Top 50 Stories: Boise LDS temple opens - 1984

Thousands tour the building amid smattering of protesters

broberts@idahostatesman.comJune 4, 2014 

Boise LDS Temple renovation

This photo was taken after the temple was renovated in 2012, which included replacing the building’s exterior stone.

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Jim Borchers was 24 when officials from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints announced in 1982 that they would build a temple in Boise.

Treasure Valley Mormons were ecstatic.

"Tears flowed," said Borchers, 56, who served on a committee for the new temple and is now president of the Boise Idaho South Stake.

Boise's temple was the second in the state, the first being in Idaho Falls. Those who wanted to do the work of temples - sealing families together for eternity and offering baptism for the dead - faced five- or six-hour drives to that temple or to Salt Lake City. Buses would haul Mormons from Boise on Friday nights. Followers would do temple work on Saturdays, be home on Saturday nights and "then be in church all day Sunday," Borchers said.

Church leaders saw the need for a new temple as the LDS population grew in Southwest Idaho. Church members make up about 25 percent of the state's population and about 20 percent of Southwest Idaho's.

Nearly 200,000 people toured the temple in 1984 before it was dedicated and closed to the general public. Outside, protesters carried signs claiming that Mormons follow a false god.

"We took them sandwiches and cold drinks," Borchers said.

Days after the bombing of a Jewish synagogue at 27th and Bannock streets, spray-painted graffiti was discovered on a wall surrounding the LDS temple during the open house. The graffiti included German for "work makes (you) free," a slogan the Nazis placed at the entrance to concentration camps in World War II.

"It's a discouraging kind of activity someone is doing to the community," Ted Johnson, a church spokesman in Boise, told the Idaho Statesman at the time.

Thirty years after its opening, the Boise temple has brought believers closer to their savior because of the work they do in the building, Borchers said.

In 2012, when the temple on Cole Road was refurbished and briefly reopened to the public, thousands toured it.

"There was more understanding of what a temple brings to a community," Borchers said.

The church also has temples in Twin Falls and Rexburg now. Another Treasure Valley temple is planned in Meridian.

Bill Roberts: 377-6408

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