Atlanta Georgia Mormon Temple
The First Presidency of the Mormon Church announced the building of the Atlanta Georgia Mormon temple on April 2, 1980. With the temple’s completion it became the 21st operating Mormon temple worldwide. The Atlanta temple was the first Mormon temple to be built in the Southern United States, and it took some effort to obtain the property and building approval because of opposition in the area.
During the early days of Mormon history the Church had a strong membership in Georgia. Missionaries had been in Georgia as early as 1843, but when Joseph Smith was martyred in 1844, missionary work slowed and then stopped by 1846. A t that time, Mormon missionaries were asked to rejoin the main body of members in Nauvoo. In 1878 Mormon missionaries returned to Georgia and missionary work met with some success. Rome and Axson Georgia were often referred to as “Little Utah” by many of the people in the area. But the members and missionaries in the area were persecuted, and the missionary work in Georgia was stopped again after a mob killed Joseph Standing, one of the missionaries. Most of the members in the area moved West to Utah to be with the rest of the members of the Church.
In the 1890’s missionaries returned to Georgia, and by 1908, the first Mormon meetinghouse was built in Atlanta. By 1930 there were 4,000 Mormon members in Georgia. Missionary work continued, and in 1974 there were 12,360 members; 1980, 27,210 members; and in 1990 there were 41,595 members. Of missionary work in the South, President of the Church Gordon B. Hinckley stated,
“In June we dedicated a new temple in Atlanta, Georgia. This was the culmination of a dream that began a century and more ago when, in the days of the poverty of our people, missionaries were first sent to the southern states. A few accepted their testimony, but many more rose in bitterness against them. These early missionaries endured much persecution. Some were stripped and beaten; some were murdered by hateful enemies. But with faith they persevered. Eventually, thousands upon thousands joined the Church, and today the work is strong and growing in that beautiful part of the nation where we now have hundreds of faithful congregations of Latter-day Saints.”
A groundbreaking ceremony and site dedication were held on March 7, 1981. The ceremony was presided over by Spencer W. Kimball, the President of the Church at the time. The temple site is 5.9 acres. The original design of the temple did not include a spire, but as construction progressed, a spire and ten-foot angel Moroni statue were added to the plans.
The Mormon temple was open for public tours May 3rd through the 21st 1983. Those who were able to tour the 35,360 square foot temple saw the four ordinance rooms, Celestial room, five sealing rooms, and baptistry, and were able to learn more about Mormon beliefs related to the temple.
Gordon B. Hinckley dedicated the Atlanta, Georgia temple on June 1-4, 1983. This was the first temple where the cornerstone ceremony became a part of the dedicatory services. Now this is done with all of the newly built temples. Gordon B. Hinckley rededicated the baptistry of the Atlanta temple on November 14, 1997. The Atlanta Temple serves 50,000 members in 12 stakes from Georgia and Alabama.
Renovation and Rededication
The Atlanta Georgia Temple was closed 1 July 2009 for renovation. Among the changes was the addition of large windows in the celestial room, adding more natural light, and art glass windows in other parts of the temple.
- “This renovation included complete replacement of the electrical, plumbing and HVAC systems, as well as the installation of an automatic fire sprinkler system. Work was also done to assure more complete functionality for the disabled. In addition to the technical improvements, new appointments include rich eucalyptus hardwood from Brazil, original art, Swarovski crystal chandeliers, 45 new art-glass panels, etched carpets and added windows for increased natural light. The exterior of the temple remains mostly unchanged, with some new landscaping.” 
Since the temple has been renovated, it was rededicated as a House of the Lord. Before the rededication, the temple was opened to the public for tours. The open house was scheduled from Saturday, 9 April 2011, until Saturday, 23 April 2011, excluding Sundays. The temple was formally rededicated on Sunday, 1 May 2011 in two sessions by Mormon Prophet Thomas S. Monson. Both of the rededicatory sessions were broadcast to congregations of the Church within the temple district.
There was also a cultural celebration featuring music and dance on Saturday, 30 April 2011. The cultural celebration was held at the Atlanta Civic Center. Youth performers from 150 area congregations danced, sang and presented a visual display of Georgia history and culture in “Southern Lights.” Two thousand seven hundred young people participated in the celebration, mastering challenging dance and musical numbers. Other Church leaders were in attendance, including Elder M. Russell Ballard, Elder Walter F. González and Elder William R. Walker.
6450 Barfield Road NE
Sandy Springs, Georgia 30328-4283
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