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Here’s Your First Look Inside the Renovated Washington D.C. Temple

William Randall Cone had recently returned from San Francisco, worldly-wise and somewhat jaded toward religion when he accepted an invitation from his brother to help build the Washington D.C. Temple in the 1970s.

It was then, working on a team full of former missionaries of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, that Cone’s interest was piqued in his brother’s faith. “These construction workers I was working with were terrific people,” Cone said. “They were fascinating. They were interesting. They were funny. But they were always honest. I mean, who’s always honest? It was amazing. And I thought, ‘Who wouldn’t want to be like this? How are they this way?’”

Cone, who had explored other religions in depth, began reading the Book of Mormon and meditating. He had spiritual experiences that motivated him to change his ways and join the Church.

Cone said life only became more difficult after he became a Latter-day Saint. His father and mother died. His business struggled.

“And yet,” he adds, “I was blessed beyond measure. I was given the tools — and they’re here in [the Washington D.C. Temple] — to deal ethically and virtuously with every circumstance that this world can throw at you.”

Now, more than four decades later, Cone is rejoicing with other Latter-day Saints as the house of the Lord he helped build reopens after a major renovation and an extended open house delay due to COVID-19.

A Symbol of the Church’s Future

The Washington D.C. Temple was the Church’s first temple built east of the Mississippi River since the Nauvoo Temple more than a century earlier. Most major Church history sites — including Palmyra, Kirtland and Nauvoo — are within the original boundaries of the Washington D.C. Temple district.

The groundbreaking for the temple was held in 1968, and construction began in 1971. This house of the Lord was dedicated in 1974 by President Spencer W. Kimball and became the faith’s 16th operating temple.

The Washington D.C. Temple shares some features with the Church’s iconic Salt Lake Temple: six spires and a similar footprint. This was by design.

“It was intended to be that way, with the idea that the Salt Lake Temple represented the foundation of the Church, and the Washington, D.C. Temple represented the international future of the Church,” Holt said.

Anne Golightly, chair of public affairs for the local Washington D.C. Temple open house committee, said that Washington’s global community has always had great interest in the sacred building.

“Nearly everyone who hears about the opportunity to come and see the inside of this temple is enthusiastic and willing to make time in their busy schedules,” she said.

“We want to share with our neighbors and friends the feelings we have about this special place of peace. To me, it’s a refuge in the midst of a storm, and everyone needs one of those. I know they will catch a bit of that peace when they come.“

In this global area where cultures, ideas and politics intersect, the temple has attracted the attention of millions driving the Capital Beltway for five decades.

An open house for the temple will be held April 28 through June 11, 2022, except for Sundays — marking the first time the public will be able to tour the temple since a similar open house just prior to its 1974 dedication.

The open house will highlight the iconic temple, the grounds and the temple visitors’ center. Open house ticket information is available at dctemple.org.

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