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.