This story was written by Victoria Owens and Cinthya Rubio
The Idaho Falls temple will have its open house on Saturday, April 22 through Saturday, May 20.
This was the eighth operating temple constructed for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and it was the first temple built in Idaho, the Idaho Falls temple was dedicated on Sept. 23, 1945
There will be a cultural celebration featuring music and dances on Saturday, June 3 and the temple will be formally rededicated on Sunday, June 4 in three sessions.
Many are expected to attend the open houses as 160,000 tickets have been already reserved and 60,000 more tickets have been recently released.
The attachment of the angel Moroni was the last major improvement added to the Idaho Falls temple in 1983.
The temple closed in March 2015 for renovations.
Idaho currently has three other operating temples in Twin Falls, Rexburg and Boise. The Meridian temple is currently under construction and during the April general conference, President Thomas S. Monson announced there would be a temple built in Pocatello.
Doyle Batt, local chairman for the open house, cultural celebration and rededication said preparations have been made for the open house and rededication since August of last year.
“I received a call from the First Presidency in August of last year and our first meetings were in September and October and we had all of our 14 sub-committees,” Batt said. “We started from the very basic, how many people are we going to estimate will be here, how are we going to get in and out, can we park them in the parking lots, do we need buses, what kind of food are we going to feed. There is a lot of planning and a lot of detail, all the way down to the menu that has to be approved. The cultural celebration script has to be approved. We have a music chairman that has been selected from all 46 stakes that are a part of the temple district, three choirs of 20 voices singing at the dedication services.”
Elder Larry W. Wilson, the Executive Director of the Temple Department said they have tried to make temples as sacred as they possibly can.
“Temples are very sacred places and we are trying to make them as peaceful, as beautiful, as spiritually powerful as they can be,” Wilson said. “Things that have been done to the Idaho Falls temple have added a lot to it in that way. It’s more beautiful than ever. The murals are just as beautiful as perhaps the day the temple opened and there are a lot of other wonderful things that have been added to this temple, which I think enhance the worship experience.”
Wilson said the Idaho Falls temple is unique because it has between seven to eight murals while most temples do not have any or only have one or two.
Wilson said temple dedications are among some of the most spiritual moments that are held for members of The Church.
“I think every one of them (temple dedications) in my experience is in some way kind of Pentecostal experience, where the Lord’s spirit is poured out in such a way that it is just extremely powerful to be able to share in it, whether in a meetinghouse or the temple itself, I think you could have the same kind of experience,” Wilson said.
Batt said students should understand why open houses are needed.
“I think they (students) need to get their mindset on why we need to have an open house,” Batt said. “This is a gift to the community. This building has not been open to the public in 72 years. Now is the time that we give back to the community and let them see the beautiful artwork and feel that great feeling that comes when you go into the House of the Lord.”
The Idaho Falls temple will serve church members from 45 stakes in southeastern and central Idaho.