Fresno California Temple
California is home to over 740,000 members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and also four Mormon temples. The newest temple was built in Fresno, California.
California has long had a history with the Mormon Church
starting with members who sailed to San Francisco aboard the Brooklyn.
Then members of the U.S. Army unit known as the Mormon Battalion were
discharged in San Diego, many stayed and helped build up the San Diego
area. Members arrived in Fresno in 1907 and by 1920 a congregation,
called a ward, was organized. The area continued to grow and at the
time of the Mormon temple dedication there were 28,000 members in the Fresno area.
The Fresno California temple was the 99th temple of the
Mormon Church. It has the same design as the other smaller temples that
are being built worldwide. The exterior is white sierra granite and
features a single-spire topped by a statue of the angel Moroni.
Elder John B. Dickson, of the Seventy, conducted the groundbreaking
ceremony in March of 1999. He commented upon the growth of the Mormon
Church saying, "We now find ourselves on the threshold of unprecedented
growth and expansion."1
Elder Dickson also talked about the Book of Mormon,
another book of scripture that is used by members of the Mormon Church.
"What a blessing it is to have this other testimony of the Savior
amidst the unbelief of the 20th and 21st centuries. Through these
scriptures we have more fully come to understand that God is our
Heavenly Father, that we dwelt with Him before this earth life and that
part of His plan for our happiness was that a way be prepared for us to
return to Him one day… We have also learned that the family is the
central unit in Heavenly Father's plan for His children." 2
It is because of this strong emphasis on families that the Mormon Church
builds temples. Elder Dickson said, "For we know not only that families
are basic and important, but they can also be eternal. The building
that will rise on this sacred piece of property is a building dedicated
to the proposition of helping us to establish eternal families." 3
It is within temples that special sealing ordinances are performed
that tie families together. Marriages performed within temples do not
end with death, as other marriages do, but are promised to last for
eternity, if the husband and wife keep the commandments and love each
Before the Mormon temple
was dedicated it was opened to the public. During that time 53,000
people toured the temple. After the temple is dedicated only members
with a temple recommend will be able to enter because of the sacred
nature of the ordinances performed inside.
President Gordon B. Hinckley dedicated the Fresno California temple
on 9 April 2000. In his dedicatory prayer he said, "“Wilt Thou bless
all who will serve within this sacred structure. They will come here to
assist in bringing to pass Thy work and Thy glory, even the immortality
and eternal life of man." 4 Members of the Mormon Church
believe that it is through the ordinances received within temples that
men and women will have eternal life with God and with each other.
After the dedication members expressed their appreciation of the
Fresno California temple, Armando Esqueda said at the dedication, “It’s
been the most magnificent day of my life." 5
Stephen Ehat commented that having a Mormon temple close reminds him, “that the Lord loves us and wants us to return to Him. Today I felt like I was on holy ground.” 6
For more information about Mormon temples visit the sites below:
LDS Temples - Mormon Temples - Salt Lake Temple
Teachings About Mormon Temples
USATODAY.com - Mormons open temple
doors to share beliefs
Manhattan Mormon Temple New York City.com : Arts & Attractions ...
Mormanity: Mormon Temples and "Secrecy"
History of Mormon Temples
Mormon Temple Ordinances - ReligionFacts.com
(1) Church News, 27 March 1999.
(2) Church News, 27 March 1999.
(3) Church News, 27 March 1999.
(4) “News of the Church,” Ensign, June 2000, 70
(5) “News of the Church,” Ensign, June 2000, 70
(6) “News of the Church,” Ensign, June 2000, 70