Home News The Temple by the River: A reflection of the rededication

The Temple by the River: A reflection of the rededication

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Nearly 13,000 youth harmonized the lyrics to “High on the Mountain Top” to begin the youth cultural celebration at the Holt Arena in Pocatello, Idaho on Saturday, June 3.

With thousands of audience members and even more youth performers in attendance, President Henry B. Eyring of the First Presidency addressed the long-awaited celebration of the rededication of the Idaho Falls Idaho Temple two years after the construction for the temple commenced.

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“It is a privilege to be back in a place where the people are so dear to me,” President Eyring said. “God has shown his love for you and your families by placing a temple here. This is a celebration of light and unity in every footstep, every dance step and every music note.”

The cultural event showcased not only the talent of thousands of youth across southeastern Idaho, but a history of the Idaho Falls temple as well.

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NATHAN JONES | Scroll Photography

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Called “The Temple by the River: Reflections,” the performances included traditional Native American dance, dances reflecting the history of the Church in Idaho Falls, and a recreation of the trumpet quartet that played on the Mountain View Hospital rooftop at the temple’s first groundbreaking ceremony in 1939.

“I liked the finale because of the lights; because they seemed like stars,” said Madison Silcock, a teen from the Rigby Stake who performed in the event. “I loved everybody getting together; that doesn’t happen very often. All my friends — everybody I know performed alongside me.”

The tens of thousands of teens aged 12-18 came together from Idaho Falls, Blackfoot, Pocatello, Menan, Salmon and several other counties to practice and perform for Saturday’s event.

Linda Hearle, a member of the props crew for the event, said she drove from her home in Salmon, Idaho twice a month to practice moving the large props for Saturday’s celebration.

“Just thinking about the time and dedication that all of these kids put into practicing leading up tot the celebration tonight is astounding,” Hearle said. “There are over 13,000 youth performers here, and each of these families drove their kids from all over to be able to share and take part in something so special. These kids have been practicing every other week since January to be able to put on this performance.”

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NATHAN JONES | Scroll Photography

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Dubbed “not yet the place” by Brigham Young in the late 1800s, the Snake River Valley was considered too barren for the construction of a temple, and its residents grew accustomed to waiting, as initial construction for the Idaho Falls Idaho temple wasn’t announced until 1937 by President George Albert Smith.

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After two years of reconstruction, the members of the Idaho Falls Idaho temple district will be able to enter the temple once again, as the rededication ceremony followed the cultural celebration on Sunday, June 4.

“I’m excited to be able to go inside the temple now, because everyone in my family has gotten married there,” said Silcock, who wasn’t yet twelve when the temple closed for construction in 2015.

After the Idaho Falls Idaho Temple was rededicated by President Eyring, several BYU-I students waved their white handkerchiefs and sang the Hosanna Shout alongside the rest of the crowd following a dedicatory prayer.

“The white handkerchief was the coolest thing to see, but I think my favorite part was after the white handkerchiefs and after the temple had already been dedicated, when everyone is just singing,” said Brandan Motiuk, a junior studying healthcare administration. “It’s just the peak of the whole thing, that was just the coolest part of the whole experience,”

Brooke Holmes, a senior studying art, said the history of the temple was what made the rededication the most memorable.

“I thought it was interesting because I’ve been to three temple dedications before this one, and I think that because it’s a temple that’s already been through so many years of use, this dedication felt extra special,” said Holmes. “It’s had its history; even though it’s remodeled, it still has story behind it, and people have had experiences and sealings there.”

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The Idaho Falls Idaho temple, according to Deseret News, was the eighth temple to be dedicated by the Church when it was initially dedicated in 1945, but was closed to renovate the interior, which included upgrades to the mechanical and electrical systems and restorations of original murals.

“The dedicatory prayer made me appreciate temples more,” said Caroline Dougherty, a junior studying elementary education. “It mentioned blessing the people who come into the temple, for all of the people involved, for the youth of the Church that they can do their family history and bring those names to the temple so they’ll be blessed. I had never thought about it like that; at all temple dedications this prayer has been said, and we have those special blessings at every temple, wherever you may be in the world.”

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Idaho Falls Temple World Room | Mormon Newsroom

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According to postregister.com, over 160,000 reservations were made for public tours of the temple during it’s open house period, which lasted until May 20.

Brent Stout, a Rigby local and grandfather to two of the youth performers for Saturday’s cultural event, said his family has long awaited the rededication and reopening of the Idaho Falls temple.

“We just wanted to be here, it’s a wonderful occasion,” Stout said. “The performances were spectacular; I wouldn’t have missed it. I just love the temple, I know these kids will love it too.”

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