On June 14, 1931, hundreds of Church leaders, neighbors, and friends joined with Danish Saints at their newly built meetinghouse at 12 Priorvej in the municipality of Frederiksberg, Copenhagen, to celebrate the completion of the building. The festivities began on the 81st anniversary of Erastus Snow’s arrival in Copenhagen. Three dedicatory sessions took place that day, with each session filling the chapel beyond capacity. Extra chairs were placed in the aisles to accommodate the crowd. “May those who are weary and heavy laden find joy and renewed life from the spirit of this house,” Elder John A. Widtsoe of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles prayed. “May it continue in unbroken service until its destined mission shall have been completed.”
For the three days that followed, the Saints in Denmark continued to celebrate the opening of the meetinghouse. On Monday, a seminar with the 10 mission presidents in Europe was held in the meetinghouse throughout the day. That evening “a grand concert” of a combined choir of all the branches in Denmark filled the meetinghouse to capacity. On Tuesday, after another multimission conference during the day, the Mutual Improvement Association held a drama, public speaking, musical, and debate competition in the recreation hall of the meetinghouse. Danish folk dancing capped off the evening’s festivities. “It marks the opening of a new era of the Church in Europe,” the Millennial Star declared. “Permanency; for that is the program of the Church—to build up strong centers of the Church in European fields.”
Generations of Saints worshipped, socialized, and served together in the building over the next seven decades. Important life events took place there: people gathered at 12 Priorvej for baby blessings, baptisms, civil weddings, and funerals. Saints worshipped in the Priorvej meetinghouse during World War II, when it also served as a bomb shelter. It was in the Priorvej meetinghouse that the first stake in all of Scandinavia was organized in 1974. In 1981 hundreds of Saints gathered to celebrate the building’s 50th anniversary, honoring the place where they’d grown close to God and to each other. “Those who have lived and live in Denmark’s beautiful capital never forget their dear Priorvej 12,” a tribute in the program read, “where they have laughed and cried [together].”
In the late 1990s, as the Church began to build smaller temples, Saints in Denmark wondered if they’d be able to have one in their own country. As Copenhagen stake president Johann Koch assembled a report on the logistics of temple trips, he included a note that said, “We’d love to have a temple in Denmark.” The next year, Koch was informed that there were plans in the works to remodel the Priorvej building into a temple. A public announcement was made on March 17, 1999.
In 2004 when the reconstruction was completed, some 25,000 people visited the temple during its open house. “It was a fantastic experience to see people’s reactions,” Neils Andersen of the Roskilde Ward recalled of his experience guiding tours. He remembered one visitor in particular, an architect who felt the temple touched him in a way he could not explain.
On May 23, 2004, the Copenhagen temple was dedicated for use. Within its walls, Saints perform sacred ordinances for their ancestors, linking additional generations into the legacy of this special and sacred building.