BOISE, IDAHO — In the heart of "Treasure Valley," President Thomas S. Monson rededicated on Sunday morning the Boise Idaho Temple — a structure local members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints here consider to be a priceless treasure.
The temple, originally dedicated in 1984, closed 15 months ago for extensive renovation.
The evening before the rededication, President Monson told a group of 9,200 young people, gathered for the youth cultural celebration, that the temple "shines as a beacon of righteousness to all who will follow its light."
"We treasure that light, and we thank our Heavenly Father for the blessings this temple and all temples bring into our lives," he said.
President Monson — accompanied by Elder David A. Bednar of the Church's Quorum of the Twelve, Elder Craig C. Christensen of the Presidency of the Seventy and Elder William R. Walker of the Seventy and executive director of the temple department — then praised the young people for their goodness, asked them to never forget the feeling of standing together with other Latter-day Saints, and left them with a special blessing.
"My young brothers and sisters, I pronounce a blessing upon you tonight, that you may feel the love which we have for you," he said. "May you know, also, that our Heavenly Father loves you. I bless you that you will ever have a desire to serve Him and His son Jesus Christ. I bless you that you will always walk in truth and treasure the light of the temple."
The program highlighted the many things Church members in the Boise Idaho Temple district treasure: the light of faith, heritage, industry, families, youth, liberty, service and the gospel. In a grand finale, as they sang "True to the Faith" and "Carry On," the youth then celebrated the greatest light in their lives — the light of Christ.
On Sunday, Elder Bednar said there was enough energy during the program "to power every home in the United States for six months."
The production was less about dancing and more about preparing for the temple, said Gary Walker, Youth Cultural Celebration sub-committee chairman.
Walker said substantially more youth participated in the event than expected. Because of the large number, the youth filled the Taco Bell Arena on the campus of Boise State University and their families and others gathered in remote locations to watch the program, which was broadcast to stake centers throughout the temple district.
Arlin Jones, executive producer, said organizers wanted all the youth to be the center of the celebration. "They wouldn't fit on the floor," he explained, "so the whole arena became the stage."
Elder Bednar said the youth in the celebration live an area where the Church is strong and growing stronger.
To be in the house of the Lord with the faithful Church members from the area "is a rich experience," he said between the first and second of three dedicatory sessions on Sunday.
"There is a warmth, light, brightness and radiance that comes from a temple anywhere in the world," he said.
The Boise Idaho Temple serves approximately 100,000 Latter-day Saints from 31 stakes in Treasure Valley and an area extending from La Grande, Ore., to Glenn's Ferry, Idaho.
Steven Mortensen served as a regional representative for the Church in 1984 and coordinated much of the original dedication of the temple.
He spoke of the process of finding a site for the temple near the interstate so it could be easily accessible and recalled attending all but one or two of the original 24 dedicatory sessions.
During those sessions, President Gordon B. Hinckley promised LDS Church members in Boise that the temple would become "the most significant structure in the valley."
"Time has proved that statement," Mortensen said. "I love the temple. The temple is the crown jewel."
K. Brett Nattress, an Area Seventy and chairman of the local temple committee, said it will be a great blessing to have the temple open again.
"You can feel it," he said. "There is a sense of excitement, a great sense of anticipation and a deep sense of gratitude of our members to have this temple."
Nattress, who has lived in Boise since 1990, called the area wonderful. "The Saints are remarkable, faithful and humble."
He said local Latter-day Saints have volunteered thousands of hours for the open house, cultural celebration and dedication.
"I have been so impressed with the faithfulness of our members and their willingness to serve," he said.
Ultimately, everything that was done during the open house and dedication is about the temple, he said. "For me that's what this is all about — the House of the Lord."
Copyright 2017, Deseret News Publishing Company