“Anchorage and São Paulo Temples Rededicated; Idaho Site Announced,” Ensign, Apr. 2004, 76–77
President Gordon B. Hinckley rededicated temples in Anchorage, Alaska, and São Paulo, Brazil, in February, and a location has been announced for the new temple in Rexburg, Idaho. As of March, the Church is operating 117 temples worldwide and has 11 more announced or under construction. The next scheduled temple dedication is in Copenhagen, Denmark, in May.
Anchorage Alaska Temple
President Hinckley rededicated the Anchorage Alaska Temple during a single session on Sunday, 8 February 2004, after an expansion nearly doubled its size from 6,800 to 11,937 square feet.
“Touch those of this temple district with Thy Holy Spirit, and stir within them a desire to use this beautiful facility in the accomplishment of Thy divine will,” President Hinckley said during the dedicatory prayer. “May they find great joy in coming here. May it be a haven of peace from the cares and stress of the world, a refuge from the hurried pace of their lives. As they here serve, may they be lifted in spirit, and may there come into their vision something of the divine light that is of Thy nature.”
The public toured the temple during an open house held 27–31 January 2004. Originally dedicated in 1999, the temple was one of the first to be built under the small temple concept announced by President Hinckley in 1997.
The temple serves more than 27,000 members in seven Alaska stakes and one district in northwest Canada. Remodeling on the temple began in April 2003. Additions include a second ordinance room, a laundry facility, men and women’s dressing rooms, a waiting room, and office space.
São Paulo Brazil Temple
Just over 25 years after its original dedication, the São Paulo Brazil Temple, the first temple in South America, was rededicated on 22 February 2004 after extensive renovation. Outwardly, the addition of a statue of the angel Moroni was the only change to the 53,246-square-foot temple during the 16-month closure.
Inside, a non-patron waiting room, a marriage waiting room, a temple worker dressing room, and a sealing room were added. The chapel was enlarged, as were the other sealing rooms. The cafeteria and youth waiting area were remodeled, and a special art-glass representation of the Savior appearing in the Americas was placed in the lobby.
Ninety percent of all materials used in the project were Brazilian, from fabrics to the mahogany and granite. Much of the original furniture crafted by Walter Spat, the first stake president in South America, was refurbished.
Local Latter-day Saints performed during a special celebration held 21 February at the 50,000-seat Pacaembu Stadium. (Coverage of the cultural celebration will be included in a future issue of the Ensign.)
President Hinckley presided at the single dedicatory session, which was broadcast to all 185 stakes throughout Brazil. (A transcript of the dedicatory prayer was unavailable at press time.) Brazil also has temples in Porto Alegre and Recife, both dedicated in 2000, and in Campinas, dedicated in 2002. A temple has also been announced for Curitiba, Brazil.
Rexburg Idaho Temple
Latter-day Saints in Rexburg, Idaho, are preparing themselves for a new temple that will stand prominently on “Rexburg Hill,” south of the BYU—Idaho campus.
The new temple, announced in December 2003, will be located on the southwest corner of Seventh South and Second East. A timetable for temple construction had not been decided before press time.
The Church currently operates two temples in Idaho—the Idaho Falls Idaho Temple, dedicated in 1945, and the Boise Idaho Temple, dedicated in 1984. There are more than 360,000 members of the Church in Idaho.
With more than 17,000 residents, Rexburg has five stakes. There are seven more at BYU—Idaho, where 11,000 students were enrolled last fall.