MERIDIAN - The open house period for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saint’s Meridian Idaho Temple begins Saturday.
Anyone in the public is invited to attend.
"For us, a temple is the most sacred place on Earth. Everything about it is designed to represent elements of our worship of Jesus Christ," said Quentin Cook, a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles.
Plans for this temple began in 2011 and construction began in 2014. The temple is more than 67,000 square feet and is on nearly 16 acres of land.
"Latter Day Saint temples are built to a very high standard….the highest quality materials, we have stone from Egypt, furniture from Vietnam,” said Thomas Coburn, the managing director of the Temple Department for the LDS church. "We believe that the very best should go into a temple."
Because of that, it’s not usually open to everyone. You must be a practicing member of the LDS church who is considered in good standing. But for the next few weeks this new temple is open for everyone to see.
“Until it's dedicated we're free to have people come through,” Cook said “So we have as many people as we can accommodate."
“We anticipate over the next several weeks that we'll see between 200,000 and 300,000 people visiting the temple," said Craig Rowe, the coordinator for the Meridian Temple Open House, Dedication and Cultural Celebration Committee.
For example, he said 10,000 tickets have already been reserved for Saturday alone.
The hope is that people will learn more about the purpose of an LDS temple
"Just an open arm welcome to everybody so that they can come,” Coburn said. “Many times it relieves a lot of the myths or misinformation that's out there as well.”
"It isn't some place that has meetings on Sundays,” Cook said. “Here sacred special ordinances baptisms, marriages, learning about the doctrine, those are the kind of things that happen here."
The open house period runs through Nov. 11. The dedication is set for Nov. 19.
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