Shining marble floors and ivory-colored walls are set off by African mahogany trim.
Fine Swarovski crystal makes up chandeliers that bathe rooms in a lightness. Thick wool rugs, one custom-made in China for an expanded main entryway, absorb the excess sound.
For all its sumptuous appointments, the most noticeable part of Boises newly remodeled Mormon temple is the silence, even as traffic crowds nearby Cole Road and Interstate 84.
This is a reverent, sacred space, said William R. Walker, executive director of the Temple Department for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
Why was the temple remodeled?
Initially, church officials believed that systems such as heating, plumbing and cooling in the 28-year-old building needed to be replaced. As they looked further they decided that the temple, which serves 100,000 Mormons in the Boise area, needed more extensive work. It was worn and tired because it had been so heavily used by members, Walker said.
How much of the temple was renovated?
About 90 percent. Workers went down to concrete and studs. The renovation is one of the more extensive among the churchs 140 temples.
May I see inside the temple?
Public tours will begin on Saturday. President Thomas S. Monson will attend the dedication of the temple on Sunday, Nov. 18. It will be his first visit to Idaho since becoming the churchs top leader. The temple will be closed to the public after the dedication.
How much did the renovation cost?
Church officials wont say, though they previously estimated it at $13 million. They now describe it as a multimillion-dollar project.
Why did they remodel the Boise temple while also planning a new temple in Meridian?
Church officials say the region needs more temple space. They considered expanding the Boise temple as part of the renovation but decided that neither the land nor the building could accommodate the needed space. So they decided to build a second temple in Meridian, which has a large number of church members. The Meridian temple might not be developed for three or four years, Walker said.
How many temples are there in Idaho?
Four in Boise, Rexburg, Idaho Falls and Twin Falls.
What does the temple look like inside?
Rooms have elegant furniture, stained glass some of rivers, some of trees and religious pictures. There is a painting of Jesus being baptized by John the Baptist and one of Jesus entering Jerusalem on what Christians call Palm Sunday. There is also a painting depicting a moment when Mormons believe Jesus showed himself to church founder Joseph Smith at the temple in Kirtland, Ohio, in 1836. Paintings also depict Jesus appearing in Central America a key element of Mormon belief following his resurrection.
Are there special rooms in the temple?
Yes. The temple has a baptistry, a baptismal font held up by a dozen white fiberglass oxen, one for each of the 12 tribes of Israel. The room is used for proxy baptism, which is baptism for the dead.
There is also a sealing room also decorated in ivory and gold trim where weddings take place. The room is also used for proxy marriages of the dead.
Is there a focal point in the temple?
Temples are considered sacred spaces on earth to Mormons. But within the temple is the celestial room considered the most special place in the building. The octagonal room includes a large spray of flowers, a large chandelier and stained-glass skylight in the center. The room exudes light and a sense of peacefulness.
Why is the temple so opulent?
The Old Testament makes reference to King Solomons temple to God. The builders of that temple used the finest materials they could, Walker said. Thats what we do. We believe we should use more beautiful materials (and) finer workmanship.
Those who enter the temple come for solitude that might not be possible outside, he said.
It is the symbolism of being in heaven, Walker said.
Why cant non-Mormons go in the temple after it is dedicated?
It is not a large building, and if tourists came through, they could disrupt services, Walker said.
But not even all Mormons receive permission to enter the temple. Entrance is reserved for those who have tried to live by church principles, including paying tithing and refraining from smoking or drinking alcohol.
If you reach that standard, you can take advantage of this blessing, Walker said.
Bill Roberts: 377-6408, Twitter: @IDS_BillRoberts