March 17 was a cold, blustery day in South Jordan with high winds and low temperatures. However, all the flurries of snow and uninviting gray skies weren’t enough to discourage people from flocking to the Jordan River Temple for the first day of the temple’s open house.
Although the Jordan River Temple is not a newly constructed building, it has received “extensive renovation”, according to a Mormon Newsroom press release. The open house will run through April 28, 2018, in preparation for the temple’s dedication on May 20.
Tickets are complimentary and can be reserved online. Guests without tickets have the option of waiting in a standby line.
Attendance for the temple’s open house is expected to be high. Thousands of tickets have already been reserved. Lloyd Earl, a volunteer at the open house directing parking, said he was told to expect approximately 20,000 attendees on the Saturday he was working.
Hermana Gonzales, a sister missionary who met visitors after they went through the temple, said she enjoyed the reactions visitors had to seeing the temple.
“It’s an amazing thing to be a part of,” Hermana Gonzales said. “It’s amazing to be able to see the people that are coming in that are getting that opportunity to come closer to Christ as they see the temple, as they see what we believe in and the things that we do inside.”
Many of the renovations made in the temple were intended to reduce operating costs; however, many visitors noticed there were decorative changes as well.
“There’s a lot of different pictures in there than what there was before,” said Stephanie Simmons, a visitor from West Jordan who attended the Jordan River Temple often before its renovations. “It’s the first time I’ve ever seen an African-American picture.”
Simmons added that she enjoyed this addition of other cultures and the diversity it created.
Despite the changes, Simmons said the spirit of the temple, to her, was the same.
“I was a kid when the Jordan River Temple opened … It was just as awe-inspiring then as it is now,” Simmons said.
Simmons’ husband Lon said the temple felt the same.
“The feeling in the temple hasn’t changed for me,” he said. “The core may have changed, but it’s the same old place.”