The Baton Rouge Louisiana Temple is the 94th operating temple.The Baton Rouge Louisiana Temple serves 24,000 LDS Church members in the New Orleans, Alexandria, Baton Rouge, Denham Springs, and Monroe Louisiana stakes, as well as members in Gulfport, Hattiesburg, and Jackson, Mississippi stakes.
The first Latter-day Saint missionaries arrived in Louisiana in 1841 in response to a letter sent to Joseph Smith, asking him to send missionaries to New Orleans. A few joined the Church, and most left Louisiana to be with the rest of the body of the Church.
New Orleans was the port of entry to the United States for most of the early British converts of the Church. Between 1840 and 1855, around 18,500 members crossed the ocean to the U.S., and 17,600 of them first arrived in New Orleans. Because of this, most of the Church members in New Orleans were either emigrants, who could not yet afford to go further, or Church agents who helped the emigrants continue their journey. After 1855 when the last of the emigrants left New Orleans, the Church no longer had a presence in Louisiana.
In 1895, Latter-day Saint missionaries were sent again to the state. The missionary work was slow in the South, but those who did join the Church were strong members. The Church continued to grow and by 1955, with more than 3,500 members, a stake was organized in the area. Today there are more than 24,000 members in Louisiana.
The LDS Church First Presidency announced on October 14, 1998 that a temple would be built in Baton Rouge.“5 new temples in U.S., Mexico announced”, Church News, October 24, 1998
A groundbreaking ceremony was held on May 8, 1999, with Elder Monte J. Brough of the Seventy presided at the ceremony and dedication.Strawn, Karen; Smith, Gayle (May 15, 1999), “2,000 attend ceremony for Louisiana’s first temple”, Church News
During his remarks, Elder Brough said that the greatest revelation of the latter days was Joseph Smith’s first vision. “This experience allowed Joseph to have actual knowledge of the Father and the Son,” he said. Elder Brough further explained that all men must come to know the only true God and His Son Jesus Christ. That is the purpose of temples, he affirmed. “It is a process whereby we come to know Jesus Christ because we act as saviors, in a modest sense, to bring to those who have not had a chance across this earth and those who lived prior to our time the opportunity to hear the gospel, to accept the gospel and to be members of Heavenly Father’s Church.” Strawn, Karen, and Gayle Smith, “2,000 attend ceremony for Louisiana’s first temple,” Church News 17 Feb. 2001: 3.
Elder Brough also spoke of the revelation on September 21, 1823, when the Angel Moroni appeared to Joseph Smith and quoted Malachi: “The hearts of the children shall turn to their fathers.” Elder Brough indicated that the dramatically increased interest in family history research, rapidly changing technology and dozens of temples currently being constructed across the earth are fulfilment of Malachi’s prophecy. “Last year, ” he said, “the Family History Department filmed in many different countries, gathering millions of names. At current rates, we have collected enough names to keep the temples busy for a long time,” he said. “We really have no excuse.”  Strawn, Karen, and Gayle Smith, “2,000 attend ceremony for Louisiana’s first temple,” Church News 17 Feb. 2001: 3. 2
The Baton Rouge Louisiana Temple was open to the public for tours from July 1 through 8th, 2000.
President Gordon B. Hinckley dedicated the temple on July 16, 2000.“Baton Rouge Louisiana: ‘Prosper the cause of righteousness'”, Church News, July 22, 2000
Four dedicatory services were held to accommodate the members who wanted to attend. Just before the first dedication service a cornerstone ceremony was held.
The Baton Rouge Louisiana Temple was the first temple built in Louisiana, The 47th in the United States, and the 94th in the World.
On June 27, 2017 the Church announced that beginning February 2018, the Baton Rouge Louisiana Temple would close for renovations that are anticipated to be completed in 2019.  “Three Mormon Temples in the US to Close for Renovation: Upgrades planned for sacred buildings in Mesa, Baton Rouge and Raleigh”. Newsroom. LDS Church. June 27, 2017.
The temple officially closed for the renovation on 28 January 2018.Satterfield, Rick, “Baton Rouge Louisiana Temple,” ChurchofJesusChristTemples.org.
3 May 2019 saw the announcement that the Baton Rouge Louisiana Temple will be open for free public tours from 26 October through 2 November 2019, except for Sunday, 27 October 2019. “Open House and Rededication Dates Announced for Two US Temples: Rededications in late summer and fall”, Newsroom, LDS Church, May 3, 2019
Elder Quentin L. Cook, a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, will preside over the single rededication session on Sunday, 17 November 2019.
