By Nate Eaton, EastIdahoNews.com via CNN
IDAHO FALLS, Idaho — Tens of thousands of members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints participated in the rededication of the Idaho Falls Temple Sunday.
Regular church services were canceled in most of eastern Idaho as baptized Mormons attended the temple or watched the dedication services at their meetinghouses. Three sessions were held with President Henry B. Eyring, first counselor in the First Presidency of the Church, officiating.
The temple closed for extensive renovations in March 2015. Ventilation and electric systems were upgraded, carpet was replaced, canvases were restored and the interior of the 72-year-old building received a major facelift.
Twenty-five hundred tickets were given to church members living in 45 east Idaho stakes for each of the three dedication services inside the temple.
“I’ve never been inside for a temple dedication so it’s going to be a really cool experience,” Connor Haines, a church member from Pocatello, said before attending the 9 a.m. session. “Our stake president wasn’t able to come so he gave us his tickets.”
Latter-day Saints consider a temple to be a house of God and a holy sanctuary where sacred ceremonies are performed for the living and in behalf of the dead. Dedication services typically feature music, speakers and a dedicatory prayer.
Eyring’s son, Henry J. Eyring, is the president of Brigham Young University-Idaho. He attended a rededication session Sunday and said the Idaho Falls temple is a special place for his family. His father often visited the temple while serving as president of Ricks College from 1971-1977.
“This is a place of great memories for me,” Henry J. Eyring told EastIdahoNews.com. “This is the first place I ever entered the temple as a young man performing baptisms for the dead and my father has had great spiritual experiences here as he has sought guidance in leading the college. It’s a marvelous place for us.”
Other LDS General Authorities involved in the temple rededication included Elder Ronald A. Rasband of Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, Elder Richard J. Maynes, Elder K. Brett Nattress and Elder Bradley D. Foster.
The Idaho Falls Temple will reopen Monday by invitation only and officially opens to all worthy members of the church Tuesday.