The Meridian temple of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints will be dedicated on Nov. 19. Announced April, 2011, during the annual General Conference of the Church, the temple will be the fifth built in Idaho. Ground was broken and the site dedicated on Aug. 23, 2014. Its dedication comes five years to the day after the rededication of the Boise temple.
Before the dedication, however, the temple will be open to the public for tours. The tours will begin Saturday, Oct. 21, and run through Nov. 11, except Sundays. Anyone interested in seeing the interior of the temple and learning more about its purpose may go online to TempleOpenHouse.lds.org for reservations.
Temples are the most visible LDS structures, though the Treasure Valley is dotted with the familiar meetinghouses. For the past 33 years the temple at the Cole Road and I-84 intersection has been a familiar landmark. The new temple will be just off North Linder Road, above the Boise River, and its architecture is distinctly different from the Boise temple.
While the ward meetinghouses, or chapels, are less conspicuous, they are the center of weekly activities of church members. The meetings held on Sunday include a Sacrament meeting, Sunday School, and a third hour of separate meetings for men, women, youth and children under 12 years of age. Weekday activities may be held for each of those groups as well as other special functions.
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Unlike the temple, anyone may attend meetings or activities at the ward meetinghouse. Scout breakfasts, service projects, blood drives and wedding receptions are just a few of the events that take place.
In contrast, once a temple is dedicated to the Lord, attendance is restricted to members who are committed to the church and meet certain standards. A member who wants to attend the temple meets with local church leaders to confirm his or her eligibility.
Some of the Church’s highest sacraments are performed in the temple and those participating make covenants with God in those ceremonies. Marriage is one such sacrament.
People driving by the Boise temple may have seen bridal parties in the gardens for pictures following the wedding ceremony. Such sights will soon become familiar around the Meridian temple as well.
Marriages performed in the temple are for time and eternity. They do not end with death but continue hereafter. The children of those married, or “sealed” in the temple, are sealed to their parents, forming eternal families.
Another sacrament, or ordinance in LDS parlance, is baptism. Members 12 years of age or older attend the temple to participate in baptisms for their ancestors. The baptisms allow those deceased persons to receive the temple ordinances — if they choose to accept them.
If you have wondered what the inside of a temple looks like, where people are married or are baptized for their ancestors, this is your opportunity. Walk through the temple and see the ordinance and sealing rooms, as well as the baptistery, and enjoy an opportunity to ask questions.
Having a temple nearby is a special blessing to church members, but two temples so near each other is unusual and doubly welcome to church members from eastern Oregon and southern Idaho who will attend and serve in the temple.
Come share our joy and excitement at the opening of the Meridian Temple.
Glenna M. Christensen is a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
The Idaho Statesman’s weekly faith column features a rotation of writers from many different faiths and perspectives.