The waiting is over as the Saratoga Springs, Utah, Temple of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has officially opened its doors to the public.
Guests began touring the holy structure on Monday, April 10. The general public will be able to enter the temple fromSaturday, April 15, to July 8, 2023. Tours will be conducted six days a week, excluding Sundays.
The open house dates were extended from June to July. Elder Kevin R. Duncan, Temple Department Executive Director,explained that “church leaders extended the temple open house to last longer than usual because of the high demand. They hope that continuing it into the summer will allow people to visit multiple times and bring friends.”
According to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, “A temple is a house of the Lord, and only devout Latter-day Saints will enter after its dedication.”
“For church members, temples are the most sacred places on earth. It is in temples where we feel closest to God and where families can be sealed together for eternity,” church officials said in a news release.
The Church is eager to share the building with people of all ages and faiths during the open house. Tours can be reserved from the Church’s website, as the open house allows anyone to visit the sacred building.
Allison Wilkinson, who serves on the local temple committee, said, “During the open house, we will have almost 40,000 volunteers helping, and 50% of the volunteers will be youth. We have many different volunteers of different faiths helping. The whole community is involved, which is exciting.”
Brynley Roberts, a 16-year-old volunteer, said, “It is so nice to have a temple nearby. The temple has brought a calming feeling to the whole neighborhood, and it is so nice to feel closer to Jesus Christ and Heavenly Father because of the building. Having it so close will make it easier for people in this area to visit the temple more often.”
Taylor Roberts, a 14-year-old volunteer, said, “The temple brings a peacefulness, and I am so excited with how pretty it is and to be able to go inside.”
The temple stands regal against a breathtaking Mount Timpanogos backdrop. Inside the building, landmarks that are unique to the area, such as the mountain, Utah Lake, wetlands and snowy egrets, are symbolized in the décor. The color palette is filled with stunning blue hues, purples, greens and golds inspired by the surrounding flora, such as wildflowers and marsh grass.
The exquisite stained glass is an intrinsic part of the temple and was crafted by Lehi’s Holdman Studios. The light shines through the glass and touches and inspires the soul.
Elder Duncan said, “Because we’re building His house, we strive to give our …very best craftsmanship and materials that we can. It’s not ostentatious. It’s simplistic beauty that elevates one’s vision toward Christ.”
A highlight of Monday’s tour was the bride’s room within the temple. The room is designed for a bride to dress before her temple sealing. “The bride’s room is for sisters to feel special; it is how Heavenly Father shows his love for his daughters,” said Sister Wilkinson.
Sister Kristin M. Yee, the second counselor in the Church’s Relief Society General Presidency, said the assignment to come to the beginning of the open house was special to her because she has spent time walking around the Saratoga Springs Temple on Sundays with her sister, her brother-in-law and six nieces and nephews as the temple was under construction. She said they walked in the snow and the sun as they anticipated the temple’s completion.
“Isn’t there such a blessing in anticipation? The joy is in both the preparation and the receiving of the blessings of the temple. My sweet nieces and nephews have been preparing by doing temple and family history work and learning about the Savior. The more we prepare, the more Heavenly Father can bless us,” Sister Yee.
“This area is growing so quickly, and there is a need to be in the temple. This gives greater capacity to facilitate the blessings for the people in this area. Also, with the blessings, when a temple opens in the area, the Lord intends to bless people in the past, the present and the future. There are generational blessings that will be given in this temple, and those on the other side are also a part of those blessings,” she added.
The Saratoga Springs temple was announced during the Church’s General Conference in April 2017 by then Church President Thomas S. Monson. Elder Duncan feels that building a temple in the northwest corner of Utah County came about because of “the desire of the members to go to the temple. This community continues to grow, and the good church memberscan now attend the temple more frequently. It allows the opportunity for young people who want to be in the temple early in the morning, and now they can more easily be here,” said Elder Duncan.
Elder Chad Wilkinson, Area Seventy for the Church and former Saratoga Springs Stake President said, “When I was a stake president, our very first meeting was held in a trailer in the back corner of a parking lot behind a church building, and we started talking about a temple. We talked about what we can do to prepare our hearts and our people, and our community, and so this temple is a dream come true. When President Monson announced this temple, we wept.”
Sister Nancy Duncan, Elder Duncan’s wife, said, “I start to feel different in proximity to a temple. It can be this temple or any temple. As I drive to the parking lot, enter the doors, go inside,and up to the celestial room, I feel an increase in light, spirit and power. I am honored to be here and to partake of this experience.”
“I love that I can now see the temple from my house and take my kids to the temple grounds as often as I like. Having a nearby temple helps me focus more on Jesus Christ, and it is a constant reminder of where I can turn for peace,” said Adrienne Ritchie, a resident of Saratoga Springs, Utah.
After the open house, the Saratoga Springs Utah Temple will be dedicated in three sessions on Sunday, August 13, 2023, by President Henry B. Eyring of the Church’s First Presidency. The dedication will be broadcast to congregations throughout the area.
Sister Yee said, “When people come to temples, they feel the Savior’s love as they learn about him and gain a desire to make covenants with him. The beauty is that we aren’t done when we receive the covenants. We’ve just begun to know who He is and learn about Him. The more we understand Him, the more we know of His love and the more we can be protected, blessed and guided through this mortal journey.”