Birmingham Alabama Mormon Temple
“A gift is of no value if it is not unwrapped. We need to unwrap it by coming to the temple, by using the temple, by getting the blessings that flow from it,” stated Elder Stephen West at the groundbreaking ceremonies of the Birmingham Alabama Mormon Temple.1
The importance of temples is emphasized in the Mormon Church and the Church strongly encourages its members to become worthy to attend the temple often. The Temple is a house of learning where eternal truths are taught. These truths help those attending to live a more Christ-like life.
When the Mormon Church announced the desire to build a Temple in Alabama, two sites were considered. Geological tests of the first site in Indian Springs revealed that the earth was too unstable for construction of this size. The second site was located, but again obstacles arose that prevented the project from being built. In April 1999, the Mormon Church decided that the Temple would be built in the suburb of Gardendale. The Church had purchased land in the early 1990’s to build a meetinghouse with excess land to spare. With the smaller Temples being announced by Presidency Hinckley, this land was quite adequate for an 11,000 square foot Temple. From groundbreaking to the dedication of the Temple, it took only eleven months to build.
The suburb of Gardendale is a very conservative community. Residents in the area are pro-active in regard to any negative influences that could invade their community. Needless to say, town leaders welcomed the Temple project, believing that the Mormon Church and its values would be assets to their community.
The residents showed incredible support of the Mormon Temple and the more than twenty-one thousand visitors during the week long open house. When a small group of activists demonstrated against the Temple’s presence, neighbors increased their support of the Temple. Many of the residents were disappointed by the lack of hospitality shown for the Church and its people. “It just seems in very poor taste,” said Ed Sellers of Gardendale, “If you don’t agree with them, then don’t go to their church.”2 Positive response continued from the community and media. One reporter wrote that, “Entering the sacred temple…visitors are greeted with open arms. A portrait of Jesus holding out his arms to welcome those [who enter], hangs on the wall.”2 A letter to the editor of another paper written by a Birmingham man, said, “Having lived for some 70 years and having had a number of next-door neighbors, I can truthfully tell you the Mormons are the best of neighbors you can ever expect to find.”
President Gordon B. Hinckley dedicated the Birmingham Alabama Temple on September 3, 2000. In his dedicatory prayer, President Hinckley asked:
“May the influence of this Thy house be felt throughout this great temple district. May the Church grow and prosper here…May this house ever remain holy and sacred unto all who enter herein. May Thy Spirit dwell here and touch the hearts of those who serve.”3
1927 Mount Olive Blvd
Gardendale, AL 35071
P.O. Box 945
Gardendale, Alabama 35071-0945
For more information on Mormon Temples please visit the following websites:
Teachings About Mormon Temples
USATODAY.com – Mormons open temple doors to share beliefs
Temple (Mormonism) – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
2 “The First 100 Temples”, by Chad Hawkins, 2001, p264
3 “Dedicatory Prayer”, Birmingham Alabama Temple