3 May 2016
The temple will be formally dedicated on Sunday, September 18, 2016, in three sessions. In conjunction with the dedication of the temple, there will also be a cultural celebration featuring music and dance on Saturday evening, September 17.
Ground was broken for the Philadelphia Pennsylvania Temple on September 17, 2011. At the groundbreaking ceremony, Church leader William R. Walker remarked, “The temple that we build here will add to the grandeur of the city and in particular it will add to the spirit of brotherly love, which is a hallmark of our faith and of our religion.” He also expressed a hope that “citizens of Philadelphia of all faiths will similarly admire the beauty of the temple and see it as a symbol of peace, harmony and faith.”
While the Church’s 18,000-plus meetinghouses are open to all people who wish to attend religious services, temples are open only to Latter-day Saints in good standing after they are formally dedicated. Temples are considered “houses of the Lord” where Christ’s teachings are reaffirmed through marriage, baptism and other ordinances that unite families for eternity. Inside, members learn more about the purpose of life and make promises to serve Jesus Christ and their fellow man.
There are currently 150 operating temples of the Church worldwide with 24 more announced or under construction, including Philadelphia. This is the first temple in Pennsylvania.
Designed in a neoclassical style, the 53,000-square-foot temple harmonizes with the existing cityscape. The temple’s two towers seem to take inspiration from nearby Independence Hall, while inside, the temple’s design continues the historical motif through decorations and furnishings similar to those of late-1700s-era buildings. Outside, the structure is covered in a granite veneer. The east tower is capped with a gold-leafed statue of the angel Moroni, an ancient Book of Mormon prophet.
With its elegant, historical style, the Philadelphia Pennsylvania Temple indeed stands as a reminder of the area’s rich past, having been home to both Mormonism’s and America’s founding fathers.