The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

Mormon Temples

Denver Colorado

Denver Colorado Temple

The Denver Colorado Temple stands atop a rise in Centennial, a suburb of Denver. It has just over 27,000 square feet on 7.56 acres of manicured grounds that include a serene water feature. The Denver Colorado Temple is the 40th operating temple of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

The first Colorado stake, or group of congregations similar to a Catholic diocese, was organized in 1883 in the San Luis Valley of south central Colorado. Church membership grew slowly in Colorado at first, but growth accelerated dramatically with each decade after the 1950s as a result of missionary work and job opportunities bringing members of the Church to Colorado. In the early 1980s, 11 new stakes were organized in Colorado.

The Church’s growth in Colorado in the 1980s came at the beginning of a temple-building era. In April 1980, Church President Spencer W. Kimball announced seven new temples, planning more temples than ever before in the Church's history to that date. Ten more were announced in January 1982 and another four (including the Denver temple) in March the same year.

Even before this era of increased temple construction, Latter-day Saints in Colorado demonstrated their faith and desire for a temple by increasing their efforts to attend temples despite their distance. Members in some congregations of Colorado donated small amounts of money to a designated temple trip fund, which allowed local members to go on two-day temple trips to Manti, Utah, for a mere $25 per trip. When Church President Spencer W. Kimball received reports of the members' efforts to make these trips, he was touched by their commitment. In 1978, he wrote a letter to Raymond Kimball, a Church leader in Littleton, Colorado, and cousin to President Kimball. He said, "It is quite likely that we will get to the point of building a temple in the Denver area, which would please us very much." 1 Latter-day Saints in Colorado also conducted a vast amount of family history research, a process necessary to support a temple, since much of the work Mormons do in temples is in behalf of their own ancestors.

When the Denver Colorado Temple was announced on March 31, 1982, members of the Church living within the proposed temple district were asked to donate funds equal to 30 percent of the temple's estimated construction costs within the next six months. The members responded with great generosity and enthusiasm. In anticipation of a temple in their area one day, one stake had begun a temple fund years in advance, and they had their portion immediately. Hazel Atterberry was among those enthusiastic members who contributed to the temple fund. At age 69, she was employed by the First Baptist Church to use her years of experience in the restaurant business and prepare meals for 100 to 200 people at weekly family events. Hazel made many new Baptist friends during her job. They came to love her and respected her dedication to her religion when they learned she was donating some of her earnings to the construction of the Mormon temple in Denver.

The Church considered a few different sites for the temple and originally planned to use a sloped-roof, six-spire design similar to the design of the Boise Idaho Temple. However, the Church changed the design to better suit the acquired location, allowing homeowners in the neighborhood to keep the beautiful, unobstructed views to which they were accustomed. The new design had one 90-foot spire instead of the taller six spires of the previous design. The new plans also lowered the roofline by 14 feet. The exterior is made of pre-cast stone, and a statue of the angel Moroni, a Book of Mormon prophet, caps the single spire.

Visitors of all faiths were welcomed through the temple's doors during a public open house from September 4 to 24, 1986. Church President Ezra Taft Benson dedicated the temple, and 19 dedicatory sessions were held October 24–28, 1986, allowing many Church members in the temple district to attend.

In his dedicatory prayer, President Ezra Taft Benson specifically referred to the faith and sacrifice of all who devoted their time and means in support of the temple construction: “We ask that Thou wilt open the windows of heaven and shower down blessings upon all who have given of their substance for this sacred purpose.” 2

Visitors are welcome to enjoy the temple’s peaceful grounds, and a few attendants are available to answer questions.

 

1 In Twila Bird, Build Unto My Holy Name: The Story of the Denver Temple (1987), 5.

2 Denver Colorado Temple dedicatory prayer, in Church News, Nov. 2, 1986, http://www.ldschurchnewsarchive.com/articles/61687/Denver-Colorado-Temple-This-is-a-day-of-rejoicing.html.

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