“Bountiful Utah Temple Dedicated,” Ensign, Mar. 1995, 74–75
On Sunday, January 8, 1995, the early morning sun broke through a gray, overcast sky, casting its glorious rays on the Bountiful Utah Temple as President Howard W. Hunter gave the dedicatory prayer on the Church’s forty-seventh operating temple.
In addition to offering the prayer at the first of twenty-eight dedicatory sessions, President Hunter spoke briefly during the 8:00 A.M. session and presided over cornerstone sealing activities that began an hour earlier. President Gordon B. Hinckley, First Counselor in the First Presidency; President Thomas S. Monson, Second Counselor in the First Presidency; and President Boyd K. Packer, Acting President of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, also spoke at the dedicatory and cornerstone ceremonies.
Although much of the cornerstone sealing ceremony was conducted inside the temple, President Hunter, President Hinckley, President Monson, President Packer, and others spent some minutes outside in the predawn light putting mortar around the frontal face of the cornerstone. Elder W. Eugene Hansen of the Presidency of the Seventy and Executive Director of the Temple Department, along with Elder John E. Fowler of the Seventy, president of the Utah North Area, also took a turn with the trowel, as did Inis Hunter, President Hunter’s wife.
Minutes after the cornerstone ceremony, the first dedicatory session began. More than eight thousand people attended the cornerstone and dedicatory ceremonies at the temple or watched via closed-circuit television from the Tabernacle on Temple Square, the Bountiful Regional Center, the Brigham City Tabernacle, and the Ogden Tabernacle. Later in the day, others viewed videotaped dedicatory sessions at the Logan Tabernacle in Logan, Utah.
The twenty-eight dedicatory sessions, one for each stake within the temple district, were held throughout the week of January 8–14, with every baptized, worthy member of the Church in the Utah North Area invited to participate either at the temple or at off-site locations.
Before the cornerstone and dedicatory ceremonies, some 870,000 people toured the Bountiful temple during an open house held November 5 through December 17, 1994. “The open house was almost miraculous,” remarked Elder Fowler, chairman of the temple committee. “In spite of the record snowfall in November and the difficult environmental concerns, we had a tremendous experience. Lives were touched and changed as a result of visiting the temple.”
Some of the lives that were changed the most, noted Elder Fowler, were the tens of thousands who volunteered during the open house, dedication, and various other phases of the temple project. “There will be more than fifty thousand volunteers involved in some way or another,” he explained. “I don’t know if there’s ever been a volunteer effort like this before. These people love this temple.”
Volunteers were busy at work even before the open house began, explained Blaine P. Jensen, regional representative and vice chairman of the Bountiful Temple Committee. Youth laid sod on the temple grounds and planted trees. Priesthood brethren spent weeks removing snow during the open house. Thousands of members helped set up the open house and then hosted throughout the six-week event.
“One of the most humbling experiences of the open house was when the beautiful young people, dressed in their Sunday best and often sitting in the cold, reached down and put clean white footlets on the visitors’ feet,” said Brother Jensen. “Many people were moved to tears by that simple act of service.”
“Being involved with the temple open house has been a labor of love,” said Brother Jensen.
The Bountiful temple opened for regular temple ordinance work on 17 January 1995, with more than a dozen marriages already scheduled for that first day, said temple president Harold Yancey. “The members in this temple district have been looking forward to this day for some time,” he noted. The temple will be the first temple scheduled to operate for a full day on Saturday, and more than nine hundred temple workers were called and set apart during the last few months in preparation for the temple’s opening.