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BOISE, Idaho -- Renovation of the Boise Idaho Temple of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is complete, and the building will open for a month of public tours beginning Saturday.
The LDS Church expects thousands of people to visit the temple on opening day. The open house runs through Nov. 10, excluding Sundays.
"It is gorgeous, and so totally different than it was before the renovation," a local church member said after helping with preparations inside the temple one week ago. "People will be floored."
She called the building beautiful and said, "I didn't expect it to be that different."
The temple, originally built in 1984 and updated several times since then, closed in July 2011 for extensive renovations, which included a complete re-landscaping of the temple grounds and a redesign of the interior.
One very noticeable change is the exterior surface of the 35,000-plus square foot building.
During a tour for media Wednesday afternoon, Elder William R. Walker, Executive Director of the Temple Department, said the building's original gray marble was not in as good of shape as expected, so it was replaced with "Temple White" granite.
A new gold-leafed statue of the angel Moroni was placed atop the temple's highest spire in February.
Elder Walker pointed out that while the "footprint" of many rooms in the building is basically unchanged, all of the finishes are new. During renovation, the building was taken down to the concrete in many areas. "It was basically a total rebuild," he said.
Dark wood beams and trim, plus new marble have been added throughout the temple, and the interior now features a syringa flower (state flower of Idaho) and tree motif in the decor and art glass.
About 300 square feet were added by way of an entrance for the temple's baptistry. Inside, a new, large stained glass window and mural give the baptistry a "vibrant and rich" feeling, according to one visitor.
The Boise Temple website states, "Temples are used solely for the performance of sacred ordinances and religious instruction aimed at strengthening members' relationships with God, their family and others around them."
Elder Walker said when worthy church members attend the temple, "We're reminded of Heavenly Father's plan for us. We recommit ourselves to do what we espouse as Christians and as members of the church."
Following the open house, the temple will be rededicated Nov. 18.
"For the 100,000 Mormons in the area, this will be a place of spiritual refreshment," he added.
The Boise Temple is the LDS Church's 27th operating temple of 140 worldwide. Others in Idaho are located in Twin Falls, Idaho Falls, and Rexburg.
A fifth temple announced for Meridian, Idaho is currently in the planning phase.