Members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints celebrated Sunday the completion of their new Star Valley, Wyoming Temple.
It’s the first temple for the state of Wyoming. Church president Thomas. S Monson announced the plans to construct a temple five years ago. Construction for the temple broke ground last April.
The temple is 17,000 square feet, with a height of 39 feet. An angel Moroni graces the very peak of the roof. The angel Moroni is an ancient prophet and a central figure in the Book of Mormon.
The interior of the Latter-day Saint temple consists of a number of rooms designed to accommodate certain functions such as marriage, baptisms, and religious instructional sessions.
Temples are not regular places of Sunday worship for members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
The temple dedication drew in thousands of people, and some participated in the cornerstone tradition. The temple will be used only for performing sacred ordinances.
Only Latter-day Saints who live the highest standards of the faith are permitted to enter a dedicated temple. Therefore, once construction is complete, and prior to the temple’s dedication, the Church opens the temple doors to the public for several weeks for free tours. These open houses are a rare opportunity for anyone in the community, Mormon or otherwise to walk through a temple and learn more about Latter-day Saint beliefs.
The cornerstone ceremony dates back to ancient times and has been a long standing tradition when dedicating temples. Church leaders and others place mortar around the cornerstone to symbolize the temple’s completion.
Elaine Merrel, an LDS church member said,”Probably the most fabulous thing that will ever happen connecting heaven and earth its the temple dedication.”
She also added, “When I can stand in the mountain range and breath the clean air,and feel the sacredness of just standing on the holy grounds but to be inside is just something that connects me with heaven. And my loved one beyond its beautiful.”
James Hobbs brought his family to the dedication and participated in the cornerstone ceremony,”And so this is something that these saints here have worked hard to be humble and worthy of this. And I think we are deserving for this community and this country.”
Prior to the new temple’s dedication Swan Valley Church members would commute hours to Idaho Falls for temple services on a weekly basis. The winding roads and treacherous winters did not stop them.According to Connie Lancaster and her husband Kellen they would travel 4 hours to get to the Idaho Falls temple.
Connie Lancaster said, “There was one accident years ago where three couples who were attending the temple had an accident and were all killed. However, the road has changed since then it was a very treacherous road around a mountain.”
Lancaster said her concerns about traveling have been solved because of the new temple. “Absolutely so thrilled to have this temple so close. Myself, I’m four miles away. I can see the temple outside of my window.”
Kellen Lancaster said there were some perks about traveling to Idaho Falls, “It wasn’t just exclusively a temple trip it became kind of an opportunity to go to the big city and get a few things we couldn’t get here.”