The public is invited to tour the newly renovated Atlanta Georgia Temple of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. This is the first time the building has been opened to the public since its original dedication in June of 1983.
The First Presidency of the Church has announced a public open house beginning Saturday, 9 April 2011, and continuing through Saturday, 23 April 2011, excluding Sundays. Public tours are available on Mondays from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. and Tuesdays through Saturdays from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Tickets to the open house are required, but free, and can be obtained by visiting lds.org/reservations.
The temple is located in Sandy Springs, just off Highway 400 near Abernathy Road NE. Tours consisting of an 11-minute video presentation followed by a 30-minute walking tour will begin at the meetinghouse adjacent to the temple. Free parking is available on site.
Following the public open house, the temple will be formally dedicated on Sunday, 1 May 2011, by Church President Thomas S. Monson. After the dedication, only Church members in good standing will be allowed to enter. The two dedicatory sessions will be broadcast to Latter-day Saint chapels in the surrounding area to accommodate some of the 80,000 Church members in the region who will be served by the temple. The dedication will be preceded by a cultural celebration featuring the youth of the Church, to be presented in the Atlanta Civic Center on the evening of 30 April.
The Atlanta temple was closed in July 2009 for extensive renovation. This renovation included complete replacement of the electrical, plumbing and HVAC systems, as well as the installation of an automatic fire sprinkler system. Work was also done to assure more complete functionality for the disabled. In addition to the technical improvements, new appointments include rich eucalyptus hardwood from Brazil, original art, Swarovski crystal chandeliers, 45 new art-glass panels, etched carpets and added windows for increased natural light. The exterior of the temple remains mostly unchanged, with some new landscaping.
An estimated 2.5 million Latter-day Saints have entered the Atlanta temple since it was originally completed and dedicated in 1983. The Georgia building was the 21sttemple of the Church worldwide and the first built in the southern United States. Today there is at least one temple in every adjoining state, in Birmingham, Alabama; Memphis and Nashville, Tennessee; Raleigh, North Carolina; Columbia, South Carolina and Orlando, Florida. Worldwide there are 134 operating temples, with another 26 announced or in some phase of construction, including a second temple in Florida, to be located in or near Ft. Lauderdale.
Latter-day Saint temples differ from the meetinghouses or chapels where members meet for Sunday worship services. Temples are considered “houses of the Lord” where the teachings of Jesus Christ are reaffirmed through marriage, baptism and other ordinances that unite families for eternity. In the temple, Church members learn more about the purpose of life and make covenants to follow Jesus Christ and serve their fellow man.