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Today, on the first day of a public open house for the new Draper Utah Temple of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, thousands of people have or will tour the new temple.
Tours began at 8:00 this morning. Everything appears to be running smoothly. The reason may be that the crowds that early were smaller and all of the volunteers had an opportunity to learn while doing on this first day.
Church leaders told church members in Draper to expect nearly a million visitors over a eight-week period.
To usher a million people through, some 32,000 Latter-day Saints are volunteering to help. They are directing traffic, bus guides, greeters, tour guides inside the temple and hosting the guests with refreshments after their tours.
The volunteers say they want to share their temple with as many people as possible.
The volunteers are very organized. Temple open-house volunteer Paul Brumm said, "I have a walkie-talkie, and that's for if a bus driver gets lost or if we have to call security, so we have some way to communicate. Then we also have signs, and we have red, green and blue signs, and there's three different parking lots, and I'm in the green parking lot and that let's people know which bus to get back on."
Linda Campbell is on the Draper open house "cookie Brigade." She said, "We're just serving cookies to the people who come through the temple, and so we loaded them up and the éclairs as well, and what a great opportunity. Yesterday, my husband and I were up skiing at Snowbird, and today I'm serving cookies at this beautiful temple, so it's really an honor."
Visitors who are taking tours begin at church meeting houses in Draper. Tour buses take them to the temple. Once they finish the tour, they're taken next door to an LDS stake center, where they will find artwork, music more information about the Church and refreshments.
Everyone we spoke with said they were having a good experience.
Melba Turner said, "We had our son get on the Internet and get us some tickets for this morning. It's great. I really thought it was beautiful."
Draper resident Garret Reynolds said, "It was awesome. It was a beautiful temple. I think it's just one of those one-time things. You just don't get to do that kind of stuff every day. So it was a great opportunity, and I loved it. I don't know what else to say. The spirit you felt in there was awesome."
Tickets are still available at www.lds.org/reservations or by calling 1-800-537-6181 or 801-240-7932. Tours of the temple will be available on Mondays from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Tuesdays to Saturdays from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m.
Tours run through March 14. The temple will be dedicated March 20.