After a two-year restoration process, the Idaho Falls Temple prepares to reopen its doors.
As the eighth temple built by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, the Idaho Falls Temple has been an icon in the Snake River Plains. The wait is now over for members of the church in the area to return to their beloved temple.
Local news teams and members of the community were able to attend a private tour of the temple open house Monday to see the changes that have taken place in the temple. One of the most prevalent changes is the restoration of the murals within the temple.
"When I first walked in and saw the new murals I thought my eyes had improved," said H. Ray Hart a resident of Idaho Falls who attended the first dedication of the temple in 1945 with his family as an eight-year-old boy.
"It's a great thrill for me," said Hart. "Today the temple is beautiful, it's much like it was when it was first built. The paintings are all renewed and refurbished and restored, but it's the same temple, beautifully redone, but the spirit and the feeling here in the temple is marvelous."
With the announcement of the open house tour of the temple, tickets went out faster than expected.
"We initially opened it and quickly went through 160,000 tickets," said Douglas R. Nelson, Director of the Greater Idaho Falls Public Affairs Council for the Church. "Because of that, we reopened and added another 60,000 tickets. If those all fill we will reopen again."
Nelson says they are willing to accommodate the needs of those wishing to attend.
Elder Larry Y. Wilson, Executive Director of the Temple Department for the Church, explained the restoration was done with care and precision.
For example, the crystals for the chandeliers in the temple were each taken off one-by-one and cleaned by hand. The carpets in the sealing rooms, where marriage ordinances are performed, were cut by hand to make their designs. The gold leaf prints on the ceilings of various rooms in the temple were done by hand by painters who would lie on their backs and paint the designs to match patterns on the carpets and walls.
Temple open house tours begin April 22 and go through May 20 excluding Sundays. For free ticket reservations visit www.templeopenhouse.lds.org. The rededication is scheduled for Sunday, June 4, in three sessions.