Manhattan Temple Dedication Generates Worldwide Interest

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“Manhattan Temple Dedication Generates Worldwide Interest,” Ensign, Sept. 2004, 74

Manhattan Temple Dedication Generates Worldwide Interest

After a month-long open house, President Gordon B. Hinckley dedicated the Manhattan New York Temple in four sessions on 13 June 2004. Sixteen meetinghouses received live broadcasts of the dedication, interpreted in 10 languages.

The opening of the temple caused an international media stir, with a variety of media outlets in the United States and throughout the world featuring not only the new temple, but also explaining some of the Church’s history, beliefs, and reasons for the temple. More than 53,000 people of various faiths attended the open house of the temple, located across from the Lincoln Center and one block west of Central Park.

A jubilee produced by Church members and held at famed Radio City Music Hall also received attention. President Hinckley attended and spoke at the event, which boasted the largest cast to ever perform on that stage—more than 2,400 young Latter-day Saints. The performance included song, dance, and videotaped segments, and it showcased the talents of many Latter-day Saints who earn their living performing, directing, or producing shows on Broadway.

During the May open house, visitors commented on the sense of peace they felt while touring the newly remodeled building. While the temple is soundproof—keeping out the bustling noise of a city that never sleeps—tour guides had the opportunity to explain the peace that comes from being in the house of the Lord.

In his dedicatory prayer, President Hinckley said, “May this temple be a place of quiet refuge in the midst of this great and noisy metropolis. May all who enter its portals feel they have stepped from the world into a place of Thy divine presence.”

The temple will serve 42,000 members, who until now have had to travel to Boston, Massachusetts, or Washington, D.C., to attend the temple.

Since the 1970s the Church has used the building as an office and meetinghouse. Now, the first, second, fifth, and sixth floors comprise the temple’s 20,630 square feet (1,920 sq m). The floors sandwich a meeting hall, gym, and offices. It is one of only two Latter-day Saint temples that are not freestanding; the other is the Hong Kong China Temple.

At the time of the dedication, the exterior of the Manhattan New York Temple looked much like another office building to passersby, but the Church later received clearance to add a spire topped with a golden angel Moroni, which was added in June. A new facing is being added to the south and west sides of the building.

An artist’s rendition shows the Manhattan New York Temple with a new façade and a steeple, new features that were still under construction as of press time.

Young members of the Church perform in Radio City Music Hall before the dedication of the Manhattan New York Temple. (Photograph by Shaun Stahle, courtesy of Church News.)