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General Authorities and local leaders welcomed media and select guests to view the interior of the recently completed Payson Temple on April 21.
“It’s more than just a beautiful building,” said Elder Kent Richards, of the Second Quorum of the Seventy, and member of the Temple Department, explaining the temple’s role in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
“As the church continues to grow in any part the world we try to serve the members with temples in those locations, and Utah is one of the places where the church continues to grow,” said Elder Larry Wilson, of the Second Quorum of the Seventy and the Temple Department.
The 96,000-square-foot temple will serve 27 stakes and more than 93,000 church members, from Mapleton to Delta, with access to temple services who were part of the the Provo Temple or the Manti Temple districts.
The temple contains a baptistry, seven sealing rooms and three endowment presentation rooms. Elder Richards said the temple will need 3,000 volunteers as ordinance workers. More than 100 sealings have been scheduled for the temple already, and that number grows daily.
With the completion of the temple, the monumental work of preparing it for the traditional open house is underway.
Open house committee chairman Larry Duffin said nearly 20,000 volunteers will help with the open house. Duffin chairs the core open house committee of 16 members, who in turn chair their own subcommittees members totaling 300. Participation in the open house is estimated to reach 500,000 visitors.
Once the open house concludes, most of the furniture will be removed, and 2,100 seats will be placed in the temple for people to attend the dedication sessions. Volunteers will then work through the night to remove the chairs and restore the furniture so the temple is ready for private function Monday morning. The temple will be open to the general membership of the church on Tuesday, June 8.
The temple design and decor are based around the motif of an apple blossom, inspired by local apple orchards. Elder Wilson said the temple was designed to complement the surrounding environment. The temple’s primary materials include precast concrete, African mahogany and stone from Spain, Portugal and Turkey. Architectural Nexus designed the temple, and Wadman Corporation was the local contractor.
“The ordinances that take place in there are the ordinances of eternity,” Elder Richards said. “So that is why they are particularly beautiful and adorned in such a way that if the Savior were to come this is where he would come.”
Locally, the temple is the culmination of decades of development by Latter-day Saints who were originally sent to the area by Brigham Young in 1850.
While the impact of the temple on the community temporally remains to be seen, the spiritual impact has already been felt. Duffin reported that people were inspired to reexamine their lives upon hearing the announcement of the temple. Duffin also said the building of the temple blesses all in the area.
“Members are almost beyond the ability to express in words how grateful they are to have their own temple. I think that every one of us feels a connection to ‘our’ temples, as though it is specifically prepared for us and our ancestors,” Elder Richards said.
The open house will run April 24 through May 23, 2015. The cultural celebration will take place at LaVell Edwards Stadium June 6 at 7 p.m. The First Presidency will conduct three temple dedicatory sessions on June 7, 2015, at 10 a.m., 1 p.m., and 4 p.m. The sessions will be broadcast live to church members who reside within the 27 surrounding stakes.
Due to the popularity of the open house, the church made additional tickets available.