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Columbia South Carolina Temple

One hundred and sixty years ago Emmanuel Masters Murphy was the only member in South Carolina, but through his efforts others were converted to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. He even visited the Prophet Joseph Smith in Carthage Jail. Where the prophet Joseph Smith prophesied about, "the wars that will shortly come to pass, beginning at the rebellion of South Carolina, which will eventually terminate in the death and misery of many souls." 1 He told Murphy to warn the citizens of the coming war.2

Because of the Civil War, the migration of the Saints to Utah, and persecution within the state itself, the Mormon Church in South Carolina had little growth until 1917 when the first branch (small congregation) was organized with 40 members. The next 80 years saw enormous growth and in 1999 there were 26,000 members in South Carolina. Gwen Slay Llewllyn remembers when the church was smaller before permanent buildings were built. She said, “I was 13 when the stake was organized. My relatives and I would have to clean tobacco out of rented buildings before services could be held.” 3 Now the Mormon Church not only has over 45 meeting houses in South Carolina but a Mormon temple as well.

The new Mormon temple is located in Columbia South Carolina, because it’s the capital and a central location within the state. The building is about 11,700 square feet set in a residential neighborhood and surrounded by native loblolly pine and oak. The grounds are landscaped with the area's natural flora including myrtle, holly, mums, and dogwood trees. The exterior of the temple is gray granite and features art glass windows. The temple has the traditional lone spire topped by a gold-plated angel Moroni.

The angel Moroni tops most Mormon temples as a symbol of the restoration of the gospel. It was the angel Moroni that appeared to a young Joseph Smith and told him about the buried gold plates. The gold plates which Joseph Smith later translated into the Book of Mormon. The Mormon Church uses the Book of Mormon in conjunction with the Bible. The Book of Mormon is another testament of Jesus Christ. It gives a record of the prophecies, wars, and Christ's visit to inhabitants of the American continents.

At the groundbreaking of the Columbia South Carolina temple held on December 5, 1998, Elder Gordon T. Watts of the Seventy said, “As the contractors and building people prepare and begin construction, let us also begin a program of personal construction that we will be as exemplary as this beautiful temple when it is completed. If changes are required in your life to gain entrance into the temple, let us begin now.” 4

After a temple is dedicated, only members of the Mormon Church who have temple recommends are allowed to enter LDS (Mormon) temples. Because of the sacred nature of the building only those whose lives are align with the teachings of the gospel and are worthy to enter are allowed to participate in the ordinances inside. Before the South Carolina temple was dedicated about 20,000 people walked through it during an open house.

The Columbia, South Carolina temple was dedicated the 15-16 October 1999. President Hinckley presided and gave the dedicatory prayer.

For more information about Mormon temples visit the sites below:

LDS (Mormon) Temple resources  

LDS Temples - Mormon Temples - Salt Lake Temple 

USATODAY.com - Mormons open temple doors to share beliefs

Temple (Mormonism) - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

BBC - Religion & Ethics - Mormon Temples

Manhattan Mormon Temple New York City.com : Arts & Attractions ...

History of Mormon Temples

Mormon Temple Ordinances - ReligionFacts.com  

(1) D&C 87:1

(2) Gerry Avant, ed. "Worldwide Church: United States of America: South Carolina," 2004 Church Almanac (Salt Lake City, Utah: Deseret Morning News, 2004) 228–229.

(3) “News of the Church,” Ensign, Mar. 1999, 75

(4) “News of the Church,” Ensign, Mar. 1999, 75

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