Washington DC Mormon Temple
Building of the Washington D.C. Mormon temple was announced on December 7, 1968, followed by a groundbreaking ceremony on the same day. The announcement was gladly received by the thousands of members who lived east of the Mississippi River who had no nearby temple. A very large plot of land on a wooded hill was purchased in 1962 for the temple, and only eleven acres were cleared for the temple. The rest of the land was left untouched to give the temple a remote feeling. With its completion, the Washington D.C. temple became the 16th operating Mormon temple worldwide.
A groundbreaking ceremony and site dedication were held on December 7, 1968. The temple was designed to be similar in style and form to the Salt Lake City Temple so that it would be easily recognized as a temple of the Mormon Church. It was estimated that it would cost fifteen million dollars to build the Washington D.C. Temple, and members of the Church who would be attending the temple were asked to help in providing funds of at least four and a half million dollars. Donations began to come immediately. In the end, the members raised six million dollars.
Construction was finally completed. The Washington D.C. Mormon temple has the tallest tower of any of the Church’s temples, at 280 feet. The angel Moroni that sits on top of this spire is eighteen feet tall and weighs two tons. Another interesting feature is that the temple does not look like it has any windows, but when you go inside you realize that the marble has been cut thin enough in some places that it is translucent. At a completion ceremony the first presidency buried a metal box with historical items near a corner of the temple, and the open house began on September 17, 1974. During the first week, government officials and diplomats from around the world were taken on special tours through the temple.
The open house continued for seven weeks, and 758,328 people went through the Washington D.C. temple. The large number of people who attended the open house was due mostly to the large amount of press 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 at the time. Demand for tickets to the open house was high, and the tickets were gone before the first day of tours, so the open house was extended to allow as many people to attend the open house as possible. The times had originally been set at 9am to 9pm but were changed to 7:30am to 10:30pm. Interest in the Church was so high, that more missionaries were called to the area to answer questions.
Ten dedicatory sessions were held for the Washington D.C. Temple between November 19th and 22nd, 1974. President Spencer W. Kimball gave the dedicatory prayers at these sessions. Over 40,000 members were able to attend the dedicatory services. The Washington D.C. temple is 160,000 square feet and is the third largest LDS temple. It holds six ordinance rooms and fourteen sealing rooms.
Christmas Festival of Lights
<span style=”font-family: arial; font-size: x-small;”>The Festival of Lights draws thousands of people annually to the D.C. Temple grounds, including ambassadors from all over the world and employees of the many embassies in the nation’s capitol. In addition to the more than 500,000 Christmas lights decorating the grounds, visitors can enjoy nightly musical performances, sixteen beautifully decorated Christmas trees with four featuring international dolls, a crèche exhibit displaying over 100 nativity scenes, and an outdoor life-size nativity.
More information about these exhibits and other Christmas events can be found at the Festival of Lights website.
9900 Stoneybrook Drive
Kensington, Maryland 20895-3199