Oakland Temple Open House

The public open house for the newly renovated Oakland Temple will start this Saturday, May 11th and run through June 1st. The Church has put together a short video showcasing some of the renovations. I have never been inside the Oakland Temple, but after seeing this video, I’ve put it on my places to visit list. I did have the chance to stop and visit the grounds about 20 years ago. The view out across San Francisco Bay from the hill where the temple sits is stunning. The interior is also stunning and a testimony to the careful attention and detail that goes into each temple. The temple truly is a house of God.

A friend who lives in Northern California related an funny anecdote about this temple to me recently. In the late 1970s and early 80s, the United States was going through an energy crisis, private citizens were encouraged to conserve energy by turning off unneeded lights in their homes. Even public and government buildings, and churches were encouraged to turn off their outside lighting to help the cause. The temple lights on the Oakland Temple were not lit for a time. Then there was a call from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to the church. “Can you please turn the temple lights back on? Pilots are getting lost as they come into the bay area airports.” Turns out the FAA had the Oakland Temple listed as a visual marker for directions. It’s still that way today — the Temple shining as a physical marker for airplanes and ships and spiritual marker for us on the way home.

3 thoughts on “Oakland Temple Open House

  1. The Washington D.C. temple had a similar role in aviation. Standing, as it does, at the top of the 495 beltway and almost due north of Reagan National Airport, it soon became a beacon for pilots. Like the Oakland Temple, the effect of the lit up drama of distinctive architecture was enhanced by the surround of parkland and parking lot which limited other major structures for some distance. I was living in the DC area at the time the FAA requested the Temple to keep the lights on.
    I visited the Oakland Temple a few years ago and I was told that many bridal couples come to the grounds surrounding the temple to have their wedding pictures taken because of the view of the bay and the lovely gardens.

  2. Oakland is my temple and I’ve heard the story about the temple lights my entire life (I’ve also heard it’s not factual, so no idea what is true and what isn’t).

    Pat is also right. During good weather, the grounds have rotating limousines dropping off and collecting non-LDS bridal and quinceañera parties for photos. It must have just become the thing to do in local cultures, and I hope it continues. It’s lovely to see them in all their finery.

    It’s interesting watching the re-dedication unfold. On the day of the re-dedication church is being cancelled and the dedicatory sessions are being broadcast to the local buildings (at three different times that day). And of course the pressure is on to get everyone to volunteer. Our stake is several hours (of bay area traffic) away and the only way for members to fullfill the assigned dates/times is to take off work. From what I can tell the wealthier members are handling the assignments. It’s such an expensive place to live that a good portion of us aren’t in a position or don’t have the type of employment that allows one to do so.

  3. The thing I most recall about providing help for the Washington DC temple dedication was helping to make ‘skirts’ for the TV stands that were placed in each room to hold a large TV on which the dedication was broadcast. The idea of having the dedication of a local temple broadcast to nearby chapels, in some instances a considerable part of a state, came later.

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