“St. Louis Temple Dedicated,” Ensign, Aug. 1997, 74
On 1 June 1997, President Gordon B. Hinckley presided over the first dedicatory session of the St. Louis Missouri Temple, the Church’s 50th operating temple and the first temple in Missouri. The session was the first of 19 dedicatory sessions scheduled during the week of 1–5 June.
The dedicatory session was preceded by an 8:00 A.M. cornerstone ceremony at which President Hinckley troweled mortar into the groove around the stone. He was followed by Elders L. Tom Perry and David B. Haight of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles; Elder Hugh W. Pinnock of the Seventy; Marjorie Hinckley, President Hinckley’s wife; and St. Louis temple president Menlo F. Smith and his counselors, Boyd Schenk and K. Don Oscarson. Twelve children and 20 adults attending the cornerstone event also participated.
A choir of 54 single adults gathered from the four metropolitan stakes—St. Louis Missouri, St. Louis Missouri North, St. Louis Missouri South, and O’Fallon Illinois—participated in the cornerstone ceremony. Because of limited parking space, attendance at the ceremony was limited to choir members, their families, and media representatives. The ceremony was covered by several local television stations.
President Hinckley and others then returned to the temple for the commencement of the first session of the dedication. A 25-person choir made up of members of the Bloomington Indiana Stake provided music for the opening session.
An estimated 23,100 Church members attended the dedicatory sessions. Jean Mathews, director of public affairs for the St. Louis region, attended the second session. She said: “The session was so moving and filled with the Spirit. People were openly weeping.”
Prior to the dedication, an open house for the temple was held 26 April–24 May. Nearly 260,000 people toured the new temple.
“As soon as people found out they could come we were inundated with calls from people wanting more details,” said Sister Mathews. Mel Carnahan, the governor of Missouri, and 12 family members toured the facility on the first day of the open house; several state senators and government officials came as well. The open house was scheduled to conclude on 17 May, but so many people were interested in attending that the dates were extended an additional week.
“Community awareness about such an event has not been so great since the World Series was held here in 1985,” notes Sister Mathews. “In one day we had 15,000 people come. The reaction of those that came was wonderful. Time and time again, we heard visitors comment on the remarkable feeling in the temple. One woman said she had never felt such a feeling of peace ever before in any building.”
In December 1990 the First Presidency announced plans to build the St. Louis temple. On 30 October 1993 President Hinckley presided in the groundbreaking for the temple. It is approximately 60,000 square feet and located in the city of Town and Country, 20 miles west of St. Louis, Missouri.