Summarized by Kent Larsen
Mormon temple opens in Apex
Raleigh NC News & Observer 2Dec99 D1
By Yonat Shimron: Staff Writer
APEX, NORTH CAROLINA -- At the begining of the open house for the
Raleigh North Carolina Temple, which runs today through December 11th,
Elder Loren Dunn, President of the North America Southeast Area of the
Church, said the Temple represents a new day for Church members in North
Carolina, "We look on this as a new day. We look on any persecution that
may have gone on in the past as people who didn't understand us."
North Carolina is home to 53,000 members of the LDS Church who have
traveled to the Washington D.C. Temple until now. The Raleigh Temple is
one of a handful of Temples in the Southeast, and the most recent
addition to the "Triangle" region's religious diversity, which includes
two Hindu temples, two Sikh gurdwaras, half a dozen Jewish synagogues
and several Muslim mosques.
The 10,400-square-foot temple is topped by a gold-leaf statue of the
angel Moroni and includes stained glass windows, mirrors framed in gold
and paintings depicting the life of Christ. Also included in the $5
million building are crystal chaneliers from the Czech Republic,
alabaster chandeliers from Spain and marble from a quarry in Sharon,
Vermont, the birthplace of Joseph Smith.
Invitations to the dedication have been extended to everyone from U.S.
Senator Jesse Helms of North Carolina to Garner, North Carolina Mayor
Donald Rohrbaugh. The Temple is scheduled to be dedicated on December
Temple president Richard "Dan" Lee of Greensboro, North Carolina, said
that the Temple is important to salvation, "The temple is the place
where you're doing some of the last things human beings can do on this
Earth. That makes you feel good to be there." Lee received a call to be
Temple President from President Gordon B. Hinckley six months ago. A
retired general contractor and developer, Lee and his wife, Jean,
consider the position a high honor.
Members in the area are also pleased that the Temple is so close,
"Without these sacred ordinances, we are not bound together for longer
than this life," said Randolyn Emerson, a Church member from Cary, North
Carolina. "These ordinances are key to our returning to the Father."
Temple officials estimate that from 350 to 450 people will visit the
temple each week. Most will be from Eastern North Carolina. Those in
Western North Carolina will likely drive to the temple in Columbia,
South Carolina. Already the Raleigh Temple has three weddings planned
The LDS Church has experienced some persecution and descrimination in
North Carolina, and some opposition remains among Evangelical
Christians, who filled out a demonstration permit with the town of Apex
and say they will distribute leaflets during the open house. But this
opposition is nothing compared to past difficulties, which include LDS
missionaries that were murdered in the late 1800s and the rejection by
then North Carolina Governor William Alexander Graham of pleas for
refuge by Mormon leaders in 1845 following the murder of Joseph Smith.