ATLANTA — Closed for renovations for the past 21 months, the LDS Church's Atlanta Georgia Temple is scheduled for rededication in May and a public open house beginning this weekend.
The schedule was announced Thursday by the First Presidency of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
The open house begins Saturday and runs daily — excluding Sundays — through Saturday, April 23, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m on Mondays and 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. on other days.
Tickets are required for admittance but are free by visiting lds.org/reservations<./p>
The temple is scheduled to be rededicated in two sessions Sunday, May 1, by LDS Church President Thomas S. Monson, with the sessions broadcast by satellite to surrounding church meetinghouses to accommodate some of the 80,000 Mormons living in the temple district.
Also in conjunction with the temple's rededication, a cultural program will be held on the evening of April 30 in the Atlanta Civic Center.
Originally announced in 1980 by then-President Spencer W. Kimball and dedicated in June 1983 by President Gordon B. Hinckley, then a counselor in the First Presidency, the Atlanta temple — located in the suburb of Sandy Springs 15 miles north of downtown Atlanta — was closed in July 2009 for renovations.
Improvements include the replacement of electrical, plumbing and HVAC systems, installation of an automatic fire sprinkler system, and complete functionality for disabled patrons,
New features include eucalyptus hardwood from Brazil, stonework with marble from Pakistan and Italy, Swarovski crystal chandeliers, new art, etched carpets and 45 new art-glass panels, with some panels including crushed crystals from the temple's original chandeliers.
The added windows allow for increased natural light inside.
The exterior remains mostly unchanged, with the few exceptions including the new windows, the newly gilded angel Moroni statue and some new landscaping.
When built, the Atlanta Georgia Temple was the LDS Church's 21st overall and its first in the southern United States. Now, there are 134 Mormon temples in operation worldwide — including at least one in every state adjoining Georgia — and another 26 temples either announced or under construction.
A temple-specific web site — www.atlantamormontemple.org — provides additional information and images.
Copyright 2015, Deseret News Publishing Company