Manhattan New York Mormon Temple
The opening of a Manhattan, New York Mormon Temple was announced on August 7, 2002. A few months before on March 24, 2002, at a special regional conference in New York City President of the Mormon Church Gordon B. Hinckley told those in attendance that he expected a temple to be in the area in the next two years. The Church-wide announcement made on August 7th fulfilled this expectation. The need for a temple in the Manhattan area became apparent during the last decade, when Mormon membership tripled to more than 42,000 members.
A groundbreaking ceremony and site dedication were held on September 23, 2002. Construction began soon after. The Church had decided to adapt an existing building, which stands across from the Lincoln Center, owned by the Church, into the Temple. This was done because costs for land in the area were extremely high, and the leaders of the Church did not feel it was practical to buy land to build another structure. This was not the first time that this decision had been reached; a similar situation existed in Hong Kong where the Church opted to build the temple within an existing building. The original building was constructed in 1976, and the building still houses a family history center and public affairs office on the third floor and a stake center on the fourth floor. The Temple is located on the first, second, fifth and sixth floors of the building. The inside of these floors were completely renovated. The walls were made to be soundproof so that the noise of the traffic outside would not interrupt the spiritual reverence in the temple. The total floor area for the temple part of the building is 20,630 square feet, and the temple houses two ordinance and sealing rooms, along with a baptismal font. Inside the temple beehives are carved into the molding, and door handles that look like the statue of liberty torch are found throughout. There are also beautiful paintings on the walls of many of the rooms that depict forest and other nature scenes.
An open house held on May 8-June 5, 2004, allowed Mormon members and non-members alike to see the inside of the temple. More than 53,000 people took the forty-minute tour through the temple, and many others experienced the Mormon temple through worldwide media coverage. Mormon Missionaries in the area as well as Mormon members, who had volunteered to help, guided the tours. President Gordon B. Hinckley also took a tour through the temple and said, “As I walked through this magnificent building created within an old building, I said to myself, ”This is Zion in Babylon.’ This is such a place of beauty. A miracle, I think, has occurred here.”
On June 12, 2004, a cultural celebration was held at the Radio City Music Hall entitled “A Standard to the Nations.” It was a two-hour performance including more than 2,400 Mormon youth from the area. President Gordon B. Hinckley officially dedicated the Manhattan, New York Mormon Temple for use on June 13, 2004. After the dedication, a cornerstone ceremony was held and a time capsule was put in the cornerstone with memorabilia from New York such as a copy of the New York Times and memorabilia from the Mormon Church, such as a set of scriptures, a handkerchief used during the dedication ceremony, and sheet music. Just before the temple dedication, it was announced that a steeple and statue of the Angel Moroni would be added to the building in the fall. On October 9, 2004, thousands of people came to watch the ten-foot statue be placed on top of the steeple.
125 Columbus Avenue
Manhattan, New York 10023-6503