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March 11, 1956 by David O. McKay
Location: 10777 Santa Monica Blvd.; Los Angeles, California (atop a hill near Westwood Village, two miles west of Beverly Hills)
Site: Stands on 13 of the original 24.23 acres purchased from the Harold Lloyd Motion Picture Company on March 23, 1937, by President Heber J.Grant.
Exterior Finish: Covered with 146,000 square feet of Mo-Sai stone facing, a mixture of crushed quartz and white Portland cement quarried in Utah and Nevada. The wainscot around the exterior is Rockville granite from Minnesota.
Temple Design: Modern single spire design.
Number of Rooms: Four ordinance rooms and ten sealing.
Total Floor Area: 190,614 square feet.
Current Temple Schedule: Los Angeles Temple Schedule
Dedicatory Prayer Excerpt: "This edifice, as eleven other temples dedicated to Thy holy name, is a magnificent monument testifying to the faith and loyalty of the members of Thy Church in the payment of their tithes and offerings. Not only the building of temples is thus made possible in different parts of the world, but also the proclaiming of the restored gospel, and the carrying out of Thy purposes by the building of chapels, tabernacles, and recreation halls wherever needed by churches organized in many lands and climes. In this respect, we invoke Thy blessing particularly upon Thy people and their friends in this temple district who have so willingly and generously contributed their means, time, and effort to the completion of this imposing, impressive house of the Lord. May each contributor be comforted in spirit and prospered a hundredfold!"
Following World War I, many Chruch members moved to California to
find better employment opportunities. They were anxious for the time when
a temple would be in their midst. As Church membership continued to mushroom
in southern California, it became apparent that a temple should be erected
there. President Heber J. Grant personally participated in the search for
a temple site in Los Angeles. He was there for an entire month early in
1937 for that very purpose. A short time later on March 6th, the announcement
was made that the Church had purchased a twenty-four-acre parcel of land
on Santa Monica Boulevard in West Los Angeles from the motion picture actor
Harold Lloyd for $175,000. President Grant was enthusiastic about the purchase.
He later told President J. Reuben Clark that "we have the best site in
the entire country"; he planned to contribute at least $2,500 himself.
The Saints excitedly urged that work be started immediately on the
temple. However, the First Presidency wisely sent a letter just two weeks
after the announcement reminding the Saints that "the Lord has sometimes
in the past delayed the beginning of the work of building a temple . .
. that people might come to an adequate appreciation of the spiritually
high purpose toward which their efforts were directed." A group of architects
were assigned and prelimanary plans were made, but World War II brought
planning to a halt. The Saints would indeed wait patiently for their temple.
On January 17, 1949, President George Albert Smith, the new president of the Church, announced to a group of southern California Church leaders that the time had arrived to build the temple. President Smith appointed Edward O. Anderson, a member of the pre-war committee, to be the sole architect for the temple. Because of the large increase of membership in California, President Smith also directed that the design be altered to accomodate three hundred rather that two hundred persons per session. Such alterations would make this the largest temple that the Church had ever built up to that time exceeding the size of even the Salt Lake Temple. By December 1950, the General Authorities had approved the enlarged design for the Los Angeles Temple. It featured Mayan architecture with plantings on the roof, around the large reflecting pool, and inside of the building Due to the death of President Smith, groundbreaking was delayed while the new first presidency was organized. Under his direction, President David O. McKay turned the first spade of dirt. He had to "soften it up" for the other authorities present who found the ground to be quite hard. "Observing with an avid interest each phase of the work." During one such trip, President McKay informed Edward O. Anderson and President Benjamin L.Bowring (the newly appointed temple president) "that [the statue of the Angel Moroni] was not correct in [its] position. He said that the angel must face east. He asked Brother Anderson to have it adjusted so that it would face due east" rather than southeast like the temple did. The statue become an item of conversation in the neighborhood. One neighbor chided that she "certainly never would be interested [in learning more about the Church] until the angel faced her home." Then one morning she awoke to discover the angel was indeed "looking directly at her place." Another neighbor said that "she had a sense of security that she had never felt before" since the angel on the spire watched over her home while her husband was away on business trips. When the temple neared completion, the grounds were beautifully landscaped with trees and plants from all over the world. Inside, the large ordinance rooms featured beautiful murals. The artist appointed to paint a mural of the Savior's baptism in the baptistry came to President McKay one day and said, "I cannot paint the Savior's face to my satisfaction. I need to know his complexion and coloring." The prophet, without hesitation, described the Savior's features to the artist. After years of struggle, the temple was finally formally dedicated on March 11, 1956. It was dedicated in eight beautiful sessions that were for the first time broadcasted from the Celestial Room to other parts of the Temple.
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