TWIN FALLS, Idaho — Hundreds of LDS Church members from across south-central Idaho gathered here Sunday to celebrate the new Twin Falls Idaho Temple.
President Thomas S. Monson dedicated the temple, the 128th worldwide for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
The dedication followed a cornerstone ceremony, during which President Monson; President Henry B. Eyring, first counselor in the First Presidency; and Elder Quentin L. Cook of the Quorum of the Twelve, sealed a time capsule containing local histories and other items significant to the LDS Church in the southwest corner of the temple.
"It is nice to see all of you and to participate in this cornerstone exercise with you," said President Monson, before placing mortar.
Dozens of children dressed in their Sunday best lined the walkway around the cornerstone platform of the temple.
"I have never seen more boys so close together, evenly matched, on one rail," said President Monson, looking at a group of a half dozen boys sitting on a nearby concrete retaining wall.
Then, pausing to look at the children, President Monson added, "Boys and girls, remember this day."
The temple is the LDS Church's fourth in Idaho; other temples in the state are in Idaho Falls, Boise and Rexburg. Standing just south of the Snake River Canyon, the temple will serve 42,000 church members in 14 stakes in communities across south-central Idaho, including Twin Falls, Jerome, Burley, Rupert, Ketchum and Hailey.
The 31,500-square-foot temple is "certainly going to be a pillar of strength to the member families," said D. Rex Gerratt, temple president.
He said the temple is now a dominant part of the Twin Falls landscape.
"This temple and the grounds here are so striking for the people of Magic Valley" he said.
The temple features a motif of the Syringa flower, Idaho's state flower, and a mural of Shoshone Falls — a popular local landmark located just two miles from the site.
LDS Church Area Seventy Elder Brent H. Nielson said an estimated 20 percent of the Twin Falls population are members of the LDS Church. "It has been a wonderful experience to see how the community received the temple," he said. During a public open house July 11 through Aug. 16, 159,863 people toured the new temple.
The dedication followed a huge cultural event Saturday, highlighted by 3,200 LDS youths celebrating the rich heritage of south-central Idaho through music and dance.
"I think you will always remember the part you had here. You can't help but remember it," President Monson told the youths before the celebration began.
Performing in the rodeo arena of the Filer, Idaho, fairgrounds, the youths danced on an 88-by-160-foot stage. Local church members filled the dirt arena with sod and decorations, including a large waterfall to represent local landscapes.
As part of the event, the youths performed 14 dances that highlighted the history of southern Idaho. The dances recognized Native Americans, pioneers, Idaho miners and European and Mexican immigrants. The big band era, county fairs and Idaho potatoes were also part of production.