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Posted 24 Feb 2001   For week ended April 16, 2000
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News about Mormons, Mormonism,
and the LDS Church
Sent on Mormon-News: 10Apr00

Summarized by Kent Larsen

Fresno Temple Dedication Draws Thousands
Fresno CA Bee 10Apr00 D1
By Tracy Correa: Fresno Bee

FRESNO, CALIFORNIA -- A crowd of LDS Church members estimated at 10,000 visited the grounds of the new Fresno LDS Temple on Sunday, witnessing President Gordon B. Hinckley place the building's cornerstone and dedicate the Temple. Some members unable to attend the dedication inside the Temple itself, arrived as early as 6 a.m. to catch a glimpse of President Hinckley for the 9 a.m. cornerstone ceremony.

Local LDS Church officials say this is the first time that an LDS Church president has visited Fresno, so it was no surprise when some 1,200 members began to arrive at 6 a.m. to get spots near the rear of the building. By the time President Hinckley laid the building's cornerstone, the lawn area was full and many more pressed against the wrought-iron fence around the building tryuing to catch a glimpse.

The normally short cornerstone-laying ceremony took a full 20-minutes as President Hinckley greeted those assembled and talked with them, "Well, look at all these people, all these boys and girls," he said after emerging from the Temple and seeing how many people were there. President Hinckley was assisted in laying the cornerstone by a few of the children from the audience. He remarked that the mortar was too dry, and joked that after so many dedications, he still couldn't get it right.

"That's my daughter up there," said Church member Elaine Devlin, who's 15-year-old daughter Elizabeth was one of the six children to help. "This is probably one of the most exciting days of her life -- and mine -- because he's a prophet. She gets to be that close to him."

President Hinckley returned into the Temple, and presided over four dedication ceremonies during the day. The first dedicatory service included about 638 members, according to Chu4ch member Hap Cluff, a Fresno city employee who served on the Temple's security committee. In addition, more than 1,700 watched the dedication over a live feed in the adjacent chapel.


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