Extensive open houses have been held prior to the dedication of the Church’s newly constructed temples throughout the world to allow visitors to walk through and experience these sacred structures. We most recently announced that the public is invited to tour the Church’s newly renovated Atlanta Georgia Temple.
As with all temple open houses, the Atlanta open house welcomes anyone who wishes to come. To date, community leaders , dignitaries, and members of the public have taken advantage of the opportunity. Guests included Georgia Governor Nathan Deal and First Lady Sandra Deal, Dr. Louis W. Sullivan (former United States Secretary of Health and Human Services), Bernice King (daughter of Martin Luther King Jr.), Dikembe Mutombo (former NBA player) and many others.
“I was impressed with the beauty of the Atlanta Temple,” Governor Deal said in a Church News report. “It is understandable why it is regarded as a special place for meditation, weddings and other religious instruction.”
The Atlanta Georgia Temple celestial room.
Some who visit discover the common ground their faith shares with Latter-day Saint beliefs. For example, one woman who recently attended the open house at the invitation of a friend blogged about her experience:
I felt so welcomed for being "me" - a visitor. And was respected for my strong Catholic faith. In fact many of the women I talked with had questions for me, and loved sharing in our common beliefs rather than focusing on our differences. The whole experience was outstanding. (See full blog post.)
We hope all visitors to these temple open houses have similar experiences. The Atlanta George Temple open house continues through 23 April 2011 before it is formally dedicated on 1 May 2011.
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.
The Atlanta Georgia Temple baptistry.