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MERIDIAN, Idaho — Members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints gathered Sunday to witness the cornerstone ceremony and dedication of the new Meridian Idaho Temple.
President Deiter F. Uchtdorf, second counselor in the church’s First Presidency (the highest leadership in the church), accompanied by his wife Sister Harriet Uchtdorf, led the symbolic cornerstone ceremony Sunday morning outside the newly completed 67,331-square-foot building.
“This is the Treasure Valley. It is truly a wonderful place to have a treasure like the house of the Lord,” President Uchtdorf said.
The temple is located in a city that lies on the Boise Meridian, one of the principal meridians in the U.S. used to govern land surveys.
President Uchtdorf said the temple is a jewel in the heart of the area. He also referenced his experience as an aviator and talked of the importance of meridians in navigation.
“When we look at the terrestrial navigation, which we find with the help of the meridians around this globe, we are also guided towards the celestial navigation,” the things outside of earth's sphere, he said.
He called the temple “a wonderful spot in our life, in our existence, where we can focus our celestial navigation way beyond this life, on the values and the purpose, and everything given to us by the Lord, through the House of the Lord.”
Other church leaders and their wives who participated in the cornerstone ceremony included Elder D. Todd Christofferson of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles and his wife, Sister Katherine Christofferson; Bishop Gérald Caussé, Presiding Bishop of the church and his wife, Sister Valérie Caussé; Elder Ulisses Soares of the presidency of the Seventy and his wife, Sister Rosana Soares; Elder Kevin R. Duncan of the Seventy and his wife, Sister Nancy Duncan; and Elder Edward Dube of the Seventy and his wife, Sister Naume Dube.
Several children from the audience also added cement to the border of the cornerstone.
The cornerstone ceremony signifies that construction is complete and the temple is ready to be dedicated for sacred use by worthy church members. The Meridian Temple will serve about 60,000 Latter-day Saints in the Boise area and eastern Oregon.
Following the cornerstone ceremony, President Uchtdorf officially dedicated the building during three meetings inside the temple that were broadcast to LDS meetinghouses throughout the temple district. Dedication ceremonies include a prayer dedicating the building for church use, talks from various church leaders and music from a choir.
The Meridian Temple is the church’s 158th operating temple worldwide. It’s the fifth in Idaho, with others in Rexburg, Idaho Falls, Twin Falls and Boise. Another temple is planned for Pocatello.
More than 208,000 people toured the building during a three-week public open house that began in late October and ran through last weekend, according to a church news release.
The day before the dedication, LDS youth from the area put on a musical production, “Be Strong, Steadfast and Immovable,” at the Taco Bell Arena in Boise. It featured a 1,100-voice choir and 4,900 dancers depicting the history and culture of the Treasure Valley.
“Wherever you go, ... because of your faithfulness and your dedication to the Lord you are a treasure to the people around you," President Uchtdorf told the youth. “We will return and report to President Monson that here in the wonderful Treasure Valley is a great treasure of young people of heaven.”