The Washington D.C. Temple is the 18th constructed and the 16th operating temple. The temple serves Church members in Washington, D.C., Virginia, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Delaware, West Virginia and New Jersey. It was the first Latter-day Saint 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. “Washington DC Info”. lds.org. Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints . 2011. Retrieved October 8, 2012.
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 purchased in 1962 for the temple.
Original cost estimates for the temple were about $15 million. Members of the church within the temple’s attendance district were asked to contribute at least $4.5 million. Eventually, local members donated around $6 million for the temple’s construction.“Washington DC Mormon Temple”. mormontemples.com. June 11, 2008. Retrieved October 8, 2012.
A groundbreaking and site dedication ceremony were held on 7 December 1968. Elder Hugh B. Brown presided.
Clearing of the land started May 28, 1971. The site chosen for the temple was a 57-acre (23 ha) wooded hill just north of the Capital Beltway (Interstate 495). “Temples of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints”.Ensign. Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. August 1974. Retrieved October 8, 2012.
Only 11 acres (4.5 ha) of the site was cleared for the Temple. The rest of the land was left untouched to give the temple a remote feeling.
The temple opened to the public from 17 September to 2 November 1974, and 758,328 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 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.
The Washington D. C. Temple was the 14th temple in the world, and the 12th in the United States. At the time of it dedication there were No Temples under construction, and no temples announced. 2 Temples, the St, George Utah Temple and the Mesa Arizona Temple, were undergoing renovation.
It was the first temple built by the Church east of the Mississippi since beginning the move west in 1846.It would remain the only Temple in the Eastern United States and North America until the Atlanta Georgia Temple was dedicated in 1983. “Washington DC Mormon Temple”.mormontemples.com. June 11, 2008. Retrieved October 8, 2012.
At the time of the temple’s completion, its district included all Latter-day Saint members in 31 U.S. states and the District of Columbia, seven Canadian provinces, Cuba, Haiti, Puerto Rico, the Bahamas, and the Dominican Republic. “The Washington Temple District”. Ensign. Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. August 1974. Retrieved October 8, 2012.
On 23 February 2017 The First Presidency announced that the Washington D.C. Temple will close for extensive renovation.
The temple closed for Renovation in March of 2018
The temple is expected to be closed for a period of at least two years. According to a Newsroom article, as part of the renovation, the mechanical systems will be upgraded and the finish and furnishings will be refreshed. “Oakland California and Washington D.C. Temples to Close for Renovation”. Newsroom. Church of Jesus Christ of Letter-day Saints. February 23, 2017. Retrieved May 14, 2017
Following the completion of the Washington D.C. Temple renovation in 2020, the temples will be rededicated. Public open house and re-dedication information will be provided as the renovations near completion.
The visitors’ center will remain open throughout the renovation.
|Temple President||Years Served|
|President Kent W. Colton||2014–|
|President Brian C. Swinton||2011–2014|
|President Earl C. Tingey||2008–2011|
|President F. Melvin Hammond||2005–2008|
|President J. Edward Scholz||2002–2005|
|President Sterling D. Colton||1999–2002|
|President Earl J. Roueche||1996–1999|
|President Ralph O. Bradley||1993–1996|
|President David S. King||1990–1993|
|President Thomas G. Bell||1988–1990|
|President Robert W. Barker||1986–1988|
|President Franklin D. Richards||1983–1986|
|President Wendell G. Eames||1978–1983|
|President Edward E. Drury||1974–1978|
Built at a cost of about $15 million, It was designed to be similar in style and form to the Salt Lake Temple so that it would be easily recognized as a Latter-day Saint temple.
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.
The Washington D.C. Temple, designed by architect Keith W. Wilcox, was built with a modern six-spire design based on the design of the Salt Lake Temple, with the three towers to the east representing the Melchizedek priesthood, and the three towers to the west representing the Aaronic priesthood. The temple was designed to be similar in style and form to the Salt Lake Temple so that it would be easily recognized as a temple of the Church.“To Build a Temple”.Ensign. Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. August 1974. Retrieved October 8, 2012.
