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Exterior view of the LDS Church's Meridian Idaho Temple, prior to the new temple's October 2017 open house.

MERIDIAN, Idaho — The first glimpses inside the LDS Church’s new Meridian Idaho Temple came Monday morning as an online release of interior images coincided with an onsite media open house.

With a public open house to begin later this week and dedication set for next month, the towering, 67,331-square-foot edifice will be the 158th operating temple of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

It becomes the second temple in the metropolitan Boise area — only 8.8 miles from the Boise Idaho Temple — and the fifth in the state of Idaho. Others are located in Idaho Falls, Rexburg and Twin Falls, with a sixth announced for Pocatello.

The Meridian temple’s exterior resembles the Cardston Alberta and Laie Hawaii temples, early LDS temples built in the 1910s and 1920s. One reason is that the Meridian temple features Prairie School or Prairie Style architecture — a late 19th- and early 20th-century North American architectural style featuring horizontal lines, restraint in decoration, flat or hipped roofs, windows assembled in horizontal bands and a design integrated with surrounding landscapes.

"I do love the combination of the classical architecture with a historical connection with Laie and other temples. I love the fact that from one generation to another of temples that there are some things that are consistent – there’s an echo, at least," said Elder Quentin L. Cook of the church's Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, who is in Meridian this week.

"But more than that," he added, "I love the fact that the Saints here are so worthy and so committed to the Savior that the Lord through his prophet would have a very special and beautiful temple here in this part of the Lord’s vineyard."

Elder Cook and Elder Larry Y. Wilson, a General Authority Seventy and executive director of the church's Temple Department, are leading special-guest tours through the temple this week, with groups including media, state and local government officials and leaders of other faiths.

With its warm-white precast concrete panels, the temple’s exterior design treats three themes — agriculture, mountains and meridians. The latter comes from the city’s name, which in turn was based on being on the Boise meridian, one of 35 principal meridians used for surveying control in the United States.

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Exterior view of the LDS Church's Meridian Idaho Temple, prior to the new temple's October 2017 open house.

Topping the temple is an octagonal cupola cap, with the titanium surface changing colors from blue-gray to gold, depending on the sun. And atop the cupola is the signature gold-plated Angel Moroni statue, measuring 13 feet 6 inches, which gives the temple a total height of 120 feet, 2 inches.

Art-glass designs begin with seed elements at the base of the windows, then stems, then rising to blossoming lily-like flowers.

Dominant colors throughout the temple are the creamy whites of the syringa, the state flower of Idaho; the amber gold of the Treasure Valley grasses; the turquoise of the sky and the bronze of the region’s woods.

The interiors include Sunny Vinato marble from Egypt and mahogany-like Sapele wood from Africa. Lily-like flowers are featured in carpet carvings in the celestial and sealing rooms.

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An instruction room inside the LDS Church's new Meridian Idaho Temple.

Also found on columns in the celestial room and the altars in the sealing rooms are details of the white syringa flower and the blue-white, six-petaled camas flower.

The Meridian Idaho Temple was one of three announced by LDS Church President Thomas S. Monson in April 2011 general conference. Elder David A. Bednar presided over the Aug. 23, 2014, groundbreaking and site dedication. The Angel Moroni statue was set atop the building on July 20, 2016.

LDS temples differ from the church’s meetinghouses, the latter open to the public and used for Sunday worship and weekday meetings and activities. Once dedicated, the temple will be accessible only to active Latter-day Saints who are in good standing.

Rather than used for Sunday worship meetings, the temple is considered by Mormons to be a place of holiness, a house of the Lord, where members meeting in smaller temple sessions throughout the week make promises and commitments — or covenants — to God.

They also participate in the highest and holiest of ceremonies, including the marriage of couples and the “sealing” of families for eternities.

Also, the temple is the only place where ceremonies or sacred rites such as baptism and sealings can be done in proxy or in behalf of those who have died, similar to teachings found in the New Testament.

Besides the ceremonies, temples are a place of instruction for members about Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ and their teachings.

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The baptismal font of the LDS Church's new Meridian Idaho Temple.

The public open house is scheduled to run from Saturday, Oct. 21, through Nov. 11, excluding Sundays. The temple will be dedicated on Sunday, Nov. 19, in three sessions, which will be broadcast by the LDS Church to its meetinghouses in the temple district of 16 stakes in southwestern Idaho and eastern Oregon as well as throughout the state of Idaho.

Architecture for the project was done by Richardson Design Partnership, with the contractor being Jacobsen Construction.

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While the LDS Church’s presence in Idaho dates back to 1855, the first organized church meetings in Meridian didn’t occur until 1932, with the city’s first meetinghouse coming in 1939.

Meridian’s first LDS stake — similar to a diocese in the Catholic Church, a stake is a collection of five or more congregations or "wards" — was created in 1972. Meridian is currently home to eight stakes, 63 congregations and nearly 28,000 church members.

With a 2016 population of 95,623 and an 81-percent growth rate since 2000, Meridian recently surpassed Treasure Valley neighbor Nampa as the state’ second-largest city behind the capital of Boise.