Nauvoo temple visitors surpass 140,000
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NAUVOO, Ill. Open-house visitors to the new Nauvoo Illinois Temple have edged past the 100,000 mark since the doors were opened to the public on May 6. As of May 28, a total of 142,291 visitors had toured the new edifice built on the same footprint and faithfully replicating on the exterior the temple constructed by the early Latter-day Saints and finished just prior to the beginning of their westward exodus in 1846.
Among those touring the interior of the temple have been descendants of William Weeks, the architect who designed the original 1840s temple under the direction of the Prophet Joseph Smith. Joining them was Vern Thacker, who, while serving as a missionary in Boron, Calif., in 1948, met Leslie Griffin, a descendant of William Weeks. Mr. Griffin gave the architectural plans for the temple, which had been handed down in his family from architect Weeks, to Elder Thacker and asked him to convey them to the Church. Later, other members of the William Weeks posterity joined the Church.
In the exterior design of the new temple, the architectural firm of FFKR relied on the William Weeks plans that had been conveyed to the Church via Brother Thacker. "Our charge was to make it as exactly like the original building on the outside as we physically could," said Roger Jackson of FFKR. "The plans given to the Church have been useful in the reconstruction effort.
Brother Thacker and the William Weeks' descendants toured the temple on May 8. Brother Thacker commented: "I felt kind of a tingling in the fingers. It was exciting to realize that the outside of the building was the direct result of these plans."
As the open house period moves into the summer season an estimated quarter-million more people are expected to view the temple, for a total of some 350,000. The open house concludes June 22. Four days of temple dedication sessions will follow June 27-30, with the first one coinciding with the anniversary of the martyrdom of Joseph and Hyrum Smith in 1844.
Tickets are required for the open house and must be obtained in advance. For ticket availability, please see the Church Web site at www.lds.org/nauvoo, or call 1-800-537-8907.
Open house visitors should be prepared to walk and climb several flights of stairs during the approximately 45-minute tour of the temple. Wheelchairs, elevators and other accommodations are available for people with disabilities.