“Three Temples Dedicated in United States,” Ensign, Nov. 1999, 109–11
Spokane Washington Temple
In Spokane, Washington, on 21 August, President Gordon B. Hinckley dedicated the Church’s 59th operating temple. Also participating were Elder David B. Haight of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles and Elder John M. Madsen of the Seventy, First Counselor in the North America Northwest Area Presidency.
“We bow in reverent wonder before Thee at the great and eternal plan Thou hast provided for Thy sons and daughters of all generations,” President Hinckley said in his dedicatory prayer. “Touch the hearts of the people in this temple district that the spirit of Elijah may rest upon them, that their hearts may turn to their fathers, and that they may be motivated to search out their forebears and do a great vicarious work on their behalf.”
A total of more than 16,000 members attended 11 dedicatory sessions, and earlier in August about 52,000 people toured the temple during a public open house. Before the first dedicatory session, about 200 people gathered outside at the temple’s southeast corner to watch President Hinckley and others perform the ceremonial sealing of the cornerstone.
In a media interview about the new smaller temples, President Hinckley said: “They are very well built of the finest materials. We’re very happy with them, and I think the people are very happy with them. They’re just a wonderful way of making it possible for people in many areas of the world to have within a reasonable distance of where they live a temple in which they can work.”
Located in the Spokane suburb of Opportunity next to the Spokane Washington East Stake Center and a Church-owned recreational complex, the temple has 10,700 square feet. The temple district includes members living in eastern Washington and parts of northern Idaho and western Montana.
Columbus Ohio Temple
About 160 miles from the Church’s first temple in Kirtland, Ohio, President Hinckley dedicated the new Columbus Ohio Temple on 4 September. “Much has changed in the 163 years since the Kirtland Temple was dedicated,” said President Hinckley. “Our people are more accepted now. It is a new day of opportunity. The struggles of Kirtland are past.”
About 11,000 members from the 10 stakes of the temple district attended six dedicatory sessions held over two days. Also in attendance were Elder L. Tom Perry of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles and Elder Loren C. Dunn of the Seventy, President of the North America East Area. A few weeks before the dedication, about 30,000 people attended a public open house.
In the dedicatory prayer, President Hinckley quoted several verses from Doctrine and Covenants 109 [D&C 109], which contains the Prophet Joseph Smith’s dedicatory prayer for the Kirtland Temple. President Hinckley quoted part of the Prophet Joseph Smith’s prayer “‘that thy church may come forth out of the wilderness of darkness, and shine forth fair as the moon, clear as the sun, and terrible as an army with banners; and be adorned as a bride for that day when thou shalt unveil the heavens’” (D&C 109:73–74).
President Hinckley also said: “We pray for Thy cause in all the earth. Bless the faithful tithe payers throughout the Church whose consecrated offerings have made this structure possible. Shower blessings upon them, and increase their faith as they give of their means to the building of Thy kingdom.”
Located on the western side of Columbus on property adjacent to the Columbus Ohio Stake Center, the smaller-sized temple has 11,700 square feet. The temple district takes in most of Ohio and the western part of West Virginia.
Bismarck North Dakota Temple
“We thank Thee for the faith of Thy sons and daughters in the vast area of this temple district, men and women who love Thee and love their Redeemer and have stood steadfast as Thy people,” said President Hinckley on 19 September in his dedicatory prayer for the Bismarck North Dakota Temple, which serves about 9,000 members living in an area of about 200,000 square miles. “They have felt much alone. They are out on the frontier of the Church. Their numbers are still not large. But they are entitled to every blessing which the Church has to offer, including the ordinances here administered.”
Also participating were Elder Richard G. Scott of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles and Elder Yoshihiko Kikuchi of the Seventy, First Counselor in the North America Central Area Presidency. About 3,000 members attended three dedicatory sessions, and about 10,300 people toured the temple during an earlier open house. Before the first dedication session, a youth choir sang at the cornerstone sealing ceremony.
“May they come here frequently,” President Hinckley said in the dedicatory prayer. “Wilt Thou bless them for their efforts and reward them for their faith. Watch over them and keep them from harm and trouble in the long distances many will still travel. Bless Thy Church and kingdom. Bless all who serve therein. Touch the hearts of those who have become indifferent and careless, that they may be stirred to return to activity and participate in the blessings of this Thy house.”
The temple district includes four stakes and one district in North Dakota, South Dakota, western Minnesota, and northern Nebraska. The 10,352-square-foot Bismarck temple is the Church’s 61st operating temple, the sixth completed smaller temple, and the eighth temple dedicated this year. The Church still has 54 temples in planning or construction phases, for a total of 115 temples.