INDIANAPOLIS, Indiana — It’s a mystery that even life-long residents of the state of Indiana can’t solve.
They call themselves Hoosiers — an identity that has to do with cornfields, basketball and racecars, a transportation hub, and a community of acceptance and rich cultural diversity. Being a Hoosier is tightly woven into the fabric of Indiana’s local identity.
Yet no one knows where the term came from. Even Wikipedia simply defines the term as “a resident of the U.S. state of Indiana.”
“Part of the greatness to being a Hoosier is there is a little bit of mystery to that,” said Elder Paul H. Sinclair, who has lived in Indiana for the past 23 years.
Now, being a Hoosier will mean a bit more to members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Indiana — where local members are celebrating the completion of a new temple.
President Henry B. Eyring, first counselor in the First Presidency, dedicated the Indianapolis Indiana Temple — the first temple in the Hoosier State and the 148th worldwide — in three sessions Sunday.
“Part of what it means now to be a Hoosier is we have a temple in our backyard,” said Elder Sinclair, an Area Seventy and chairman of the local temple committee.
The 34,000-square-foot building in Carmel, Indiana, was announced by President Thomas S. Monson in October 2010 general conference; construction began on the site in September 2012.
Before dedicating the temple, President Eyring — who was accompanied to Indianapolis by Elder M. Russell Ballard of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles and other general authorities — greeted Latter-day Saints gathered on the temple grounds and placed mortar on the temple’s symbolic cornerstone. Elder Kent F. Richards of the Seventy and executive director of the LDS Church’s temple department, told the crowd that the cornerstone “is symbolic of Jesus Christ as the chief cornerstone of all that we do.”
The temple dedication followed a youth cultural celebration Saturday evening in the IUPUI Carroll Track & Soccer Stadium in downtown Indianapolis. Speaking to the 1,500 youth before the celebration — which highlighted local history through music and dance — President Eyring reminded teens of the many hours they spent preparing to participate in the event.
“You have found talents you did not know you had as you prepared for this event,” he said. “You will never forget the feeling of satisfaction as you discover that, through effort and determination, you could do more than you thought possible. You have stretched higher and farther than you thought you could. One of the reasons you have felt that growth is that the Lord has magnified your performance because of your faith in him.”
He told the youth their purpose is “to help the Lord fill the world with light.” Then, President Eyring gave them a directive.
“Let’s fill this stadium with joy, with love and with light,” he said.
Bryanna Sperry, 15, said the cultural celebration was a way to show the culture of Indiana and the different aspects of what Latter-day Saints represent.
The new temple also reflects many aspects of Indiana cultural and tradition. The building is decorated with a motif of blossoms from the tulip poplar — Indiana’s state tree — and circles, representing Indianapolis’ nickname, Circle City.
That symbolism makes it easy for local Latter-day Saints to add the temple to the long list of things they connect with being a Hoosier.
“It is an Indiana temple,” said Brayden Enz, 15, who attended the first dedicatory session. “It is not just any temple. It is ours.”
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