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Portland Oregon Temple

Portland Oregon Temple

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Announced: April 7, 1984.

Location: In a wooded suburb about 10 miles southwest of downtown Portland, in the northwest corner of Oswego, adjacent to Interstate 5, 13600 SW Kruse Oaks Blvd.; Lake Oswego, OR 97035-8602; phone: (503) 639-7066.

Site: The land was purchased by the Church in the mid-1960s for a junior college, but 7.3 acres was later chosen as a temple site.

Exterior finish: White marble walls and slate roof.

Temple design: Six spires.

Architects: Leland A. Gray, architect; Lee/Ruff/Waddle, site and local architects.

Construction adviser: Michael Enfield.

Contractor: Zwick Construction Co.

Rooms: Baptistry, celestial room, four ordinance, fourteen sealing rooms.

Total floor area: 80,500 square feet.

Dimensions: 267 feet by 180 feet, four towers 124 feet tall, statue of Angel Moroni on east spire, 181 feet tall.

District: 30 stakes in Oregon and parts of Washington.

Groundbreaking, site dedication: Sept. 20, 1986, by President Gordon B. Hinckley.

Dedication: Aug. 19-21, 1989, by President Gordon B. Hinckley; 11 sessions.

Dedicatory Prayer

Done by President Gordon B. Hinckley

O God our Eternal Father, we come unto thee as thy thankful sons and daughters in a prayer of dedication.

We approach thee in the name of thy Beloved Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, our Savior and Redeemer, the great Messiah.

Wilt thou forgive our sins that we may stand before thee with clean hands and pure hearts, and wilt thou hear our prayer.

We thank thee for the great eternal purposes for which this house has been erected. We thank thee for thy holy priesthood which will be exercised herein. We thank thee for thy work and for thy glory in bringing to pass the immortality and eternal life of thy sons and daughters of all generations. We thank thee for thy Beloved Son, the Redeemer of mankind, whose atoning sacrifice robbed death of its sting and the grave of its victory.

As we reflect on the wonder of this work we are grateful for the Prophet Joseph Smith, upon whom thou didst bestow the keys of the everlasting priesthood, and that these keys have come down to thy servant whom we sustain today as prophet, seer and revelator.

We are grateful for all who have given of themselves and of their substance to the planning and erection of this beautiful edifice. It stands in quiet splendor among the trees of the forest. It is a place of peace and holiness, a refuge from the storms of life, a sanctuary in which to worship thee “in spirit and in truth.”

And now, in the authority of the holy priesthood, which has come from thee, we dedicate and consecrate this the Portland Oregon Temple of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints unto thee, our Father and our God, and to thy Beloved Son, our Redeemer and our Lord.

We dedicate the grounds, beautiful with their design and vegetation. We dedicate these walls of resplendent marble that glow in the sunlight as thy truth shall shine over the earth. We dedicate the entire structure from the footings to the tallest tower, with the figure of Moroni who came as an angel flying through the midst of heaven with the everlasting gospel.

We dedicate the beautiful font for the baptism by living proxies of those beyond the veil of death. We dedicate the facilities for the washing and anointing ordinances that thy people may stand in holiness before thee. We dedicate the endowment rooms with their altars where sacred covenants will be made with thee; the veil through which we pass to enter into thy celestial sphere; the sealing rooms with their hallowed altars where will be solemnized divine and eternal promises which become the foundation of the eternity of the family under thy glorious plan. We dedicate all of the equipment and facilities that each may function for the purposes for which it has been designed, that thy work may be carried forward with order.

Please accept this house as the gift of thy thankful people. We consecrate it as thine abode. We set it apart for the great work for which it has been created, the administration of revealed ordinances to bless thy children, both the living and the dead.

Sanctify this house, we humbly ask thee, that it may be “a house of prayer, a house of fasting, a house of faith, a house of learning, a house of glory, a house of order, a house of God” (Doctrine and Covenants 109:8).

Protect it by thy power from the storms of nature and the defilement of those of evil intent.

May a spirit of solemnity rest upon all who enter herein. Open to their vision a glimpse of thy great and everlasting designs.

Bless all who shall preside and serve in this house, now and in the years to come. Give them strength according to their need. Give them faith to accomplish thy work. Give them that love which is the essence of the gospel of Christ.

Bless thy work in all the earth. Look down upon thy people everywhere, and open the windows of heaven and shower blessings upon the faithful.

We remember before thee the needy and distressed. May we reach out to help and sustain them wherever they may be.

We invoke thy favor upon thy prophet, Ezra Taft Benson, that he may have strength and inspiration in his most holy calling. Bless all who serve with him in the councils of thy church, and smile with love upon thy saints across the world.

Now, dear Father, as we thus dedicate this thy house, we consecrate ourselves anew to thy work of salvation. Thou hast given us thy glorious gospel. Thou hast favored us with membership in thy Church and kingdom. Thou hast touched our minds by the power of the Holy Ghost to bring light and understanding, and opened our mouths to speak words of faith and truth.

