Journalists get inside look at Washington D.C. Temple after years of curiosity

Apr 20, 2022, 3:43 PM | Updated: Jun 10, 2022, 11:58 pm

WASHINGTON, D.C.For the last 50 years, thousands of people have driven by the Washington D.C. Temple every single day.

And as The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints invites everyone to “come and see” the inside of the temple, the outside is still turning heads.

The traffic is heavy, the brake lights are all sorts of lit up. And if you have never experienced the 495 Beltway in D.C., word is driving distracted, well, it’s kind of a thing.

“If you are from this area, it’s famous,” said John Kelly.

“Oh, look, that’s the Disney castle,”

“And the way the temple is situated, it seems to float above these trees,” Kelly added.

Kelly has lived in D.C. the past few decades. And if you’re curious about his day job, he’s a metro columnist at The Washington Post.

He’s taken an interest in the temple, the interstate, and the two words periodically gracing this underscoring bridge.

“Seeing this bridge, seeing the temple looming behind the bridge, and seeing ‘Surrender Dorthy’ painted on the bridge,” Kelly said.

After doing a little digging, Kelly discovered the original graffiti wasn’t even graffiti at all. In 1974, a group of high school girls allegedly went through the original D.C. temple open house. And on a whim, Kelly says, “They put wadded up newspaper that spelled out, ‘Surrender Dorothy.'”

Made use of the chain link fence lining that interstate bridge.

“For some people, it reminds them of that scene in ‘The Wizard of Oz’ where the Emerald City looms in the distance, and that was the inspiration for these girls to put ‘Surrender Dorothy’ underneath it,” Kelly said.

“It’s funny, but no, this is truly a place worth experiencing if you have the experience to come and view it,” said Deja Ross, assistant photo editor with the Washingtonian magazine.

Ross is a producer, photographer, editor, and one of the first journalists to experience the inside of the newly-renovated temple.

“We came for one reason, but I know myself, I left with another experience that I didn’t necessarily come looking for,” Ross said.

As with most journalists, Ross had a number of questions surrounding the doctrine of what takes place inside these walls. And while initially disappointed this professional photographer couldn’t take her own photos, she said, “It’s something that I feel, in these moments, words are better than a photo, because the photo doesn’t do, and wouldn’t do, justice what I experienced today.”

And what Ross experienced in her own words was a sense of peace, serenity, and a calmness the temple doesn’t always offer at freeway speeds.

“I’m hoping when I go back home, and hopefully the traffic isn’t too bad, but I hope this feeling stays and it’s something I know I’ll remember for a lifetime,” she said.

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Journalists get inside look at Washington D.C. Temple after years of curiosity