Atlanta Temple Opens Doors after Weekend of Celebration, Rededication
- President Thomas S. Monson rededicated the Atlanta Georgia Temple in two sessions on May 1, 2011.
- The temple was closed for nearly two years to undergo extensive remodeling.
- Nearly 2,700 youth participated in a cultural celebration the night before the rededication.
“[The temple’s] light has been somewhat dimmed for nearly two years . . . [but] that light will return.” —President Thomas S. Monson
Following a weekend of cultural celebration and two Sunday sessions of rededication by President Thomas S. Monson, the Atlanta Georgia Temple opened its doors on May 3, 2011, for formal temple work to resume.
There were many expressions of gratitude at Saturday’s cultural celebration and during Sunday’s rededication sessions.
“It’s really hard to describe the feelings that you experience when you’re inside the temple with a prophet,” said Paula Watson, who attended the Sunday morning rededication session. “I was right there with [President Monson]. It’s very touching. The Spirit is just overwhelming. You feel peace. You feel love, but mostly gratitude that the temple has been rededicated and we can enter through its doors again.”
Anne Burns attended the rededication and said, “To our family it means togetherness forever.”
Those who participated in and attended the cultural celebration of the previous evening also commented on the spirit of the event.
Initially it started with a struggle, said Tony Parker, president of the Atlanta Georgia Stake, but then he added, “I’ve seen a magnificent change in regards to the way in which [the youth] embraced the opportunity to represent their state, their families, and their church.”
An atmosphere of excitement pervaded the Atlanta Civic Center, where more than 150 area congregations—2,700 youth—came together to sing, dance, and display the history and culture of Georgia.
Brooke Wolfgramm was able to be a part of the onstage action at the celebration. “My heart was on fire the entire time,” she said. “It was just so amazing to feel the Spirit … and [to know] that we had angels helping us.”
In attendance were President Thomas S. Monson, Elder M. Russell Ballard of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, and Elders Walter F. González and William R. Walker, both of the Seventy.
President Monson told those participating in the cultural celebration they would be blessed by the light that emanated from each of them, “the children of light.”
“The magnificent Atlanta temple, in this beautiful part of the country, will be rededicated in the morning,” he said. “It is, of course, the reason for this great celebration. Although … its light has been somewhat dimmed for nearly two years, tomorrow that light will return.”
The Atlanta Georgia Temple was originally dedicated on June 1, 1983, by President Gordon B. Hinckley (1910–2008), then a Counselor in the First Presidency. It closed on June 1, 2009, for extensive renovations, including complete replacement of the electrical, plumbing and HVAC systems, as well as the installation of an automatic fire sprinkler system.
Multiple aesthetic renovations were also made, such as the addition of new original art, hardwood from Brazil, stained glass, and landscaping.
More than 56,000 people toured the temple during the two-week open house prior to the rededication.
The temple serves more than 76,000 Latter-day Saints living in and around Georgia. Worldwide there are 134 operating temples, with another 26 announced or under construction.