Public Open House from May 8 – June 5

SALT LAKE CITY — The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints will open a new temple in Manhattan at 125 Columbus Avenue across from Lincoln Center on June 13, 2004.

The temple is the first ever in the New York metro region and will serve more than 42,000 church members in New York, New Jersey and Connecticut. Currently, most members in the area travel to Boston to visit a temple.

A month-long public open house will be held from May 8, 2004, through June 5, 2004, before the building is formally dedicated, after which it will be closed to the public. Open house hours will be Mondays 9:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. and Tuesday through Saturday from 9:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m.

This particular temple is unusual because of its location in midtown Manhattan.  Most Latter-day Saint temples are free-standing structures surrounded by manicured gardens in suburban settings.  However, the Manhattan temple, similar to the Church’s temple in Hong Kong, was built in an existing building and rises six stories above ground in an urban setting one block west of Central Park.  Temple visitors will use four of the building’s levels; the other levels house a chapel, classrooms and church offices. 

Brent Belnap, chairman of the temple committee, said the Church is expecting thousands of visitors.  “Because they are only open to the public before dedication, temple open houses typically draw visitors from a wide area,” he said. “We think people will find this sacred space in one of the busiest cities in the world to be truly remarkable.”

President Gordon B. Hinckley, the world leader of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, will formally dedicate the temple on Sunday, June 13, 2004. Four private dedicatory sessions are planned to accommodate as many New York City area Latter-day Saints as possible.  A cornerstone ceremony will be at 9:00 a.m. on Sunday, June 13, 2004, prior to the first dedicatory session.

The temple will be the second in New York state (the Palmyra New York Temple was dedicated in 2000) and the 119th in the world. Temples are considered “houses of the Lord” where Christ’s teachings are reaffirmed through sacred ordinances such as eternal marriage, baptism and family “sealings” which unite families for eternity.

Latter-day Saint temples differ from the tens of thousands of local meetinghouses where members typically meet for Sunday worship services and midweek social activities, and where visitors are always welcome. Temples are used solely for the performance of sacred ordinances and religious instruction aimed at strengthening members’ relationships with God and their fellow man.

The building, designed by Frank Fernandez of New Jersey-based F. Fernandez A.I.A., celebrates the Church’s New York roots while also incorporating elements reflecting its international headquarters in Utah. The building is adjacent to other city buildings and blends into the surrounding urban landscape.

Among its many unique features is a soundproofed inner shell, which creates a quiet, peaceful atmosphere where members can enjoy spiritual reflection. Its sculpted carpets, decorations, artwork and furnishings speak of beauty and excellence. 

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints was founded by Joseph Smith in Fayette, New York, in 1830. Today it is among the world’s fastest-growing religions, with nearly 12 million members globally.