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Winter Quarters Nebraska Temple

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The Winter Quarters Nebraska Temple is the 104th operating temple of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Winter Quarters is hallowed ground for the members of the Mormon Church. Winter Quarters was the site where the Saints settled after they were driven out of Nauvoo. It was also where many of the Saints, including many who came from Europe, encamped before crossing the plains to the Salt Lake Valley. The area is the site of many graves of Mormon Pioneers who died in their quest to reach safety in the west. More than 2,000 members of the Church died at Winter Quarters due to heavy storms, scurvy, malaria, and inadequate food and shelter. Though once a site of so much death and sorrow, Winter Quarters is now home to a temple. Winter Quarters, "once a staging ground for pioneers going west, once a point of departure, has now become a destination for modern Latter-day Saint pioneers as they come to the house of the Lord,” [1] said E. Louis Butler, first president of the Winter Quarters Temple.

The new temple was built next to a Mormon pioneer cemetery and visitors' center. During the groundbreaking ceremony conducted by Elder Truman F. Clawson on 28 November 1999, Elder Clawson commented, "Now today," he said, "on this end of the hill, we will take shovels in our hands to dig not a grave but the foundation of a special building, a temple, to be built for the blessing of all who choose to enter that they may also bind together forever their families. And so, the magnificent view from here allows us to contemplate both the past with its dead and the future represented by the beautiful new temple which begins today." [2]

In preparation for the open house, members of the Church and the community of Florence, Nebraska, worked together creating handcrafted flowers for storefronts and decorating historic sites and markers with balloons. As over 61,000 visitors toured the Winter Quarters temple, the many stained-glass windows featuring scenes of the early pioneers reminded visitors of the struggles and heartaches the pioneers faced. “There are times and places in the life of every nation when great spiritual heights are reached, when courage becomes a living thing ... when faith in God stands as the granite mountain wall – firm and immovable – while hardships, want, sickness, sorrow, and death beat down and crush ... Winter Quarters was such a time and place for the Mormon people,” said President Heber J. Grant at the 1936 dedication of the Winter Quarters Monument. [3]

Church members all over the United States and Canada watched via satellite broadcast as President Gordon B. Hinckley dedicated the Winter Quarters Nebraska Temple on 22 April 2001. During the dedicatory prayer, President Hinckley recognized the sacrifice of the Saints and the great spiritual and historical significance of having a temple at Winter Quarters.

The Winter Quarters Nebraska Temple has a total of 16,000 square feet, two ordinance rooms, and two sealing rooms.



  1. News of the Church,” Ensign, July 2001, 74
  2. Church News, 4 December 1999
  3. Ardeth Greene Kapp, "The Joy of the Journey", 13

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