We praise thy holy name. We give unto thee glory and honor. We praise and thank our Redeemer through whose atonement there has come to each of us the gift of resurrection and the opportunity for eternal life. Bless us to walk in obedience to thy law that we may be worthy of thy love, we pray in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.

Temple dedicated in ’quiet splendor sacred edifice offered to Lord in glory, honor

By Gerry Avant

Church News editor

Standing in “quiet splendor among the trees of the forest,” the Portland Oregon Temple was dedicated Aug. 19-21.

A total of 40,942 members from the temple district’s 29 stakes in Oregon and four in Washington attended the dedication of the Church’s 42nd operating temple, located about eight miles south of downtown Portland. Some 90,000 members reside in the temple district.President Ezra Taft Benson presided over and briefly addressed each of three dedicatory sessions on Saturday, Aug. 19. President Gordon B. Hinckley, first counselor in the First Presidency, presided over four dedicatory sessions Sunday, Aug. 20. President Thomas S. Monson, second counselor in the First Presidency, presided over the final four sessions Monday, Aug. 21.

Preceding the first dedicatory session on Aug. 19 was an 8 a.m. ceremony in which the temple’s symbolic cornerstone was placed in a recess of the edifice.

Behind the cornerstone was sealed a box containing the scriptures, photographs, historical records, artifacts and other selected items pertinent to the Church in this part of the Northwest.

President Benson was the first to wield a trowel of mortar. His counselors, several General Authorities, Relief Society Gen. Pres. Barbara W. Winder, local priesthood leaders, members of the temple committee and temple presidency placed mortar around the stone.

Long lines of members waiting to enter the temple symbolized their long wait for the day a temple would open its doors in Oregon. With 55 television monitors placed in 39 viewing areas throughout the temple, each session accommodated up to 3,900 members. Music for the sessions was provided by combined stake choirs from the temple district.

Throughout the dedicatory sessions, expressions of praise and thanksgiving were given in glory and honor to the Lord for blessing members to have a temple in their midst.

Among the most humble, yet powerful, expressions of gratitude were those offered by President Benson, who recently observed his 90th birthday. President Benson, accompanied by his wife, Flora, traveled by plane early Aug. 19, arriving in time for the cornerstone ceremony and departing shortly after the third dedicatory session that afternoon.

At times the prophet’s voice boomed a strong and powerful testimony. “The Lord is blessing this work,” he testified. “I thank the Lord for temples. God bless you who will join in the great temple work of the Lord. . . . Bless you as you go forward in this great work. It is true and I know it.”

After a brief pause, President Benson continued, “I thank the Lord for you, and for all that you do. This is your temple. … This temple is going to have a great mission, and some day you will find it.”

President Benson spoke of his mother-in-law who was a temple worker and of his parents who went to the temple regularly. He said he and Sister Benson attend the temple nearly every week. “I want you to know we are a temple-going family,” he exclaimed. “I love the temples of the Lord.”

President Hinckley delivered the dedicatory prayer during the opening session, and spoke during the cornerstone ceremony and five dedicatory sessions. President Monson conducted the cornerstone ceremony and spoke during six dedicatory sessions.

In one of his addresses, President Hinckley referred to the dedicatory prayer of Solomon’s Temple, in which Solomon prayed, “Hearken therefore unto the supplications of thy servant … hear thou from thy dwelling place, even from heaven; and when thou hearest, forgive” (2 Chronicles 6:21).

President Hinckley said of today’s temple: “This is a house of forgiveness. This is a place of repentance. The Lord will forgive if we repent sincerely and in faith. This is a house that must be clean. That cleanliness is not particularly in the drapes, carpets and walls; that cleanliness is in the hearts of the people who come here.”

In another session, President Hinckley said of the temple, “This is where we all stand equally before the Lord. When the president of the Church comes to the temple, he comes with recommend in hand and he dresses as all others. Here, he makes the same covenants, enters the same obligations and takes upon himself the same responsibilities. . . .

“We live in a world saturated with evil. It is all around us. Evil and vicious men exploit the mind. We need the peace, the solemn, wonderful peace of the house of the Lord where we may gather in His holy name and do His sacred work. There is something to be had here that can be had no where else. There is no compensation for service in terms of the coin of the world, but somehow there is a balm in these houses, a healing if you please, in these sacred places different from all others.”

President Monson, in one address, made an analogy between the cleansing properties of a river’s fresh waters and the temple.

He spoke of how barnacles become attached to the hulls of sea-going ships, slowing and damaging them. Putting the ship into dry dock to have the barnacles chiseled off is costly and time consuming. The wise captain, said President Monson, comes up the Columbia and Willamette rivers to Portland, 100 miles from the ocean. “In the fresh water, the barnacles automatically fall from the hull of the ship, and the ship takes on new vigor, able to return to sea unhindered,” he said.

“This day, we have this magnificent temple, which should be a refuge for those who are carrying more burdens than they should. As we incur tremendous burdens, our progress is impaired. We need to get to the clear, pure waters of the temple. When this is accomplished and we leave the temple, we are better prepared to meet the challenges of life and be prepared to return to the presence of our Heavenly Father.”

