McAllen Temple Opens to the Public for Free Tours
Open house runs from August 25 through September 9
By Jim Brunson
McALLEN – For members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, the long-awaited day of having a temple in the Rio Grande Valley has finally arrived. While there are many meetinghouses throughout the Valley where the Church’s congregations meet for Sunday worship services, this is the first Latter-day Saint temple to be constructed south of San Antonio.
Church leaders from Salt Lake City arrived in McAllen this week to extend the invitation to everyone to come and see the temple. All are welcome, they said, “We hope you will feel peace and God’s love for us as you visit the House of the Lord.”
During his visit to the temple, Elder Adyinka A. Ojediran, a General Authority Seventy and member of the Temple Department Executive Committee, invited the public to come for a free tour during the open house of the newly completed McAllen Texas Temple, located at 300 W. Trenton Rd. (Trenton and 2nd Street), in McAllen.
The open house runs from Friday, August 25, through Saturday, September 9, excluding Sundays. Open house tours will be held Mondays through Fridays, 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. and Saturdays, 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. Tours last approximately 50 minutes, including a short video explaining the purpose of temples.
Elder Ojediran explained, “The House of the Lord is where members of the church come to learn about God and His Son Jesus Christ and the plan of God for all of His children.”
Area Seventy Elder Art Rascon said, “The temple is about learning and growing and receiving instruction so we can grow closer to our Savior Jesus Christ. That is the purpose of the temple. It is to do things that will bring us closer to Christ by making promises to God.”
Elder Jose L. Alonso, of the Area Presidency of the North America Southwest region, added, “The temple is the House of the Lord. It is an expression of His love for everyone…. The temple itself is an invitation from the Savior to come and seek Him.”
The 27,897 square foot McAllen Texas Temple is built on a 10.61-acre site with a separate new meetinghouse built alongside the temple. The design of the temple is inspired by citrus crops grown in and around McAllen, as well as Spanish colonial architecture found in the area. Among the patterns featured are citrus blossoms, barbed quatrefoils, scrolls and ribbons.
Latter-day Saint temples differ from the meetinghouses where members meet for Sunday worship services. Temples are considered “houses of the Lord” where Christ’s teachings are reaffirmed through sacred ordinances that unite families for eternity. Inside, members learn more about the purpose of life and make promises to serve Jesus Christ.
The McAllen Texas Temple is the 183rd operating temple of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and is the fifth in Texas, joining Dallas, Houston, San Antonio, and Lubbock. Three more Texas temples are planned in Austin, Fort Worth, and Prosper. More than 130 additional temples are planned around the world and are in various stages of construction.
After the open house, the temple will be formally dedicated by Elder Dieter F. Uchtdorf of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles on October 8. People of all ages and faiths are welcome to enter and tour the temple during the open house. After the temple is dedicated, entrance into the temple is reserved for members of the Church who have committed to live the gospel of Jesus Christ and are ready to participate in further sacred ordinances.
Design Features of the McAllen Temple
While each temple of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints includes specific rooms and areas necessary for the purposes of the temple, the design of each temple is unique and typically includes architectural and design features that reflect the local area.
McAllen Temple Design
The design of the temple is inspired by citrus crops grown in and around McAllen as well as Spanish colonial architecture found in the area. Many of these patterns feature citrus blossoms, barbed quatrefoils, scrolls, and ribbons.
Blue colors used in the temple’s design are reminiscent of bluebonnets, which are the state flower of Texas, and the nearby Gulf of Mexico. The gold and green colors bring to mind other elements of the Texas landscape.
SPIRE: The temple’s height to the top of the dome is 98 feet; to the top of the spire, 108 feet.
EXTERIOR ART GLASS: The art glass was designed by Bovard Studio Inc. of Fairfield, Iowa, in conjunction with VCBO Architecture. Holdman Studios in Lehi, Utah, fabricated the art glass.
LANDSCAPING: The landscape architect is Heffner Design Team, located in McAllen, Texas.
FENCES AND WALKWAYS: Fences and walkways use concrete and fabricated pavers designed by VCBO Architecture. Standard Ameristar fencing was used to comply with temple specifications.
FLOORING: Soft-gold broadloom carpet, designed by Mannington, is used in the general areas and instruction rooms. Wall-to-wall wool rugs are used in the celestial and sealing rooms. Area rugs are rendered in vibrant blues, golds, and greens.
The carpet carving is simple, limited to a single border around the perimeter of the celestial room, which reinforces the clipped corner shape that occurs in the ceilings and floors throughout the building.
The Crema Marfil, Simena, Cenia M, and Yellow River marble were quarried and fabricated in Spain. Scroll shapes reminiscent of Spanish colonial architecture are water-jet-cut into the baptistry font decorative border.
DECORATIVE PAINTING: The decorative painting patterns were designed by VCBO Architecture and installed by Dale Gierisch of Finessed Finishes Inc. Decorative painting is featured on the ceilings of ordinance spaces, the bride’s room, hallways, the entryway, waiting areas, and the celestial room.
INTERIOR ART GLASS: The interior art glass was designed by Bovard Studios in conjunction with VCBO Architecture and fabricated by Holdman Studios. Interior art glass is located in the doors into the celestial room, sealing rooms, baptistry and confirmation room and in a large viewing window into the baptistry font area.
MILLWORK: The recommend desk, altars and the proscenium arch in the instruction rooms feature a carved repeating pattern of barbed quatrefoils. Citrus blossoms are carved into the altars, reflecting the local landscape and agriculture. Millwork was fabricated by
Client’s Design in Woods Cross, Utah.
BAPTISMAL FONT RAILINGS: The patterns in the font railings are citrus blossoms, to reflect the local landscape and agriculture, and scrolls that exemplify the Spanish colonial style of the temple. The railings were fabricated by Smith Design of Gunter, Texas, out of glass and bronze with an antique brass finish.
DOORS AND HARDWARE: The doors are made of mahogany, and the door hardware is bronze with an antique bronze finish. Masonite International of Tampa, Florida, fabricated the doors. Decorative hardware was manufactured by Luna Bronze, located
in Heber City, Utah.
CEILINGS: In the celestial room, glass-fiber-reinforced gypsum is used for the barrel-vaulted ceiling, fabricated by Architectural Mall Inc. of Fort Worth, Texas. Crown moldings can be found throughout, fabricated by Client’s Design. They are finished with paint, decorative paint and gold leaf.