Oklahoma City Oklahoma Temple
In March 1999, Church members in Oklahoma learned that a Temple would be built in their area. Needless to say, the members were ecstatic that they would not have to travel the nearly 200 miles to the Dallas Texas Mormon Temple.
Years earlier, the Mormon Church had purchased land on which to build a meetinghouse. With the purchase of this land, the sellers donated an additional parcel of land. The meetinghouse was built and the members enjoyed using the additional land for social events and sports. When the members were asked in 1999 if they could give up their baseball field for a temple, tears flowed, and the excitement among the members was irrepressible.
The groundbreaking for the Oklahoma Mormon Temple took place on July 3, 1999, in Yukon, Oklahoma. During the groundbreaking ceremony local Church leader David Lawton spoke of the tornado that had devastated the area just two months earlier: “I feel, in looking back, that there was a great purpose of the Lord in the tornado: (1) It strengthened us – helped us all remember how temporary the things of this world are. [They are] not to be relied on, and (2) It… temper[ed] opposition to our Temple.”
Before the tornado there was a great deal of uncertainty and misunderstanding about the Mormons and their Church. But, after the devastating tornado, there were over 100,000 Mormons from Oklahoma and neighboring states who gave aid to those families, businesses, schools and churches in need. Those in the Mormon Church who gave help in the community caused others to view the Mormons in a different light.
Although it was devastating, many local members of the Mormon Church agreed that the tornado helped prepare the way for the Oklahoma Temple to be built in that community. Church leaders were able to move forward with the building of the Temple without any substantial difficulty or resistance.
The Oklahoma Temple open house began on July 15, 2000, with over forty thousand visitors touring the Temple in the seven-day period. Organizers experimented with having half of the tours self-guided and the other half with a guide. They found out quickly that the guided tours were more successful and soon arranged for all tours to be assisted by a guide. In the end, fifteen hundred copies of the Book of Mormon were placed and they received thirty-eight missionary referrals. The guided tours were so successful that they were used for future open houses in the Mormon Temples. President James E. Faust, first counselor in the First Presidency, dedicated the Oklahoma City Oklahoma Temple on July 30, 2000. In the dedicatory prayer, President Faust said, “We pray for Thy cause and kingdom, that it may grow stronger in this community. May all who have favored Thy cause be blessed for that which they have done. May many continue to seek for knowledge concerning Thy work until they have embraced Thy restored gospel…May none of evil intent enter the portals of Thy house. May the defiling hand of the vandal and the destroyed be kept from the exterior. May all who pass this way recognize Thy temple as a sacred and beautiful structure built unto Thy Holy Name.”
12030 N MUSTANG RD
YUKON OK 73099-9801
12005 Wickford Place
Yukon, Oklahoma 73099-8182