“Preston Temple Dedicated,” Ensign, Sept. 1998, 74–75
“This magnificent temple has been reared in this beautiful area where thy chosen servants, in the days of their deep poverty and great sacrifice, first preached the restored gospel,” prayed President Gordon B. Hinckley during the first dedicatory session of the Preston England Temple on 7 June 1998. “Through 161 years of history, this land of England, together with Scotland, Wales, and Ireland, has yielded a harvest of converts who have blessed and strengthened thy Church.”
Fifteen dedicatory sessions held 7–10 June at the Preston temple were attended by a total of about 18,000 people. The new temple is the centerpiece of a 15-acre Church complex that includes a stake center, a missionary training center, a family history facility, a distribution center, temple patron housing, temple missionary accommodations, and a grounds building. President Hinckley presided over 13 dedicatory sessions, and President Thomas S. Monson, First Counselor in the First Presidency, presided over the final two dedicatory sessions.
President Hinckley’s visit to Preston was the last leg of this journey, which included stops in Maine, France, Germany, and Switzerland (see next article). Prior to arriving in England, President Monson spoke at a regional conference in Rotterdam, Netherlands, and offered a prayer of rededication for preaching the gospel in Copenhagen, Denmark.
Also offering remarks at the temple’s different dedicatory sessions were President Boyd K. Packer, Acting President of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles; Elders M. Russell Ballard and Jeffrey R. Holland of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles; Elder W. Eugene Hansen of the Presidency of the Seventy, Executive Director of the Temple Department; and Elders Cecil O. Samuelson Jr., Spencer J. Condie, and William Rolfe Kerr of the Seventy, who together were serving as the Europe North Area Presidency.
An open house was held from 16–30 May, during which some 123,000 people toured the temple before its dedication. About 70 television, radio, and newspaper journalists attended a media tour, and special tours were held for government leaders and nearby neighbors of the temple. About 2,500 members from 24 stakes volunteered during the open house. Sister missionaries were stationed at information desks, and young male missionaries performed ushering services, particularly for the disabled.
Located near a motorway junction in Chorley, a suburb of Preston, the temple is 65,000 square feet in capacity and three stories tall, with four ordinance rooms and four sealing rooms. A statue of the angel Moroni tops a 155-foot tower, and the building is 102 feet by 175 feet. The temple district comprises 21 stakes and two districts in northern England, northern Wales, Scotland, Ireland, and Northern Ireland.
“May thy people come here with rejoicing in their hearts to enter into covenants with thee and be endowed with power from on high,” President Hinckley said in his dedicatory prayer. “May they kneel at these altars and be sealed together as families under the authority of the holy priesthood. May they return frequently to carry forward a great and selfless labor of vicarious work for the dead, that the earth may not be utterly wasted at the coming of thy Son. May the multitudes of the dead, through living proxies, receive the ordinances herein offered.”