PROVO, Utah — More than 800,000 guests toured the new Provo City Center Temple during a seven-week open house, surpassing expectations and anticipated capacity.
Many Mormons with ties to Provo felt a special connection to the temple, because it rose out of the ashes of the Provo Tabernacle, an important community landmark and gathering place gutted by fire in December 2010.
Some visitors stood in line for two-and-a-half hours to see the 150th temple of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Nights and Saturdays were the busiest. Many guests experienced no wait.
Church leaders will dedicate the temple on March 20 in three dedicatory sessions — 9 a.m., noon and 3 p.m. The sessions will be broadcast live to all Utah LDS meetinghouses. Regular LDS Church services in Utah that day are canceled.
Organizers and observers expected 630,000 to 700,000 guests for the open house, which began Jan. 15 and ended March 5. Other temple open houses have drawn more visitors, such as the Bountiful Utah Temple, a much larger building which had 870,000 visitors during its 1994 open house. The smaller size of the Provo City Center Temple reduced the capacity for its open house, but organizers maximized opportunities, increasing capacity as the open house progressed.
For example, they helped those without open house tickets by publishing a web page that monitored wait times in the standby line.
The Provo open house is one of two LDS temple open houses since the start of 2016. The church held a one-week open house for the Suva Fiji Temple prior to its rededication in January. More than 22,000 visitors toured the renovated temple, a major turnout motivated by the fact that the temple's original open house in 2000 was interrupted by a government coup.
During 2015, about 810,000 people toured seven LDS temples during open houses around the world.