The open house of the Bountiful Utah Temple, which attracted 870,361 people including those from many other states and nations, was described as a "marvelous outpouring of acceptance."

Visitors from as far away as Australia and New Zealand, South Africa and Russia were among the throngs who reverently entered the temple in a steady stream from Nov. 5 to Dec. 17. They were assisted by some 45,000 volunteers - about one for every 20 visitors."We've been tremendously blessed with a most successful effort and event," said Elder John E. Fowler of the Seventy, president of the Utah North Area, who serves as chairman of the Bountiful temple committee. "We feel to express gratitude to the Lord in making this wonderful experience available to so many people."

He said it was a particularly meaningful experience for families to be together in the temple. Also, "large numbers of our members took friends who are not members or who are not active members of the Church" to the temple. There, the members shared "that which is of greatest meaning in their lives with those who have not had that feeling and sense of gratitude for temples."

Visitors to the temple, including the VIPs, said Elder Fowler, "wanted to experience what they knew so many others were experiencing. There seemed to be an acceptance of a beautiful house constructed for the purposes of the Lord and His work."

Temple open house leaders said that President Howard W. Hunter's challenge to members to make the temple the center of their worship was also a motivating influence for many who attended.

The leaders said the temple open house was best described as a warm family reunion atmosphere, where as soon as visitors stepped on temple grounds they were greeted by volunteers eager to welcome them and be of service.

Many touching experiences occurred in the temple, said leaders. An example of these was a recently widowed woman who stood in the celestial room with tears coming down her cheeks. She said to those standing nearby that she'd had great heartache over her loss, but "this is the first time since the death of my husband that my heart has been at peace."

"I feel like I have truly come home," she said.

Another example was that of a blind woman in a wheelchair who came not to see, but to feel. She was taken through the temple by a volunteer who described for her in detail the pictures, the furnishings, the wall coverings, the carpets - everything he saw.

At the end of the tour, she said, "This has been the most wonderful day of my life."

A number of difficulties developed during the open house. On the first day of opening, there was a power outage. Soon afterward, all but one of the elevators in the building went out. Visitors in wheelchairs used that one elevator to continue their tours. A few days later, a windstorm was so severe that visitors in the tents could hardly hear a video, showing the purpose of temples, being played on television monitors. Once when temperatures dropped the propane tank lines froze, cutting the heat to the tents.

The most-publicized difficulty during the open house was a heavy snowstorm on the Friday evening after Thanksgiving Day when six inches of snow fell in an hour. Some 2,000 people were stranded for two hours when shuttle buses were unable to negotiate the roads.

But none of these problems distracted from the "overwhelmingly positive" spirit of the temple, said leaders.

Elder Fowler expressed gratitude for the support of the leaders of the community and representatives of the city government, law enforcement, and city employees who gave full support to the open house, including traffic control and snow removal. He also expressed appreciation for the good will of nearby residents who tolerated the large flow of people into their neighborhoods.

"Without the support of all these wonderful people we would not have had a successful open house," he said.

Elder Fowler said he regarded the "devotion and dedication manifested by thousands of volunteers as one of the things most miraculous."

"I would go to the temple, and be absolutely amazed to see the youth doing nothing more than putting plastic booties on the people. These youth were sitting out in the cold for several hours, and they rejoiced in that opportunity. They were happy. They were dressed in their Sunday best to make their small contribution to the open house and temple. I just couldn't help but be touched by it.

"How many times when snow was falling would men be outside, several blocks away, directing cars, helping to park cars, standing in that terrible weather. It was remarkable, absolutely remarkable, the dedication of our people. They were doing it because they love the Lord and they love the Lord's house."

Elder Blaine P. Jensen, regional representative and vice chairman of the temple committee, agreed that the open house was successful because "there was a special feeling of spirituality, helpfulness, kindness and love which touched and changed many lives."

He said: "It brought out the best in everyone who participated; it brought out those things that have to do with spirituality and sacredness and our Father in Heaven, and each person's personal relationship with Him.

"I believe that the open house and dedication of a new temple is a Churchwide celebration . . . and many lives will be touched by this temple."

He said the responsibility of the open house placed on local members "has given us an intense common cause. . . . It is kind of a rallying cry. It has given us a vision, it has given us something to talk about, to fill our lives with, to use as a catalyst to draw us closer together, to give us motivation to resolve old hurts and do away with small irritations that exist in our lives as a people.

"I think it has softened us. For those who have really embraced it, it has made them really more Christlike. I think, along with President Hunter's message, it has helped us to lift ourselves as a community and as a people to a higher level in our human relationships.

"This certainly hasn't made us all perfect and hasn't taken away life's problems. In fact, in some ways it has brought into clearer focus life's problems and given us a realization we can deal with them better than before."

Elder Jensen said that more than 10 proposals of marriage took place in the temple, "where in one of the rooms a young man would take a hold of his sweetheart's hand and there propose marriage.

"Of course, we welcomed these because it shows an indication of what they are ultimately going to do in their relationship."

He said the open house has established a tradition of love and caring for those who come that will be continued by "those fortunate and blessed people who have been called to serve as officiators after the temple is dedicated. Temple Pres. and Sister

Harold C. and RuthT Yancey are devoted and committed to that."

"We are looking forward with great excitement to the dedication and feel that it will even be a more wonderful experience than we had in the open house.

"Everyone is so excited about it."

The temple will be dedicated Jan. 8-14.


Additional Information

LDS in Utah North Area invited to dedication

All members of the Church in the Utah North Area ages 8 and up, who are determined by their bishops to be worthy, are invited and encouraged to attend the dedication of the Bountiful Utah Temple Jan. 8-14, said Elder John E. Fowler of the Seventy, area president.

He said the First Presidency has kindly provided sessions in a number of off-site locations relatively close to the homes of the members and easily accessible.

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"We are reminded of President Howard W. Hunter's recent charge to parents regarding temples and children: `Teach

childrenT about the purposes of the House of the Lord. Have them plan from their earliest years to go there and to remain worthy to that blessing.'

"We know these members will want to respond to this special privilege and President Hunter's charge by attending a dedicatory session, which will provide a memorable spiritual experience," said Elder Fowler.

"Members should contact their bishops to obtain tickets for the dedication, and they should be prepared to make any and all sacrifices necessary to participate as a family in this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity."

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