A Connecticut Mormon temple is opening, and the general public is invited to the big moment. Thousands are rejoicing that 18 years after they were promised a place of worship in Connecticut, members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, commonly known as LDS, finally have one.
The newly built Hartford temple can be toured via an appointment from September 30 to October 22 for people to educate themselves on Mormonism, according to Hartford Stake President William Elwell.
However, after its dedication on November 20, only members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints will be accepted. Elwell said he hopes that the general public will not be offended, but a temple is a sacred place reserved for the next stage after a member joins Mormonism. It is for those, who sincerely believe in the church and its teachings.
While there are 155 temples across the globe, the Hartford Connecticut Temple is only the second to open in New England. More than 27,000 Mormons from Connecticut, Rhode Island, Massachusetts, and New York are expected to travel to the new temple several times a week to pray.
It has been a long time coming for Mormons living in that area. In 1992, Gordon B. Hinckley, first counselor in the First Presidency, announced plans for a temple in Connecticut, but in 1995, the plans were changed.
Instead, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints decided to build temples in Boston and New York. In late 2010, 18 years after the original announcement, Thomas S. Monson revealed that this time around the construction was really going to take place.
The temple, which covers 25,000 sq. ft., sits on 11 acres (4.5 hectares) and is 117 feet high. It is topped with a gold-plated statue. It was completed with 10,000 pieces of granite. The majestic temple features one-of-a-kind details such as mahogany, ornate decorations, and even an exquisite chandelier with 9,500 Swarovski crystals.
Mormon Elder Larry Wilson said the temple was built to be perfect in every way. The interior of the temple is a collection of eight rooms, featuring a baptismal room, a sealing room for a marriage ceremony, and the celestial room, a space for contemplation.
Each room makes it possible for church members to move closer to God. Elwell explained:
“They tried back then to put the best of the best in the temple because it was dedicated to God, and that’s the same thing we do. It’s a gorgeous building, and we put the best of the best in there. We want people to know we’re dedicated to God and to Jesus Christ. The temple is one of the symbols of our worship and our belief that life goes on after [this] life.”
“It’s built to a higher standard than almost any building in the world today. We expect this building is going to be here and maintained in pristine condition for all the decades and centuries to come.”
Kevin Starr, the chair of the temple open house and dedication committees, said a large group of people have been working extra hours for the dedication of the temple. Starr revealed:
“It’s just a thrill that this beautiful temple is able to be in the wonderful town of Farmington. It’s an absolute thrill. We are grateful to have this beautiful building as our own community of faith. We’re grateful that prior to its dedication, we’re able to share it with the community … and share the special spirit of that building with the community.”
Patrick Beta, who became a Mormon at the age of 14, told local media:
“A lot of people in my area, even my family didn’t see why I was joining the church. Why I’m really here, why I’m doing all these things such as going to school, building up all these relationships and eventually having kids.”
Drucila Maldonado, a member of the church, who lives in Bridgeport, said that she is happy she no longer has to drive to the Boston temple every Saturday. She stated:
“Now I’m very excited that there is a temple right here. It’s so much closer for me and my three children, compared to the two-and-a-half hour drive to Boston.”
Some members of the Farmington community were opposed to the construction of the temple.