POCATELLO — After a nearly 30-month construction process, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints opened the doors of its newest temple in Pocatello Monday.
Media representing eastern Idaho Idaho and northern Utah were welcomed by members and leaders of the church to tour the 71,125-square foot building. It’s the first temple open house since the COVID-19 pandemic.
Inside and out, the newest temple of the church embraces its eastern Idaho home.
“To honor the area where the temple is built, we often see, around the world, elements of the local landscape with botanicals, even the architecture,” Elder Gary E. Stevenson, a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, told EastIdahoNews.com. “Such is the case here with the Pocatello Temple.”
The Syringa, Idaho’s state flower, is present throughout the building in wooden carvings, brass fixtures and carpet stitching. Original paintings, commissioned for the temple, offer homage to the area — including a painting of the Haystack Mountains, as seen just outside of Inkom, created by artist Ken Spencer of Ogden, Utah. All the designs are centered around an overall color theme representing the sagebrush that inhabits the area.
Primary General President Sister Camille Johnson is a native of Pocatello and remembers a time when all she could see in the foothills was that sagebrush.
“It’s delightful to see the majesty of the temple,” Johnson said. “We all hoped for (a temple to be built in Pocatello), and I’m so grateful that the day has finally arrived.”
WATCH: PRIMARY GENERAL PRESIDENT CAMILLE JOHNSON SHARES HER THOUGHTS ABOUT THE POCATELLO TEMPLE
The church has gone to great lengths to bring beauty from outside sources, like marble imported from China. The chapel inside the temple is adorned with an 8 foot-by-6 foot stained glass window salvaged from a Presbyterian church scheduled to be demolished in the eastern United States.
While this temple is one of more than 200 worldwide, it is the 170th to be in operation — with several others either under construction or under renovation.
Troy Dye and his wife Jennifer make up the church’s open house coordinator chair couple. They said while only members are allowed inside once the temple is dedicated, everyone will continue to be welcomed on the nearly 11-acre property for all time.
“The thing I would like to remind everybody of is, the Pocatello Temple is for Pocatello,” Dye said. “So after the dedication, everybody’s welcome, members and those not of our faith, they’re all welcome to the temple grounds any time the gates are open.”
The Pocatello Temple sits atop the Highland Foothills, at 3100 Butte Street. Ground was broken on the temple’s development on March 16, 2019 after plans for the development were announced on April 2, 2017. It is scheduled to be dedicated on Nov. 7 in three sessions by President M. Russell Ballard, acting president of the Quorum of Twelve Apostles. When dedicated, it will serve around 61,000 members in the area.
A public open house begins Saturday and runs through Oct. 23. The temple will be closed to the public on Sundays and Oct. 2. Anyone is welcome to attend the open house. Free Tickets are available here.
WATCH: CHURCH LEADERS ADDRESS THE MEDIA BEFORE A POCATELLO TEMPLE MEDIA TOUR