Nearly four and a half years after planning began for a new Pocatello Idaho Temple, the finished temple’s doors were opened on Monday to the local media. Dozens of people filed in for one of the first public tours of the new building.
From its dominating white exterior to its grand entrance and hallways lined with plush carpeting and gold-framed paintings of area landscapes, the temple is nothing short of what the church’s membership had hoped it would be — an awe-inspiring house of the Lord.
The religious building features original artwork from Idaho artists, architecture designed after historic buildings in Pocatello and walls and flooring adorned with depictions of the syringa, the Idaho state flower, as well as other flowers indigenous to Pocatello.
“The temple has exceeded our expectations,” said Larry Fisher, a spokesperson for the local church. “We love the design that they came up with here and the local flavor of the temple they created using Pocatello architecture and the syringa. They just made it feel like it’s our temple and that it was built for Pocatello.”
Members of the press were invited by the church to take a tour of the temple on Monday, marking the first tour of a series of open house events that will run from Sept. 18 through Oct. 23 for the general public. About 100 people attended the tour and a news conference that preceded it on Monday morning.
The tour made stops in several rooms, including the baptistry room, the bride’s room, the chapel, an instruction room, a sealing room and the celestial room.
Decorative paint featuring area florals colored in sage, yellow and coral with gold accents adorns the walls of the temple throughout. Floral-themed stained glass artwork makes appearances in windows and doors on every floor, and a special piece of interior art glass, which was salvaged from an Eastern U.S. Protestant church, hangs in the chapel.
Materials for the temple were sourced from across the globe. The main stone used throughout the building was sourced from Bethlehem, Israel. The countertops and font in the general building used material from Pakistan, and two accent stones, the granite and marble used as details in the floors and restroom counters, came from Iran and Spain, respectively.
The temple, which took more than two years from its groundbreaking in 2019 to construct, measures just under 195 feet tall to the top of the angel Moroni and occupies 71,125 square feet of a nearly 11-acre property in the eastern foothills of Pocatello.
The Pocatello Idaho Temple will be one of 170 operating temples of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and the sixth temple in Idaho. Other temples are in Boise, Idaho Falls, Meridian, Rexburg and Twin Falls, and a seventh temple has been announced in Burley.
Of the temple’s opening on Monday, Camille Johnson, a Pocatello native and Primary general president of the church, said it was a “really special opportunity” for her to be able to return to her birthplace and celebrate the new temple.
“I’m delighted for the dear saints here that will have the blessing of the temple here on their hillside,” Johnson said. “I think Pocatello is going to receive generous blessings because of their faithfulness and the consecrated nature of the saints here.”
The new temple in Pocatello and the start of public tours of the building have been a culmination of hundreds of community members, volunteers, architects, designers and construction workers who spent the last few years working toward a finished product of which the community can be proud.
Troy and Jennifer Dye, Chubbuck residents and lifelong members of the church, were among those who offered their help. The Dyes served on one of many committees formed for the temple’s opening and helped to coordinate the open houses.
The Pocatello temple means a lot to them, Troy said, because they have children and grandchildren and this is where they want to be with their family.
“We feel that a temple in this community is for our posterity,” Troy said. “Our family will be here and the temple will be here for hundreds of years and it will be an anchor for them.”
Idaho is home to more than 460,000 Latter-day Saints. The Pocatello Idaho Temple will serve about 61,000 members from the area.
Community members who want to tour the temple can reserve free tickets at www.pocatellotemple.org. The open house dates run from Sept. 18 to Oct. 23, excluding Sundays and Saturday, Oct. 2.
“It’s been a wonderful experience to be part of the whole process from the groundbreaking through the construction and now for the open house,” Fisher said. “We’re excited to have this temple in the community and we hope that the whole community will come here to see it.”