FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. — Tens of thousands of people have visited the Fort Lauderdale Florida Temple during the temple open house March 29-April 19.
Curiosity drew most visitors to the edifice. Some simply wanted to tour its placid ordinance rooms and halls and enjoy the surrounding gardens. Others had interest in learning what will soon happen inside the new structure.
But a sizable number of open house guests left the Church’s 143rd temple having experienced something entirely unexpected.
“They walked away from the temple with a great change in their heart,” said Miami Lakes Florida Stake President James Robinson. “Some asked if they could become members. Others have said they wanted to be married inside the temple.”
President Robinson’s stake and members from five other stakes forming the new Fort Lauderdale temple district participated in the open house.
In a few short weeks, the temple has already become a visible and vibrant element of South Florida.
Miracles, said President Robinson, have marked each day at the temple. “The open house has been a tremendous success in every regard,” he said.
Local leaders are thrilled with both the interest and respect the local media have shown the Church and its new temple. Every major news agency covered the first days of the open house. One television station dedicated a full day of live reports from the temple grounds, interviewing several local members and visitors and broadcasting lengthy stories on the purpose of the temple.
The volunteer labor and efforts of the South Florida members ensured a successful open house.
“We’ve had some members who have served every day during the open house and others who have served whenever they can,” President Robinson said. “Some of our volunteers don’t have cars, and they’ve walked miles each day to volunteer at the temple.”
As the open house comes to a close, Latter-day Saints here are shifting their attention to the temple's dedication on May 4 and the youth cultural event that will be staged on the eve of the dedication.
“Our youth are as excited as I’ve ever seen them,” President Robinson said. “They want to share the history of the Church in south Florida.”
The young cast members are rehearsing their songs and dances several times each week.
The temple will be dedicated in three sessions, with each being broadcast to all stakes and districts across the Sunshine State. It will then open for ordinance work on Tuesday, May 6.
The Fort Lauderdale Florida Temple is the second temple constructed in Florida. The Orlando Florida Temple was dedicated in 1994.