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Washington D.C. Temple

The Washington D.C. Temple (formerly the Washington Temple) is the 18th constructed and 16th operating temple of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Overview

Located in Kensington, Maryland, it was built with a modern six-spire design, with the three towers to the east representing the Melchizedek Priesthood leadership, and the three towers to the west representing the Aaronic Priesthood leadership. The central eastern tower reaches a height of 288 feet, the tallest of any LDS temple. It was the first LDS temple in the United States east of the Mississippi River since 1846.

Building of the Washington D.C. Temple was announced on December 7, 1968 followed by a groundbreaking ceremony on the same day. A very large plot of land on a wooded hill was bought in 1962 and only eleven acres were cleared for the temple. The rest of the land was left untouched to give the temple a remote feeling.

The temple was designed to be similar in style and form to the Salt Lake Temple so that it would be easily recognized as a temple of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. It was estimated that it would cost fifteen million dollars to build the Washington D.C. Temple and members of the Church that would be attending the temple were asked to help in providing at least four and a half million dollars. Local members eventually raised six million dollars.

The Washington D.C. Temple's angel Moroni statue, which sits atop the tallest tower, is eighteen feet tall and weighs two tons. Another interesting feature is that the temple appears to not have any windows. From the inside, however, the thinly cut marble appears translucent. At a completion ceremony the First Presidency buried a metal box with historical items near a corner of the temple. During the first week of the temple open house government officials and diplomats from around the world were taken on special tours through the temple.

The open house continued for seven weeks and over 750,000 people went through the Washington D.C. Temple. The high number of people that attended the open house was due mostly to the large amount of coverage that the temple and Church received as the temple neared completion. Articles were printed in Time, Newsweek, and World Report. There was also a large press conference held that introduced the temple and Spencer W. Kimball, the Prophet and President of the Church at the time. Demand for tickets to the open house was high and the tickets were gone before the first day of tours and times were extended to accommodate more people.

Ten dedicatory sessions were held for the Washington D.C. Temple between November 19 and November 22, 1974. Over 40,000 members were able to attend the dedicatory services. The Washington D.C. temple has a total floor area of 160,000 square feet, making it the third largest LDS temple. It holds six ordinance rooms and fourteen sealing rooms.

Washington landmark

The large striking look and brilliant white color of the Washington D.C. Temple coupled with a very prominent location along the Capital Beltway has caused the structure to become an instantly recognized landmark. It is not uncommon to hear D.C. area radio stations which broadcast traffic condition to refer to the landmark as "Mormon temple" or simply as the "temple". The large stand of forest around the temple further highlights its prominence. Curves in the beltway cause an effect for traffic traveling along the outer loop (westbound) lanes whereby the temple "pops up" out of nowhere directly in front. As the traffic continues to approach the temple seems to grow in size as the tree line opens up.

Graffiti related to the temple

The famous graffiti in the D.C. metropolitan area first appeared on the outer loop of the I-495, the Capital Beltway, on a railroad bridge near the Washington D.C. Temple of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, in Kensington, Maryland, beginning in late 1973. The sections of the bridge match exactly the number of letters in the graffiti message, "Surrender Dorothy". It was graffitied by an anonymous artist and was removed by the Maryland State Police after pressure from the Church; however, it has been periodically replaced in various forms by similarly anonymous persons since then.

The rail line which contains the bridge is the old Baltimore and Ohio Railroad Metropolitan Branch, now owned by CSX Transportation, which operates the MARC Brunswick Line and various freight trains on that branch. The phrase is visible from the eastern side of the bridge, and is the second of three bridges over the Beltway approaching from the east, with Seminary Road before it, and Linden Lane after it.

Mormon newsletters have cited the graffiti as an example of the misunderstanding of their religion.

See also

Notes and references

External links

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