The temple will re-open on 23 November 2019, for temple work.
|Temple President||Years Served|
|President Robert P. Garrett||2017–|
|President Blair P. Pack||2014–2017|
|President Severia Baunchand||2011–2014|
|President Max P. Brough||2008–2011|
|President John R. Pollard||2008–2008|
|President V. Kenneth Dutile||2005–2008|
|President D. Gregory Brumfield||2000–2005|
The site is 6.3 acres (25,000 m2), which includes a meetinghouse.
The exterior is made from Imperial Danby White marble quarried in Vermont.
The Baton Rouge Temple has the triplicate set of windows typical of the small temples. They are low set, even with the floor of the interior. This is uncommon in the small temples and is usually only found in the small temples of the south and midwest U.S..
On the original Baton Rouge Louisiana Temple, there are three inscriptions. All three Inscriptions were in English, engraved into the stone, and painted black. All three inscriptions were arranged in two lines, with “Holiness” listed first. The first was above the entryway doors, etched into the glass transom. The second was farther above the entry doors, above the entry porch, just below the spire. The third was on the East Side of the temple, below the spire, directly opposite the entry doors.
HOLINESS TO THE LORD
THE HOUSE OF THE LORD
On the new temple exterior there is a single inscription, above the entry doors. It is carved into the stone and gilded. This inscription, in English, is arranged on a single line. The two halves of the inscription are separated by an open diamond shape.
HOLINESS TO THE LORD ◇ THE HOUSE OF THE LORD
The cornerstone is near the south east corner, on the east side of the temple, facing east. (Last pillar on the east (north east) side)
The new cornerstone will be on the east side of the temple, to the left of the windows that are directly beneath the spire.
Spires and Moroni
The original spire is a typical small temple spire, inline with the main entrance, and consisting of 4 levels. The new spire, while consisting of four steps as well, is much thicker in diameter, and has stained art glass windows in the upper two segments.
The Angel Moroni Statue on the Baton Rouge Louisiana Temple is a fiberglass replica of Karl Quilter’s 1982 statue. It was placed on 28 December 1999 and Faces East North East.
A new refurbished Angel Moroni Statue, again a fiberglass replica of Quilter’s 1982 statue, was placed atop the new temple spire 13 February of 2019, just over 19 years later. This new statue faces exactly 180 degrees the opposite direction of the original statue, facing West South West. Patrons visiting the temple will now have the Angel facing them, instead of presenting it’s back,a s they approach temple doors.
The temple is 10,700 square feet (990 m2), with a baptistry, two ordinance rooms, two sealing rooms, and a Celestial room.“Facts and figures: Baton Rouge Louisiana Temple”, Church News, July 22, 2000
Individuals and Contractors
Originally the temple was designed by Church Architectual and Engineering Services, assisted by Paul Tessier & Associates. Leaon Rowly was the Church’s Project Manager for the temple, which was built by Layton Construction Co..
The new temple look was designed by VCBO Architecture and the Church Special Projects Department. Wadman Corporation was the General Contractor for the reconstruction.
Sources and Links
- “Dedication dates announced for temples in Mexico, U.S.”, Church News, May 20, 2000
- Weaver, Sarah Jane (July 22, 2000), “Baton Rouge temple: ‘a house of refuge'”, Church News
- Hart, John L. (September 17, 2005), “After Katrina’s fury, relief on a grand scale”, Church News
- Heaps, Julie Dockstader (September 17, 2005), “The extra mile”, Church News
- “Temple moments: Keeping it going”, Church News, February 25, 2006
References [ + ]
|1.||↑||“5 new temples in U.S., Mexico announced”, Church News, October 24, 1998|
|2.||↑||Strawn, Karen; Smith, Gayle (May 15, 1999), “2,000 attend ceremony for Louisiana’s first temple”, Church News|
|3, 4.||↑||Strawn, Karen, and Gayle Smith, “2,000 attend ceremony for Louisiana’s first temple,” Church News 17 Feb. 2001: 3.|
|5.||↑||“Baton Rouge Louisiana: ‘Prosper the cause of righteousness'”, Church News, July 22, 2000|
|6.||↑||“Three Mormon Temples in the US to Close for Renovation: Upgrades planned for sacred buildings in Mesa, Baton Rouge and Raleigh”. Newsroom. LDS Church. June 27, 2017.|
|7.||↑||Satterfield, Rick, “Baton Rouge Louisiana Temple,” ChurchofJesusChristTemples.org.|
|8.||↑||“Open House and Rededication Dates Announced for Two US Temples: Rededications in late summer and fall”, Newsroom, LDS Church, May 3, 2019|
|9.||↑||“Facts and figures: Baton Rouge Louisiana Temple”, Church News, July 22, 2000|