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Atlanta Georgia Temple

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The Atlanta Georgia Temple is the 21st operating temple of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

The First Presidency of the Mormon Church announced the building of the Atlanta Georgia Temple on April 2, 1980. It was the first Mormon temple to be built in the Southern United States, and met with opposition from the citizens in the region.

During the early days of Mormon history the Church had a strong membership in Georgia. Mormon missionaries had proselyted in Georgia as early as 1843, but when Joseph Smith was martyred in 1844, missionary work slowed and then stopped by 1846. Mormon missionaries were asked to come back to the main body of members in Nauvoo. In 1878 Mormon missionaries returned to Georgia, and missionary work was greeted with success. Rome and Axson, Georgia, were often referred to as "Little Utah" by many of the people in the area. But the members and missionaries in the area were persecuted, and the missionary work in Georgia was stopped again after a mob killed Joseph Standing, one of the missionaries. Most of the members in the area moved west to Utah to join the rest of the members of the Church.

In the 1890's, missionaries returned to Georgia, and by 1908, the first Mormon meetinghouse was built in Atlanta. By 1930 there were 4,000 Mormon members in Georgia. Missionary work continued, and in 1974 there were 12,360 members; in 1980, 27,210 members; and in 1990 there were 41,595 members. Of missionary work in the South, President of the Church Gordon B. Hinckley stated,

In June we dedicated a new temple in Atlanta, Georgia. This was the culmination of a dream that began a century and more ago when, in the days of the poverty of our people, missionaries were first sent to the southern states. A few accepted their testimony, but many more rose in bitterness against them. These early missionaries endured much persecution. Some were stripped and beaten; some were murdered by hateful enemies. But with faith they persevered. Eventually, thousands upon thousands joined the Church, and today the work is strong and growing in that beautiful part of the nation where we now have hundreds of faithful congregations of Latter-day Saints. [1]

A groundbreaking ceremony and site dedication were held on March 7, 1981. The ceremony was presided over by Spencer W. Kimball, the President of the Church at the time. The temple site is 5.9 acres. The original design of the temple did not include a spire, but as construction progressed, a spire and ten-foot angel Moroni statue were added to the plans.

The Mormon temple was open for public tours May 3rd through the 21st, 1983. Those who were able to tour the 35,360 square foot temple saw the four ordinance rooms, Celestial room, five sealing rooms, baptistry, and were able to learn more about Mormon beliefs related to the temple.

Gordon B. Hinckley dedicated the Atlanta Georgia Temple on June 1-4, 1983, the first of dozens of temples President Hinckley would dedicate either as an apostle or as prophet. This was the first temple where the cornerstone ceremony became a part of the dedicatory services. Now this is done with all of the newly built temples. Gordon B. Hinckley rededicated the baptistry of the Atlanta Temple on November 14, 1997. The Atlanta Georgia Temple serves 50,000 members in 12 stakes from Georgia and Alabama.

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Notes

  1. Hinckley, "God Grant Us Faith", October 1983 General Conference.

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