Ravell Call, Deseret News
When the Ogden Utah Temple was dedicated in 1972, it was only the 14th operating temple in the Church and the fifth in Utah, the first in the Beehive State to be constructed in the 20th century. That temple has now been reconstructed from the ground up and is open for public tours preparatory to its rededication in three sessions on Sunday, Sept. 21.
A lot of progress has been made in temple building and Church growth in general in the intervening 42 years. With the reconstruction in Ogden, the Church today has 143 operating temples.
“Now there are 14 functioning temples in the state of Utah, with three additional ones announced,” said Elder Kent F. Richards of the Seventy, as he greeted news media representatives at a briefing July 29 prior to a temple tour.
In 1972, there were 25 stakes in the temple district, said Elder Richards, recently appointed as executive director of the Temple Department. “Now there are 73 stakes, and that represents about 250,000 members of the Church who will look to this temple as their temple.”
Acknowledging that open houses most often occur with new temples, he said, “In many respects, this is a new temple.”
“It’s the same footprint, and many of the structural walls are the same — strengthened for seismic requirements — but all of the exterior and interior walls are redecorated and, as you will see, very beautifully done.”
Indeed, the new temple is strikingly different in appearance from the former design. There was one entrance before; now there are two, one on the west, and one on the east fronting the city’s main thoroughfare of Washington Boulevard.
The cornerstone from the former structure remains with the newly constructed edifice; hence, when it is rededicated, there will be no cornerstone ceremony, noted Elder Craig G. Fisher, an Area Seventy and chairman of the temple open house and rededication committee.
“It is a lovely place,” said Elder Fisher, who lives in the neighboring city of Morgan. “It means a lot to the people of this community. We have 73 stakes that feed into the Ogden Temple District. They come from as far away as Riverton, Wyoming. The stakes in the greater Ogden area extend as far south as Layton.”
Open-house volunteers include 25,000 ushers, Elder Fisher said. The open house will continue through Saturday, Sept. 6, excluding Sundays.
Elder Fisher noted that 450,000 reservations had already been made. “From time to time, additional numbers will be opened up on our reservation line, so we think that most of the people who wish to come and see the temple will have the opportunity to do so,” he said.
Surprisingly, he added, there is adequate parking near the temple for open house visitors, including an underground parking garage below the temple parking lot. The temple is just four blocks away from the Ogden station for Frontrunner, the Utah Transit Authority commuter rail, and Ogden City is providing shuttle service to the temple site, Elder Fisher said.
Elder Richards spoke of the rich Church history and heritage in Ogden.