The central eastern tower reaches a height of 288 feet (88 m), the tallest of any Latter-day Saint temple.
The exterior finish is constructed of reinforced concrete sheathed in 173,000 square feet of Alabama white marble.
Though it appears the temple has no windows, in places the marble has been cut thin enough that it is translucent.
Spires and Moroni
The Washington D.C. Temple has the tallest tower of any of the Church’s temples, at 288 feet. The temple is the church’s tallest; its easternmost spire is 288 feet (88 m) tall. “To Build a Temple”. Ensign. Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints . August 1974. Retrieved October 8, 2012
The angel Moroni that sits on top of this tower is eighteen feet tall head to toe and weighs two tons, making it the tallest Moroni in use on any temple. The Jordan River Moroni is often quoted as being the tallest statue at 20 feet, but it is only 15 feet head to toe, and the ornamentation under the statue must be included to reach the 20 feet number. It was the Third Angel Moroni Statue ever placed on a temple, after the statues on Salt Lake and Los Angeles Temples. It was carved by Dr. Arvard Fairbanks specifically for the Washington D.C. Temple, one of many that were solicited and submitted for consideration.
The statue was placed on 11 May 1973. On hand to watch the statue being placed were then Elder Thomas S. Monson and Elder Boyd K. Packer of the Quorum of the Twelve, and Sister LeGrand Richards, wife of Elder LeGrand Richards.
“The Angel Moroni statue, which appears on the top of several of our temples, is a reminder to us that God is concerned for all his people throughout the world and communicates with them wherever they may be,” said Elder Monson.
At 160,000 square feet, the Washington D.C. Temple is the third largest Latter-day Saint temple in the world. Interior highlights include architectural woodwork, marble, stained glass artwork, high-quality carpets and furniture, and works of art (statues and paintings). The building also features administrative offices, a high-end lobby/entry area, administrative offices, patron service areas, a baptistery, multiple dressing rooms, six ordinance rooms, fourteen sealing rooms and an elegantly constructed “celestial room”. In
There are six ordinance rooms (stationary) in the Washington D. C. Temple.
The Washington D.C. Temple has fourteen sealing rooms inside.
Individuals and Contractors
Architects Harold K. Beecher, Henry P. Fetzer, Fred L. Markham and Keith W. Wilcox designed the Washington D.C. Temple in a collaborative process. Each offered designs for review and critique, which were approved by the Church’s First Presidency. Through this process, the final design emerged representing the best ideas of each architect.
Sources and Links
References [ + ]
|1.||↑||“Washington DC Info”. lds.org. Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints . 2011. Retrieved October 8, 2012.|
|2.||↑||“Washington DC Mormon Temple”. mormontemples.com. June 11, 2008. Retrieved October 8, 2012.|
|3.||↑||“Temples of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints”.Ensign. Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. August 1974. Retrieved October 8, 2012.|
|4.||↑||“Washington DC Mormon Temple”.mormontemples.com. June 11, 2008. Retrieved October 8, 2012.|
|5.||↑||“The Washington Temple District”. Ensign. Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. August 1974. Retrieved October 8, 2012.|
|6.||↑||“Oakland California and Washington D.C. Temples to Close for Renovation”. Newsroom. Church of Jesus Christ of Letter-day Saints. February 23, 2017. Retrieved May 14, 2017|
|7.||↑||“To Build a Temple”.Ensign. Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. August 1974. Retrieved October 8, 2012.|
|8.||↑||“To Build a Temple”. Ensign. Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints . August 1974. Retrieved October 8, 2012|
|9.||↑||The Jordan River Moroni is often quoted as being the tallest statue at 20 feet, but it is only 15 feet head to toe, and the ornamentation under the statue must be included to reach the 20 feet number.|