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Freiberg Germany Temple

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File:Freiberg germany temple.jpg

The Freiberg Germany Temple is the 33rd operating temple of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Plans to build a Mormon temple in Freiberg, Germany were announced on October 9, 1982. The Freiberg Temple is the only Mormon temple to be built in a Communist country. The German Democratic Republic government actually suggested the building of the temple for the Mormon members in the country because the government wanted to reduce the amount of travel outside of its own country.

Mormon history in Germany goes back to 1840 when members of the Mormon Church began moving there. A small branch was set up in Darmstadt, but it was not until 1852 when the first Mormon missionaries arrived in Germany. They brought with them the Book of Mormon in German. In 1939 with the onset of World War II missionaries were evacuated from Germany and missionary work slowed. After the war, missionaries were only allowed to re-enter the Western part of Germany. It was not until March 1989 when Mormon missionaries were finally able to enter East Germany; in November of the same year, the Berlin wall came down. Today there are 36,000 Mormon members in Germany and 14 stakes. A second German temple was built in Frankfurt in 1987.

A groundbreaking ceremony and site dedication were held for the Freiberg Temple on April 23, 1983. Thomas S. Monson presided at the ceremony. The site of the temple is one acre. The Mormon temple was open to the public for tours June 3-15, 1985. Those who attended the tours of the 14,125 square foot building were able to see the exterior and enjoy the beauty of the German influenced design of the temple with its Gothic style arches, as well as the interior with its one ordinance room, two sealing rooms, baptistery, Celestial room, and other facilities. More than 90,000 people visited the Freiberg Germany Temple during the open house.

The temple was dedicated for official use on June 29-30, 1985 by Gordon B. Hinckley. When the temple was dedicated there were 29,900 members in Germany. Since then, renovations were called for, because when the temple was originally built some of the best materials were not available, and the Church was not allowed to put a statue of the angel Moroni on the spire. The renovations of the temple almost doubled the square footage and added twelve oxen to support the baptismal font, a waiting room for those not able to enter the temple, as well as an office for the temple president. On December 20, 2001 an angel Moroni statue was placed on top of the temple spire. A second open house was held August 17-31 2001. After renovations, Gordon B. Hinckley rededicated the Freiberg Germany Temple on September 7, 2002. The renovations were also needed because the temple, which before could only be used by Church members in the German Democratic Republic, is now open for use by members in Poland, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Bulgaria, Moldova, and Romania.

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