Thousands of Virginia Latter-day Saints celebrate the rededicated Washington D.C. Temple

UPDATED: AUGUST 15, 2022 AT 9:18 AM

WASHINGTON — President Russell M. Nelson of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has traveled for the first time since the pandemic to rededicate the Washington D.C. Temple.

The Washington D.C. Temple has been a landmark in the nation’s Capitol for nearly 50 years. It has been closed for more than four years through renovation and the pandemic.

On Sunday morning, thousands of Latter-day Saints filled the temple grounds to be part of the rededication with President Russell M. Nelson and his counselors, President Dallin H. Oaks and President Henry B. Eyring.

The Washington D.C. Temple was originally dedicated in 1974. And President Nelson was here by special invitation.

“I was at the first dedication at the request of President Kimball to serve as the doctor available, if needed, for any of the General Authorities,” recalled President Nelson.

Nelson said he would never forget the feeling in the room as President Kimball dedicated the temple. Even though the temple has changed, Kimball’s spirit will be with him.

“The temple is different, and we’re different, but I still felt the Spirit of President Kimball with me,” President Nelson said.

Because of its prominence along Washington’s Capitol Beltway, nearly 350,000 visitors toured the temple during its Open House. Each room is refurbished and renewed.

Church leaders believe it has blessed and will bless so many.

“So much of what happens in the temple is symbolic,” said Sister Amy Wright of the Primary General Presidency. “But there is one thing that is absolutely literal, and it’s written on the outside of every single temple, House of the Lord.”

Church members are overjoyed about the rededication. Carole Andersen and her parents were here for the dedication in 1974.

“My dad reached over after the Hallelujah and put his hand on my hand and tied that eternal that we are,” said Paul Alden, Latter-day Saint. “I was just overwhelmed with family, the eternalness, what this all means to us.”

In just days, the doors of the Washington D.C. Temple will open for what Latter-day Saints consider to be sacred work.