By Kendra Evensen, email@example.com
IDAHO FALLS ‚ÄĒ The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints on Monday released another 60,000 free tickets for the open house of the newly renovated Idaho Falls Temple.
Officials say 160,000 tickets had been reserved as of Monday morning ‚ÄĒ 110,000 of those were claimed on the first day they became available ‚ÄĒ and continued interest prompted them to release even more just days before the event is set to officially begin.
The public open house will start Saturday and continue through May 20, excepting Sundays. Tickets are available at templeopenhouse.lds.org.
‚ÄúIt‚Äôs a very exciting season for members of our church as we contemplate the rededication of Idaho Falls, the dedication of Meridian and the construction and future dedication of the temple in Pocatello,‚ÄĚ said Elder Larry Y. Wilson, executive director of the Church‚Äôs Temple Department.
The completion of the Idaho Falls Temple, which has been closed since March of 2015, is particularly exciting to local members of the church.
The media and other guests were given a chance to tour the building on Monday.
JoAn Wood, who was 10 years old when the temple was originally dedicated in 1945, was among the guests.
‚ÄúI‚Äôm overwhelmed. It‚Äôs so much lighter,‚ÄĚ she said, adding that there appeared to be more windows than before and she was surprised to see how much work had been done on the building.
Inga DaBell, 96, who attended the temple‚Äôs first dedication and plans to be at the second, agrees.
‚ÄúIt‚Äôs beautiful work,‚ÄĚ she said, but added that it may take her a while to learn her way around the building again.
The 72-year-old Idaho Falls Temple has undergone extensive renovations over the past two years. Officials say they‚Äôve updated and replaced mechanical and electrical systems, made seismic upgrades and addressed other life safety issues. They‚Äôve also relocated some offices, and cleaned and restored the murals that can be seen throughout the building.
In addition, the temple includes four rooms for religious instruction, which also makes it unique when compared to newer temples. Wilson said the rooms ‚ÄĒ each a little higher and brighter than the one before ‚ÄĒ represent ‚Äúthe progress of our lives as we strive to return to Heavenly Father.‚ÄĚ
Members of the church go to temples, which they consider to be sacred, to learn more about the purpose of life and to make covenants to serve Jesus Christ and their fellow man, according to a news release.
‚ÄúTemples are considered ‚Äėhouses of the Lord‚Äô where Christ‚Äôs teachings are reaffirmed through marriage, baptism, and other ordinances that unite families for eternity,‚ÄĚ according to the news release.
Following the recent Easter celebration, Wilson noted that Christ went to the temple after His final triumphal entry into Jerusalem and before His crucifixion.
‚ÄúThe first thing he did upon entering Jerusalem was to go to the temple ‚ÄĒ it was that important to Him. And that‚Äôs how we regard it as members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints,‚ÄĚ Wilson said. ‚ÄúIt has a very central place in our lives as it did in His.‚ÄĚ