“President Hinckley Dedicates Redlands California Temple,” Ensign, Nov. 2003, 122–23
On 14 September 2003, with the San Bernardino mountain range as a backdrop, thousands of Church members gathered to participate in the dedication of the Redlands California Temple, the Church’s 116th. President Gordon B. Hinckley dedicated the temple and was accompanied by his wife, Marjorie; Elder Robert D. Hales of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles; and members of the North America West Area Presidency.
“This beautiful structure has come of the consecrations of Thy Saints in all the world,” said President Hinckley in the dedicatory prayer. “Bless them for their faith and faithfulness. Open the windows of heaven, as Thou hast promised through the prophet Malachi, and pour down blessings upon them that there shall not be room enough to receive them.”
The Redlands Temple was announced by the First Presidency on 21 April 2001. Construction began on 11 March 2002. The temple took approximately 16 months to complete.
“We love this temple—from the concrete foundation to the top of Moroni,” said Elder Jerry Quinn, who with his wife is a missionary assigned to the temple project. “It is like having heaven in your backyard.”
The temple was open to the public from 9 August to 6 September 2003. With the help of approximately 11,000 volunteers, more than 140,000 people were able to tour the temple and learn more about its purposes and ordinances.
“Touring the temple gave me a spiritual understanding of God’s plan of salvation through the LDS Church. Thank you!” said Patricia Goodman, a Catholic from Long Beach, California, who attended the open house.
“The neighbors have been so helpful and understanding,” said Douglas Glauser, chairman of the open house committee. This was also reflected in President Hinckley’s dedicatory prayer: “We are grateful for the spirit of hospitality which we have experienced here. May it increase that we may live in harmony with our neighbors, walking as examples before them. We pray that many may be constrained in their hearts to learn more of Thy great plan of salvation, that the mantle of membership may come upon them and enfold them.”
The Redlands area has long been friendly to the Church. Brigham Young wanted to establish multiple way stations between Salt Lake City and the Pacific port of San Pedro Bay (now known as Long Beach). In the summer of 1851, two Apostles of the Church, Amasa Lyman and Charles C. Rich, were sent to California with authorization from Brigham Young to purchase land. The colonists who went with them included 437 men, women, and children.
On 1 October 1851 they purchased 35,000 acres of land known as Rancho San Bernardino from Antonio Maria Lugo. The purchased property included the tract on which the Redlands Temple now stands.
President Hinckley noted this long-standing connection as he dedicated the newly built temple: “Father, our people are not strangers to this area. … Thy work has more recently been firmly planted here. Wilt Thou cause it to grow and flourish and touch many hearts that they may turn to Thee and learn of Thy ways and do Thy will and bidding.”