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‘How beautiful’

Elder Perry rededicates storied Idaho visitors center

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Elder Arthur Finch knew that the newly remodeled Idaho Falls Temple Visitors Center was right on target when a motorist stopped one evening to get a better view of the Christus statue.

"It catches my attention each time I pass," he told Elder Finch, director of the visitors center. "I had to stop and see."

"How beautiful," exclaimed another visitor after entering the building.

After five months of renovation, the Idaho Falls Temple Visitors Center was rededicated by Elder L. Tom Perry of the Quorum of the Twelve on Friday, March 21.

In the dedicatory prayer, Elder Perry petitioned, "Wilt thou bless this building that its doors will be open and inviting to those who will enter to learn more of Thee and Thy ways. Wilt Thou endow it with a special spirit that the powers of inspiration will touch the lives of the visitors in a very special way, that the design, the displays and the messages of the truths of Thy gospel will testify to them the true doctrines of Thy Son and our Savior."

Shortly before the Idaho Falls Temple was dedicated in 1945, a small one-room tool shed beside the east temple gate was used as an office for guides conducting tours of the grounds, said Elder Perry.

President Henry D. Moyle dedicated a new Bureau of Information building, or visitors center, on May 15, 1960, located north of the front gates of the temple.

The visitors center was remodeled in 1983, doubling the size to what it is today. The remodel included two new theaters, and two new exhibit rooms used to teach about the temple and the Book of Mormon. A small replica of Solomon's Temple was also on display in the temple room.

"It is time for us to rededicate ourselves to its use in bringing members and non-members alike to come and learn more about the history of this great facility and to gain a greater understanding of the blessed doctrines we have received from our Lord and Savior in His glorious gospel that has been restored to us in these latter days," said Elder Perry.

Since the dedication, said Elder Finch, "there has been a steady stream of visitors." He described how one little girl walked in and exclaimed, "There's Jesus!" Other children rush to stand at the statue. A woman from Germany, active in her faith, requested missionaries visit in her home after her return.

As director of the visitors center, Elder Finch feels it is his challenge to involve members and leaders of the Church to know what he knows.

"We're inviting priesthood and auxiliary leaders to become familiar with the visitors center," he said, expressing the belief that leaders will be guided in using this resource to strengthen the testimonies of their members.

"The Spirit hovers here. You can feel it." — Shaun D. Stahle