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Washington D.C. Temple

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The Washington D.C. Temple is the 16th operating temple of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

The Washington DC Temple was announced on December 7, 1968 followed by a groundbreaking ceremony on the same day. The announcement was gladly received by the thousands of members that lived east of the Mississippi River who had no nearby temple. A very large plot of land on a wooded hill had been bought in 1962 for the temple, and only eleven acres were cleared for the building itself. The rest of the land was left untouched to give the temple a remote feeling.

The temple was designed to be similar in style and form to the Salt Lake Temple so that it would be easily recognized as a Mormon temple. It was estimated that it would cost fifteen million dollars to build the Washington DC Temple and members of the Church that would be attending the temple were asked to help in providing funds of at least four and a half million dollars. Donations began to come immediately. In the end, the members raised six million dollars.

At a completion ceremony the First Presidency buried a metal box with historical items near a corner of the temple. During the first week of open houses, government officials and diplomats from around the world were taken on special tours through the temple. The open house continued for seven weeks and over 750,000 people went through the Washington DC temple. The high number of people that attended the open house was due mostly to the large amount of coverage that the temple and Church received as the temple neared completion. Articles were printed in Time, Newsweek, and World Report. There was also a large press conference held that introduced the temple and Spencer W. Kimball, the Prophet and President of the Church at the time. Demand for tickets to the open house was high, and the tickets were gone before the first day of tours, so the times were extended to allow as many people to attend the open house as possible. The times had originally been set from 9am to 9pm but were changed to 7:30am to 10:30pm. Interest in the Church was so high, that more missionaries were called to the area to answer questions.

Ten dedicatory sessions were held for the Washington DC Temple between November 19th and 22nd, 1974. Over 40,000 members were able to attend the dedicatory services. Spencer W. Kimball offered the dedicatory prayer.

The Washington DC Temple has the tallest tower of any of the Church's temples, at 280 feet. The angel Moroni that sits on top of this tower is eighteen feet tall and weighs two tons. Another interesting feature is that the temple does not look like it has any windows, but when you go inside you realize that the marble has been cut thin enough in some places that it is translucent. The Washington DC Temple has a total of 160,000 square feet, making it the third largest Mormon temple. It has six ordinance rooms, and fourteen sealing rooms.

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