A model of the Washington D.C. Temple of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is now on display. The model provides visitors a glimpse of the temple’s interior and a way to learn about the purpose of Latter-day Saint temples. The new temple exhibit opened to the public at the Washington D.C. Temple Visitors’ Center on Saturday, January 10, 2015.

Local community and religious leaders were invited to a special Saturday evening reception attended by President Henry B. Eyring, first counselor in the First Presidency. President Eyring’s brother, Elder Harden Eyring, is serving as the visitors’ center director with his wife, Loi Anne, through January 16.

“We have been hoping and planning for this temple display for most of the two years my wife and I have been serving here at the Washington D.C. Temple Visitors’ Center,” said Elder Harden Eyring. “Now that it has arrived and is ready for its introduction to the public, we are simply overwhelmed with how beautiful and inspiring it is.”

After viewing the new model, President Henry B. Eyring admired the construction. “This model is remarkable in the sense that it catches the beauty and I think the feeling of reverence,” he said.

Elder Harden Eyring said the Washington D.C. Temple, a landmark in the area, has been “something of a mystery to many friends of other faiths and backgrounds” for the past 40 years. “Many who visit the temple grounds are disappointed that they can’t enter the temple itself. This display will help them to feel the witness of the Spirit inviting all to come unto Christ.”

Only members of the Church in good standing are allowed to enter temples, where the highest sacraments of the faith occur, such as the marriage of couples and the sealing of families for eternity. Before temples are dedicated, the Church hosts open houses that typically give thousands of people an opportunity to walk through the beautiful rooms and learn about the purpose of these buildings deemed sacred for Mormons.

“The First Presidency chose to do this to give others the opportunity to learn about the blessings of the temple in a visitor center setting,” said Mark Lusvardi, director of public programs for the Church’s Missionary Department. Lusvardi explained this is the third exhibit on temples at the visitors’ center since it was remodeled in 2012. Other temple exhibits focus on temples around the world and the history of the Washington D.C. Temple, which was dedicated on November 19, 1974.

The exhibit was built using three-dimensional scans of the temple’s interior and exterior to create the 1:48 scaled replica, similar to the 1:32 scale model of the Salt Lake Temple that was the first temple replica to go on display in the South Visitors’ Center on Temple Square in May 2010. “It has been one of the most popular exhibits on Temple Square,” said Lusvardi.

The finished model of the Washington D.C. Temple, including the display case, is about 9 feet 5 inches high by 6 feet 7 inches wide by 5 feet 8 inches deep. The model, placed in front of a window facing the temple, features all levels of the temple. Ordinance and sealing rooms and the baptistry are depicted. The model also includes detailed furniture, light fixtures, moldings and doors.

Digital files of the architectural plans of the temple had to be created because the original plans were all hand drawn. In order to replicate the rooms, a 3D scan and digital measurements were taken of the rooms and the furnishings inside the temple.

The Washington D.C. Temple is located on a 52-acre site about 10 miles north of the United States Capitol. It serves Latter-day Saints in Washington, D.C., Pennsylvania, Virginia, West Virginia, Maryland, Delaware and New Jersey.

Elder Harden Eyring hopes “the experience of contemplating this display will create a curiosity and desire in many sons and daughters of God to know more and to seek to understand how they can open the doors of the temple for themselves and their families.”