In addition to Independence Hall, the Philadelphia Museum of Art, the Comcast Center and the Philadelphia City Hall, The City of Brotherly Love has a new building under construction that is gaining attention: the LDS Philadelphia Temple.
On Nov. 25, Philly.com ran an article about the unique requirements workers agreed to in constructing the temple, which is owned and will be operated by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
“To the union workers toiling away on-site, the 60,000-square-foot project is vastly different from any they've undertaken before,” wrote Alex Wigglesworth in her article for Philly.com.
The rules construction workers uphold include no smoking, coffee or swearing. Meetings with foremen and project managers begin with prayer, though the prayer sessions are optional, according to the article.
Working on the temple are Alex and Pamela Carr of Salt Lake City. Alex is the LDS Church project manager over the Philadelphia Temple, and Pamela is serving as a full-time service missionary. Thanks to some extra efforts of Brother and Sister Carr, the temple construction workers have a special treat to look forward to on Wednesdays.
“Every Wednesday, he and his wife bake 100 cookies — homemade cookies — and they deliver them to the construction workers,” Corinne Dougherty, LDS director of public affairs for the Philadelphia region, said in the article. “The construction workers say, 'It's cookie Wednesday! It's cookie Wednesday!' They love it.”
Among their other duties, Brother and Sister Carr help people in Philadelphia understand the purpose of temples from a construction trailer on the site’s parking lot, which is serving as a temporary visitors center.
The Philly.com article also mentioned a teaching opportunity Brother and Sister Carr created when construction workers discovered granite 30 feet under the temple’s site.
“Many people would see the (granite) development as a setback — it took about six months to chip through — but Alex Carr saw it as a teaching moment,” Wigglesworth wrote in the article. “It brought to his mind a scripture passage in which Christ said a wise man builds his house on rock so it’s not toppled by winds and rains.
“Each day the granite was exposed, Carr climbed down into the pit and returned with bucketfuls of rocks. He began giving them away to visiting youth groups and missionaries as a visual reminder of the importance of building one’s life on firm footing — the rock, of course, serving as an analogy for faith.”
The Philadelphia Temple is on track for a 2016 completion. It will be four stories high and have a Colonial feel to it, with rugs (instead of carpet) and wood, according to the article. The temple will serve around 35,000 members in the area who currently travel to the Manhattan or Washington temples.
“That, while seemingly in distance isn't very far in time to get there, in commitment and so forth, it becomes a struggle for families,” Elder Robert Smith said in the article. “So Philadelphia was chosen as a natural place to have us build a temple, and we are excited about it.”
The Gilbert Arizona Temple was also featured in the news. Last Friday, ABC 15 ran a segment about the temple’s nearing completion and open house. The Gilbert Arizona Temple Open House will run from Jan. 18 to Feb. 15, 2014, according to MormonTemples.org.
Editor's note: A previous version of this story said the new temple would serve 3,500 LDS church members. The actual number is 35,000. This has been corrected.