A popular tourist attraction and visitor site, the 72,000-square-foot temple was dedicated on April 30, 1993 as the 45th temple erected by the Latter-day Saints worldwide. More than 700,000 visitors have toured its scenic grounds since. Multiple weddings and baptisms are held at the temple each week.
After so much traffic, church officials have decided the building could use a spruce-up.
Renovations include cleaning the exterior, repair of the roof and towers, and re-caulking seams on the exterior white aggregate stone and stucco. The traditional golden Angel Maroni, which is featured in most LDS temples, crowns the east spire and will be removed for cleaning and refinishing.
Elder L. Whitney Clayton of the church’s First Quorum of the Seventy said in a press statement that the scaffolding was necessary across the entire structure “to allow workmen to get close enough to work on various projects.” Clayton supervises the church’s California programs.
“We are aware that many people in the San Diego area love this beautiful structure and this maintenance project will allow it to continue to be a landmark for years to come,” Clayton said.
Allen Haynie, who manages regional public affairs and who presides over the Escondido South Stake — which is comparable to a parish — said only members with certificates of good behavior may enter the temple to witness the variety of ordinances, or rites to benefit individuals and their ancestors, performed Tuesdays through Saturdays. However, the public is permitted to tour the exterior grounds. Services are held not at the temple but at chapels, a number of which are scattered throughout the area, and are open to members of the public who wish to attend. Currently, 133 temples operate worldwide, according to the LDS website, www.lds.org.
Each LDS temple is constructed in a different style, usually one that is consistent with the surrounding culture and architecture, Haynie said. The San Diego temple features a two-spire design with four smaller spires at the base of each. The building has four ordinance rooms and eight sealing rooms, which are used to perform marriage ceremonies.
“One of the doctrines central to LDS theology is that the family relationship is external,” Haynie said. “When we speak of marriage, the term we use is ‘sealed,’ not married. The intention is to allow the husband and wife to enter a covenant and maintain a relationship that is beyond this life.”
Inside the San Diego temple, a lush garden nestles within a star-shaped atrium connecting two towers, and a celestial room houses towering art glass, suspended light fixtures, and a grand staircase to the upper-level balcony. These features, Haynie said, serve a decorative rather than functional purpose.
While the renovations are under way, programs and events will continue as usual. Wedding parties can have their photographs interposed onto digital images of the temple since the scaffolding interferes with traditional photos.
Haynie estimated the renovations would be complete no later than mid-August, and added that some areas have already been finished and the scaffolding removed.
The San Diego temple serves all of San Diego County in addition to Temecula and areas of Mexico, Haynie said.
To learn more about LDS history and culture, Haynie recommends the San Diego Mormon Battalion, a historical site located in Old Town that offers free daily tours. The site offers a “top of the line” experience chronicling several hundred LDS members who were driven out of Illinois and who formed a voluntary unit to help fight during the Mexican-American War in the 1840s, he said.
For more information on the San Diego temple, call (858) 622-0991, or visit www.lds.org/temples. For information about the San Diego Mormon Battalion, call (619) 298-3317.