The first glimpse of the interior of the Saratoga Springs Utah Temple was released Monday by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints as private tours began.
Invited guests will tour the new temple until Friday before opening to the public on Saturday. Public open house tours will run for nearly three months, from April 15 until July 8.
Elder Kevin R. Duncan, a General Authority Seventy and executive director of the church’s Temple Department, said this open house is longer than usual to allow as many people as possible to come and see.
“We feel like there’s a lot of pent-up demand of people who want to walk through these buildings,” Elder Duncan said.
The Saratoga Springs temple, announced in April 2017, will be the first temple to be dedicated or rededicated in Utah in more than four years, Elder Duncan said, which is generating a lot of interest — not just in the state but in surrounding states like Idaho, Colorado and Wyoming.
Between 30,000 and 40,000 volunteers from around the area of Saratoga Springs — including Lehi and Eagle Mountain — will participate as ushers, musicians and other volunteers to make it all possible. And a lot of them are youth.
Elder Chad R. Wilkinson, an Area Seventy, and his wife, Allison, were part of Monday’s events. Elder Wilkinson said youths in the area have been very involved in visiting the outside of the temple already.
He was a stake president in the area before the temple was announced and worked for nine years encouraging his stake to be “a people prepared for the temple.”
Sisters Brynley Roberts, 16, and Taylor Roberts, 14, remember Elder Wilkinson fondly and said he always encouraged them to participate in anything temple related. They live within walking distance of the new temple and said they are excited to have such a special place within five minutes of their home.
Also present on the first day of the open house was Sister Kristin M. Yee, the second counselor in the general Relief Society presidency; and Elder Evan A. Schmutz, a General Authority Seventy.
They both talked about the uniqueness of the Saratoga Springs temple’s appearance — full of blues to represent Utah Lake and purples to match the wildflowers and the majestic mountains — which are all part of making the temple as unique as the people who serve in it.
“The beauty of the craftsmanship,” Sister Yee said, “is symbolic of God’s love for each of us.”
Local artists and companies were hired to incorporate the temple’s surroundings into the interior.
Prevalent in the temple are depictions of local flora and fauna including the iris, daisy and chrysanthemum, which are common wildflowers in the area; and birds, reeds and mountains that can all be seen nearby at Utah Lake.
The uniqueness also flows into several original paintings on the walls of the temple, including “Evening, Distant Mountain” by Brad Aldridge, “Timpanogos from Across the Lake” by Bruce Brainard, “Evening Flight” by Adair Payne, “Timpanogos Sunrise” by Ken Stockton and “Jordan River Sunrise” also by Stockton.
“As you walk through the temple,” Sister Yee said, “we hope you’ll feel in your hearts a special spirit that exists in his house. I’d invite you today to experience the peace and reverence that exists in the temple.”
Tickets for the open house are free and appointments can be scheduled on the church’s website.