500 hours to create the magic and the wonder each year, with work done Saturdays beginning in October and finished by late November in time for the official lighting the day after Thanksgiving.

Carr told Times of San Diego that the reason that Mormons so hard on the lights and music is because they want "to let their friends and neighbors know that they are Christian — that they believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God, the Savior of the world and that He is the center of their religion. They hope to provide a welcoming, peaceful and sacred environment for anyone who wants to come during this most spiritual of seasons."

The grounds stay lighted through New Year’s Day.


  1. "45th Temple Dedicated: Dream becomes reality as temple is dedicated", LDS Church News, May 1993
  2. "The First 100 Temples", by Chad Hawkins, 2001, p 123-125
  3. In spring of 2010 the Church began to refurbish the exterior of the temple. Crews are cleaning the exterior with a special liquid, repairing the roof and towers, recaulking seams on the white aggregate-stone and stucco of the temple, and coating it with a sealant. The temple will remain open during the maintenance project, which is to be completed in mid- to late July, 2010.

Temples in California

External links