Less than one year after President Gordon B. Hinckley announced the Church’s new undertaking of building small temples in places where relatively few members live, the first small temple was dedicated in Monticello, Utah, on Sunday, 26 July, with additional dedicatory sessions held the following day. Monticello is a town of about 2,000 residents located in southeastern Utah.
“Since the beginning of Thy work in this dispensation, Thy people have been commanded to build temples,” said President Hinckley in the dedicatory prayer. “Even in seasons of great poverty, they have struggled to erect these sacred houses. Now Thou hast made Thy will known and blessed us with the means to erect many more temples, smaller in size but complete in their necessary appointments. These will be convenient to Thy faithful Saints and will meet the needs of Thy growing Church throughout the world. This is the first of a new generation of such structures.”
A total of more than 8,000 people attended eight dedicatory sessions, which were held inside the temple and viewed via closed-circuit television by members gathered in two nearby meetinghouses. Before the first dedicatory session on Sunday morning, President Hinckley led a cornerstone-laying ceremony at which a choir of 60 members sang.
Other General Authorities participating in the dedication included President James E. Faust, Second Counselor in the First Presidency; Elder Joseph B. Wirthlin of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles; Elder W. Eugene Hansen of the Presidency of the Seventy and executive director of the Temple Department; and Elders Ben B. Banks, Dennis B. Neuenschwander, and Neil L. Andersen of the Seventy, who together serve as the Utah South Area Presidency. Also in attendance was the new temple presidency: Lisle G. Adams, temple president; L. Robert Anderson, first counselor and temple recorder; and Edwin D. Hawkins, second counselor and temple engineer.
Preceding the temple dedication, more than 20,000 people viewed the new edifice during an open house held 15–18 July. Less-active members and nonmembers felt inspired by the temple. Robin Ramsay of the Monticello Second Ward, Monticello Utah Stake, reported that after touring the building, one woman said, “I’m going to see what I have to do to get back in the Church.” She made an appointment with her bishop that night.
With less than half the square footage of the adjacent ward meetinghouse, the Monticello temple is topped by a statue of the angel Moroni. The temple has a celestial room, one 50-seat ordinance room, one sealing room, and a baptistry. Attendance at the temple is by appointment. The temple serves nearly 13,000 Latter-day Saints in five stakes: the Blanding Utah, Blanding Utah West, Durango Colorado, Moab Utah, and Monticello Utah Stakes.
“This is a beautiful building,” remarked President Hinckley. “It contains all the features necessary for the work of the Lord to be done in this holy house.”