The house of the Lord in Washington, D.C., was formally rededicated on Sunday, August 14, 2022.
“We ask Thee to accept this house as our offering to Thee and Thy Son as a place worthy of Thy holy habitation,” prayed President Russell M. Nelson of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. “And we ask Thee to … make [this house] a refuge for all who enter its precincts. Please bless all who step onto these grounds, for whatever purpose, to feel Thy presence and to leave with a renewed sense of hope and an increased desire to draw close to Thee and Thy Son.”
The prophet’s Sunday morning dedicatory prayer is the capstone on a four-year renovation of this temple that was first completed in the nation’s capital in 1974. (See renovation details.) The dedication turns the temple into a place of worship for any Latter-day Saint who qualifies for a temple recommend.
“Today, we are ever grateful for the free exercise of religion guaranteed by the inspired Constitution of the United States of America,” the prophet prayed. “We are grateful for that Constitution and for the leaders of this great nation, past, present and future. Please bless them with a desire to do what is right.”
He continued: “We are mindful of the many ambassadors and diplomats who come to this great city from many nations of the world. We pray that Thou wilt bless them and all Thy children with a desire to seek Thee and keep Thy commandments. Please bless Thy children of the covenant to be beacons of spiritual light and righteousness to the entire world.”
In remarks before the dedicatory prayer, President Nelson taught Latter-day Saints that “temples and temple covenants have always been important to God and His covenant people. Think of it: Adam and Eve, Abraham and Sarah, Lehi and Sariah [of the Book of Mormon] all made covenants with God as we do today.”
The ancient pattern is connected to modern times through 19th-century Latter-day Saints building temples in Ohio,Illinois and Utah, the prophet said. Today, the Church of Jesus Christ has 167 operating temples and another 51 under construction.
“Each temple stands as a symbol of our membership in the Church, as a sign of our faith in life after death, and as a sacred step toward eternal glory for us and our families,” President Nelson said. “I promise that if you will make time to be in the temple regularly, it will change your lives. It will bless your families, strengthen your faith and open the windows of heaven for you.”
Other leaders speaking in the Sunday morning dedicatory session included Elder Quentin L. Cook of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles and Sister Amy A. Wright of the Primary General Presidency. Bill Marriott Jr. and his brother Dick, of Marriott International, also spoke.
Two other dedicatory sessions were held on Sunday. President Dallin H. Oaks, First Counselor to President Nelson, led the second session. President Henry B. Eyring, Second Counselor, conducted the third session. In addition to their own remarks, both read the same prayer prepared by President Nelson.
President Oaks said the worship that happens inside temples “is centered in Jesus Christ. All that is learned and done here depends on Him. … Here in His in House, we take upon us the name of Jesus Christ, which, among other meanings, refers to His work. All who come here participate in that saving work.”
Also, President Oaks said, the teaching offered inside temples is “the most important knowledge we can learn in mortality. That is the knowledge of eternity — who we are, the purpose of our mortal experience, what we should do here and where we are destined to go after this earth life.”
Elder D. Todd Christofferson of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles also spoke Sunday afternoon.
In the final session, President Eyring said everything done in a temple is designed to lead “our hearts to love our Heavenly Father and the Lord Jesus Christ,” inspire wonder in the Creation and help us feel the love God has for every person.
President Eyring said Latter-day Saints who worship often in temples will feel greater love and faith in their families, increased spiritual power in hard times, and assurance of forgiveness and positive change.
“As we go faithfully to the temple, we can better remember the covenants we make there,” President Eyring said. “With that memory, we will be better able to overcome temptations and to bear our trials.”
Also speaking Sunday evening were Elder Gerrit W. Gong of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, Presiding Bishop Gérald Caussé and Elder Kevin R. Duncan, executive director of the Temple Department.
As President Nelson and his wife, Sister Wendy Nelson, walked the temple grounds on Saturday, the prophet commented on the renovated temple’s excellent craftsmanship.
“Just to think of the magnificence of the work that’s been done beautifying, renewing [and] renovating this temple. We’re very grateful,” he said. “This temple will stand now for another generation or two before it has to be redone.”
Local Latter-day Saints said they are eager to again worship in the Washington D.C. Temple.
“It’s a glorious weekend,” said Carolyn Colton, one of many volunteers who helped during the two-month open house. “I’m excited for it becoming again a house of worship. I’ve really missed being able to go to the temple whenever I want.”
Some said they sense the light of the temple — the light of Jesus Christ — spreading through the area.
“I feel the power of the temple rippling through the city,” said Chase Kimball, great-grandson of Spencer W. Kimball (who dedicated the temple in 1974) and bishop of the Washington D.C. Third Ward. “Even folks who are just friends, just acquaintances of us as members of the Church, can feel a special spirit that’s here at this time.”
“I think [this house of the Lord is] a blessing to the entire region,” added Alvin Jackson, president of the Washington D.C. Young Single Adult North Stake. “This place will be a refuge in the last days for people who are looking for hope or looking for guidance or looking for safety. … It represents Jesus Christ. And we need so much more of Him in our lives to help heal this nation and this country and this world as a whole.”