The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints' Boise Temple is the second LDS temple in Idaho, after the Idaho Falls Temple, built in 1945. Gordon B. Hinckley, who later became church president, dedicated Boise's six-spired, marble-clad structure in 1984.
In summer 2011, the Boise Temple closed for a 15-month remodel of its interior and grounds. Its four-week public open house in fall 2012 drew 170,000 visitors from 41 states and 12 countries, said Brian Whitlock, area director for the church.
The temple is reserved for the church's highest sacraments, including marriages. Once a temple is dedicated, it's open only to members of the faith who live according to certain church standards.
The design of a temple reflects local culture and its physical surroundings, said Whitlock. The shape of the temple in eastern Idaho reflects the rocky, jagged walls of the Snake River canyons, for example.
Because Boise is the City of Trees, tree motifs are present throughout the temple. The baptistry features a wall of stained glass with a botanical theme. The wall, in jewel tones of green and blue, is made of 4,500 individual pieces of glass. The leaves on the trees are hand-cut crystal with beveled edges.
Visitors will find water imagery as well, reminiscent of the Boise River or the living water of Jesus Christ, said Whitlock. Stylized blossoms of the syringa, Idaho's state flower, are also prominent - another nod to the local landscape. Some of the blossoms contain glass fragments recycled from the temple's original stained glass.
The recent remodel included replacing the 8-foot-tall statue of Moroni, prophet of the Book of Mormon, atop the temple's tallest spire. The statue is leafed in 24 karat gold. A polyurethane coating should protect it from the elements for at least another 28 years, said Whitlock.
All aspects of temple construction must reach a level of perfection, said Chris Bergevin, one of the craftsmen who helped install stone and tile.
During one part of the project, his crew spent three days laying tile in the hallway between the men's and women's dressing rooms. Officials came in after the job was almost done and told the tile setters that the tile had to be set at a 90 degree angle, not square as they'd laid it.
"So we took it all out and did it again," said Bergevin.
They broke only a couple tiles in the process. The new floor is sometimes covered with a rug. That doesn't matter.
"We went to the trouble to make sure it was perfect anyway," said Bergevin.
The church is designing a temple to be built in Meridian. It will be finished in three to five years.
"We're more interested in doing it right than in doing it fast," Whitlock said.
The recent temple renovation opened up the grounds outside the temple to make them more welcoming.
"That's intentional," said Whitlock. "We'd love for anyone to come and enjoy the peace and serenity of being there."
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Anna Webb: 377-6431