Some of the most exciting events for members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in 2016 were the dedications of multiple new temples. Six new temples were opened for the first time, while another four were rededicated after extensive renovations. Here’s a closer look at these temples and the special stories surrounding them.
February 21, 2016 – Suva Fiji Temple Rededicated
The year kicked off with the rededication of the Suva Fiji Temple. It was closed in 2014 so the air conditioning could be upgraded and new finishes could be added to the interior. President Henry B. Eyring led the rededication, even with the damage Suva experienced due to Cyclone Winston.
“I join with you,” President Eyring said at the cultural celebration, “in celebrating the great contributions of so many who have built up the kingdom of God in these islands. You will touch hearts that will transform those in this audience with feelings of love for the Lord and gratitude for all that Heavenly Father has done for us.”
March 20, 2016 – Provo City Center Temple Dedicated
After a horrific fire destroyed the Provo Tabernacle in 2010, members of the Church in Utah were joyous to celebrate the dedication of the Provo City Center Temple, built from the shell of the building. More than 800,000 people visited the public open house and Elder Dallin H. Oaks led the dedication. It marked the 150th temple of the Church.
Elder Kent F. Richards of the Seventy said, “Everyone in the [Provo] community and throughout the Church felt the tragedy of the fire … and the loss of this tabernacle with its history and everyone’s personal experience that had ever participated here. There was always hope that it could be restored as a tabernacle at least. And I don’t think anyone had an anticipation that President Monson would receive a feeling that it should be converted into a temple. When he announced that a year later in October conference, everyone was absolutely delighted.”
August 21, 2016 – Sapporo Japan Temple Dedicated
The Sapporo Japan Temple is the third temple in Japan. Inspired by Asian architecture, there are multiple ponds, waterfalls, and even a rock garden inside the temple at the bottom of the grand staircase. It was announced in 2009 and the groundbreaking ceremony took place in 2011.
President Russell M. Nelson dedicated the temple. He said, “We have the exciting privilege of being part of this latter-day work, when the gospel will go to every nation and those people of Japan particularly now will be able to have all the blessings of the temple.”
September 4, 2016 – Freiberg Germany Temple Rededicated
The Freiberg Germany Temple, closed in February 2015 for extensive remodeling, was rededicated by President Dieter F. Uchtdorf. The is the second rededication for the temple; it was rededicated in 2002 after a first round of remodels.
September 18, 2016 – Philadelphia Pennsylvania Temple Dedicated
Saints rejoiced at the first temple in Pennsylvania. It will serve members in Delaware, Pennsylvania, Maryland, and New Jersey. The building was designed to specifically match the historic Gregorian architecture of the area and over 140,000 people visited the temple during the public open house.
President Henry B. Eyring presided over the dedication. He said, “It has a feeling in it unlike any temple I’ve ever been in terms of its beauty and the spaciousness, and just the feeling of the house of the Lord. It’s really quite remarkable.”
October 16, 2016 – Fort Collins Colorado Temple Dedicated
The Fort Collins Colorado Temple is the second temple in Colorado and it will serve members in both Colorado and Wyoming. The flora motif is inspired by the vegetation found in the Rocky Mountain area. The temple was dedicated by President Dieter F. Uchtdorf.
“When you see those majestic mountains, the Rocky Mountains to the west and the plains to the east—and here, right at this wonderful intersection of both, is the house of the Lord. We thank all those that made this possible,” President Uchtdorf said.
October 30, 2016 – Star Valley Wyoming Temple Dedicated
The Star Valley Wyoming Temple is the first temple in Wyoming. It was announced in October 2011 and the groundbreaking took place in 2015. The completion of the temple fulfills a prophesy by Elder Moses Thatcher in 1870s, who named the valley because “it is the star of all valleys” and stated a temple would one day be built there.
Elder David A. Bednar dedicated the temple. He said, “It’s simple, it’s serene. In a world that’s filled with commotion, confusion, sometimes chaos; beautiful, as it [temple] is, this is a place of ultimate peace and serenity here on earth, so it will bless all who enter in powerful ways.”
November 30, 2016 – Hartford Connecticut Temple Dedicated
The Hartford Connecticut Temple is the 155th temple worldwide and the first temple in Connecticut. The temple was announced in 2010 with the groundbreaking taking place in 2013. The exterior has been praised by locals for remaining true to the New England style or architecture.
President Henry B. Eyring dedicated the temple on a chilly November, where he said, “You’re so nice to be here in the cold. Bless your hearts.”
Aleah is a graduate of Southern Virginia University, where she studied English, Creative Writing, and Dance. She now works full time as a marketing and product manager, writer, and editor. Aleah served a mission in California and loves baking, Lang Leav poetry, Gaynor Minden pointe shoes, and Bollywood movies.