Throughout the sessions President Hinckley and President Monson addressed, they frequently directed comments to hundreds of boys and girls. (Minimum age for attending the dedication was 8.) They affirmed the temple is not just for the youngsters’ parents and other grown-ups.

“You can come here when you are 12 years of age and do baptisms for the dead, important work that needs to be done,” said President Hinckley to the boys and girls. “When you get older, before you go on a mission, you can come here and be endowed, receiving gifts and blessings that are given nowhere else. When you grow up and fall in love with the most wonderful man or the most wonderful woman in all the world, you can come to the temple and be married and sealed together.”

President Monson encouraged young people attending the dedication to “touch the temple’s carpets and chairs; touch the temple and let it touch you.”

During the last session of the dedication on Aug. 21, mention was made that President Monson was observing his 62nd birthday. Instead of receiving a gift, he presented one to a child attending the dedication. From the congregation in the celestial room, he called Veronica Garner, 12, of the Lake Oswego (Ore.) Ward to stand by his side at the podium. He removed a solitary white rose from a flower arrangement and presented it to Veronica, saying, “I want you to always keep this as part of this temple, and come back here and get married for time and all eternity.”

Veronica’s white rose is only a tangible reminder of the dedication of the Portland Oregon Temple. For the thousands who attended, myriad blossoms were collected from a spiritual garden of memories.

300,000 visitors tour Portland temple

Following a major media effort, a total of 314,232 people – fifth highest in Church history – toured the Portland Oregon Temple during its 22-day open house.

Some 21,000 people visited on the final day, Saturday, July 8.The temple, which was opened to visitors on June 15, has now been closed for cleaning and preparations for its dedication on Aug. 19-21.

The open house lifted the Church into greater significance in the area, and offered a soft introduction for visitors to its principles. With more than 240 pictures of the Savior displayed in the temple, the tour re-affirmed to many that Christ, indeed, is the center of Latter-day Saint worship, said James Bean, vice chairman of the temple committee who has headed the local effort since 1984.

“The Church has always been well-respected in the area,” he said. “Now it is clearly apparent that the Church is a major influence here.” He said many leaders of other churches were very supportive of the temple, and they feel the temple has brought a great spiritual blessing to the area.

He said that while his work with the temple has been one of “the choicest times of my life,” it has not been without challenges. “Whenever temples are built, there are challenges that come. The saints are tested; it is almost as though the Lord wants the members to know how much they want a temple. It really isn’t easy.”

Even though it wasn’t easy, the open house went smoothly, he reported. Visitors to the temple felt a special spirit there, and “tens of thousands of them” wrote of their positive impressions.

One visitor wrote, “We marveled at the marble, the setting, and the architecture. It is awe-inspiring. No finer house could be built for the Lord.”

Those sentiments were echoed by many others who waited up to 45 minutes in lines that stretched from the temple grounds down one hill and up another, a quarter of a mile away.

“At times, we were taking 2,500 people per hour through the temple,” said Brian L. Smith, Portland area public communications director.

“They were walking heel to toe, about three deep, as quickly as we could courteously move them. We had youth volunteers slipping on foot coverings as frantically as they could.”

Leaders estimated that more than half of the visitors were not Church members. And among the members, a number were less-active.

One commented, “I’ve been away from the Church for several years now. I haven’t felt the Spirit in all that time. This experience today has convinced me that I must come back – I’ll see you in Church tomorrow.”

Visitors eagerly received pamphlets and brochures that were available following the silent tours. Smith said box loads of literature – not including the 900,000 inserts that were distributed before the open house – were taken. “It was a super experience to see them reading the pamphlets as they walked to the parking lot,” he said. “We struggled to keep materials on hand – they just flew out of here, especially during the last couple of days.”

Volunteers and full-time missionaries were available for those who had questions. The first converts, who were introduced to the Church at the open house, are being baptized this week, reported Pres. James J. Eardly of the Oregon Portland Mission.

Pres. Eardly said “hundreds and hundreds of referrals” have been received, and many missionaries took investigators to the temple open house. “It has a very strong, positive effect on investigators,” he said. “Everything about it has been upbeat. It is having a great leavening effect on the area.”

Smith said that to announce the open house, 80 radio spots and 60 television spots were played by area stations. “Whenever the spots were broadcast, the phones began to ring at the temple information center,” he explained. “The last I heard, we had received more than 10,000 phone calls.”

More than 9,000 members served as volunteers at the temple. The director of the tours, Ed Walunas, spent thousands of hours in planning and organizing the tours. Leaders said many of the volunteers spent 15 and 16 hours a day at the temple during the open house.

Volunteers also assisted with special wheelchair tours for people with disabilities. “About 8 percent of the visitors took these tours,” said Smith. “These tours were a very nice feature of the open house.”

Church members, too, have felt the spiritual uplifting, said leaders. “Every stake acknowledges an increase in home teaching and visiting teaching,” said Bean. “There is a tremendous awareness on the part of the saints in having temple blessings available to them.

“The real work will begin when the temple is dedicated,” he declared, “and members come back to do the work for which the temple was built. There is a good spirit among the members, and they desire to prove themselves worthy of this great blessing.”

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