Washington D.C. Temple
The Washington DC Temple was announced on 15 November 1968. The announcement was gladly received by the thousands of members that lived east of the Mississippi River who had no nearby temple. A very large plot of land on a wooded hill had been bought in 1962 for the temple, and only eleven acres were cleared for the building itself. The rest of the land was left untouched to give the temple a remote feeling. It is is the 16th operating temple of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. A groundbreaking and site dedication ceremony were held on 7 December 1968. Elder Hugh B. Brown presided.
The temple serves Church members in Washington, D.C., Virginia, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Delaware, West Virginia and New Jersey. It was the first Mormon temple to be built on the East Coast of the United States. When the temple was completed in 1974, it served all Latter-day Saints living east of the Mississippi and all Latter-day Saints in South America.
At 160,000 square feet, the Washington D.C. Temple is the third largest Mormon temple in the world. It was designed to be similar in style and form to the Salt Lake Temple so that it would be easily recognized as a Mormon temple. The exterior finish is constructed of reinforced concrete sheathed in 173,000 square feet of Alabama white marble. There are six ordinance rooms (stationary) and fourteen sealing rooms inside the temple.
The Washington D.C. Temple has the tallest tower of any of the Church's temples, at 280 feet. The angel Moroni that sits on top of this tower is eighteen feet tall and weighs two tons. Another interesting feature is that the temple does not look like it has any windows, but when you go inside you realize that the marble has been cut thin enough in some places that it is translucent.
The Washington D.C. Temple is located on a serene 52-acre hilltop in Kensington, Maryland, standing on sprawling grounds about 10 miles north of the United States Capitol, and creates an impressive sight for travelers along the Capital Beltway. The beauty of this soaring edifice is enhanced by a reflection pond near the Washington D.C. Visitors' Center and a spouting water feature at the temple entrance. Also sharing the 52-acre wooded site is the Washington D.C. Stake Center. The Washington D.C. Temple Visitors' Center hosts numerous interactive exhibits, a breathtaking reproduction of the Christus statue, and regular lectures and concerts throughout the year. Admission is free. And at Christmastime, the grounds are set aglow during the Festival of Lights, which offers nightly concerts, a live nativity scene, and international nativity sets.
A free temple shuttle, funded by donations, is offered to patrons and visitors traveling between the Metro and the Washington D.C. Temple.
Washington D.C. Temple Open House
When the construction of the temple was completed, the First Presidency buried a metal box with historical items near a corner of the temple.
The temple opened to the public from 17 September to 2 November 1974, and more than 750,000 visitors toured the edifice. Several high-profile visitors, including Betty Ford, President Gerald Ford’s wife, were among those who attended the open house. The open house continued for seven weeks. During the first week of open houses, government officials and diplomats from around the world were taken on special tours through the temple. The high number of people that attended the open house was due mostly to the large amount of coverage that the temple and Church received as the temple neared completion. Articles were printed in Time, Newsweek, and World Report. There was also a large press conference held that introduced the temple and Spencer W. Kimball, the Prophet and President of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints at that time.
The demand for tickets to the open house was high, and the tickets were gone before the first day of tours, so the times were extended to allow as many people as possible to attend the open house. The times had originally been set from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. but were changed to 7:30 a.m. to 10:30 p.m. Interest in the Church was so high, that more missionaries were called to the area to answer questions.
The Washington D. C. Temple Dedication
The Washington D.C. Temple was dedicated in 10 sessions held from 19-22 November 1974. Church President, Spencer W. Kimball offered the dedicatory prayer, in which he gave thanks for those who paved the way for the founding of the United States: “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.” More than 40,000 members were able to attend the dedicatory services.
Washington D.C. Temple Announcements
The First Presidency of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has announced that the Washington D.C. Temple will close in March 2018 for extensive renovation. The temple is expected to be closed for a period of at least two years. Per Mormon Newsroom, as part of the renovation, the mechanical systems will be upgraded and the finish and furnishings will be refreshed.
Following the completion of the Washington D.C. Temple renovation in 2020, the temples will be rededicated. Public open house and rededication information will be provided as the renovations near completion.
The visitors' center will remain open throughout the renovation.
- Curious East Coast looking forward to open house after Washington DC Temple renovation
- The public will be allowed to visit the Mormon temple on the Beltway for the first time in 46 years
- Official LDS Washington DC Temple page
- Washington DC Temple page
- Photos of the Washington DC Temple
- Washington DC Temple History
- Mormon Temple Worship - BBC Religion & Ethics
- Mormon Temple Ordinances - ReligionFacts
- Mormon Temples - Lightplanet
- Mormon Temples - Wikipedia
- Resources about the History and Symbolism of Mormon Temples
- Mormon Temples and Secrecy
- Mormons Open Temple Doors to Share Beliefs - USAToday