"For behold, I have accepted this house, and my name shall be here; and I will manifest myself to my people in mercy in this house."
The Winter Quarters Nebraska Temple was the first temple built in Nebraska.
The Winter Quarters Nebraska Temple is a sister building to the Snowflake Arizona Temple.
The Winter Quarters Nebraska Temple is one of three temples built in locations of historic significance for the early Church. (The other two temples are the Palmyra New York Temple and the Nauvoo Illinois Temple.)
The dedicatory services of the Winter Quarter Nebraska Temple were broadcast over the Church's encrypted satellite system to stake centers and Church facilities throughout North America.
Temple HistoryElder Hugh W. Pinnock of the Seventy and president of the North America Central Area presided at the groundbreaking ceremony for the Winter Quarters Nebraska Temple held at the temple site adjacent to a Church-owned pioneer cemetery in Historic Winter Quarters in Florence, a district of Omaha. Nearby is the Mormon Trail Center at Historic Winter Quarters, dedicated in 1997 by President Gordon B. Hinckley. Addressing the congregation prior to giving the dedicatory prayer, Elder Pinnock mused: "It would be impossible to discuss the Winter Quarters groundbreaking and the future temple to be located here without discussing Council Bluffs [Iowa] just across the [Missouri] river, the Mormon Battalion that was mustered there and that departed from that place. And yet, it's difficult talking about Council Bluffs without acknowledging Mt. Pisgah and Garden Grove, Iowa, which also provided temporary places of rest and consolidation for the saints as they left Nauvoo, [Illinois] and as we focus momentarily upon the many pathetic, painful problems the saints had encountered in Nauvoo which led to their expulsion.
We also see, in our mind's eye, the beautiful temple which stood there in Nauvoo and which is now being reconstructed. Or what about the glorious revelations and visitations that occurred in the temple at Kirtland [Ohio], where the Savior appeared along with Moses, Elijah and Elias? Or back still further to Palmyra [New York], where a young Joseph Smith knelt in a grove of trees and there communicated with the Father and the Son and, a little later, Moroni, and from that experience we have the remarkable Book of Mormon." In fact, Elder Pinnock said, the temple groundbreaking at Winter Quarters is in some ways a culmination of a broader chain of events that commenced with the recent temple groundbreaking in Palmyra and continued with the one in Nauvoo in October. "And now, here in Winter Quarters is the third historic site where a temple will be erected in these latter days, where members and non-members will be blessed to have a glorious temple erected on the very spot where we are today."
Elder Truman F. Clawson, visitors center director, who conducted the services, referred to the bronze statue of a father and mother burying their child at Winter Quarters. "Now today," he said, "on this end of the hill, we will take shovels in our hands to dig not a grave but the foundation of a special building, a temple, to be built for the blessing of all who choose to enter that they may also bind together forever their families. And so, the magnificent view from here allows us to contemplate both the past with its dead and the future represented by the beautiful new temple which begins today."
Omaha Mayor Hal Daub also referred to the site. "I hope you felt as my wife, Mary, and I did as we approached this special place, that we indeed are gathered on a promontory, a prominent place, a hillside with its special history and its most significant view, a quiet place, indeed, a historic place," he said. "This promontory has a special significance to this church. It has a special significance to the city of Omaha. And so, on behalf of all the citizens of our community, I want you all to know how delighted we are, how excited we are about the progress that is being made here by the people of this church." He said it is a church "that is growing, that is full of life and vitality and holds hope and promise for the families and for the future of the Church's membership. The Church itself is headquartered in Salt Lake City, Utah, that destination for those who here traveled in 1846 and spent that terrible winter, [and the next year] traveled to that place that became the Church's city promised by God, leaving behind this place, now with the cemetery that is owned by the Church, a beautiful historical center that has been completed, and now the Winter Quarters Temple. So as historic as is this place, it will now become even more historic. And it is for that that those of us who are not members of the Church have great respect and admiration for the endeavors that have occurred and that are now about to occur. Florence is a beautiful place. This high promontory, as it sees the rolling river pass by it, bears the misery and the memory of so many who have been here and who are interred here. Let us always revere, let us always remember and let us recognize this temple will stand as a monument and testament to the good will of God and the peace and harmony of all mankind" (4 December 1999, Church News).
Announcement: 14 June 1999
Groundbreaking and Site Dedication: 28 November 1999 by Hugh W. Pinnock
Public Open House: 30 March–14 April 2001
Dedication: 22 April 2001 by Gordon B. Hinckley
Site: 1.92 acres.
Exterior Finish: Bethel white granite.
Number of Rooms: Two ordinance rooms and two sealing.
Total Floor Area: 16,000 square feet.
Dedicated 22 April 2001O God our Eternal Father, Thou Great Elohim, we bow before Thee in humility and with gratitude to dedicate this Thy holy house. The ground on which this sacred structure stands was hallowed a century and a half ago by the suffering of Thy Saints. Here they stopped temporarily, hundreds and thousands of them on both sides of the Missouri River, while moving westward from their homes in Nauvoo, or from the British Isles and Europe to the valley of the Great Salt Lake. Many of them died here and are buried in the cemetery adjacent to this holy house. Great were their trials. Tremendous their sacrifice.
by Gordon B. Hinckley
by Gordon B. Hinckley
As we meet together, we envision the wagons and the boats pulling in from the East and the South, while others were leaving these grounds to make the long march up the Elk Horn, along the waters of the Platte, up the valley of the Sweet Water, over the Continental Divide, and finally to the valley of the Great Salt Lake. All of this area, including Council Bluffs across the river and Florence on this side, was once a place of great industry. Here wagons and handcarts were built. Here oxen, cows, and other animals, seeds and plants were gathered together to move to the West. There was, at times, much of levity here. There was also much of sorrow.
Now the generations have come and gone. Our people left here. Then for reasons of employment they slowly returned. Today we have stakes and wards with large congregations. Songs of thanksgiving fill our hearts. Crowning all is the presence of a temple on this hallowed ground.
Acting in the authority of the holy priesthood in us vested and in the name of Jesus Christ, we dedicate this the Winter Quarters Nebraska Temple of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. We dedicate it unto Thee and unto Thy Son as Thy holy house for the accomplishment of Thy work. We dedicate the ground on which it stands, ground which has already been made holy by those who long ago were buried here. We make the cemetery a part of these grounds, together with all of the vegetation growing thereon. We dedicate the temple from the footings to the top of the steeple with its figure of Moroni.
We dedicate the walls and roof and pray that they may be strong and firm against the storms of nature.
We dedicate the interior of the building, the beautiful baptistry, the endowment rooms, the Celestial Room, and the sealing rooms with their sacred altars. We dedicate all of the halls and spaces and offices within this sacred structure. We pray that Thou wilt accept of them and that Thou wilt visit them with Thy holy presence. Let Thy Spirit dwell here and touch the hearts of all who enter these portals. Save this building from the hands of any disposed to mar or destroy. May it stand through the years as a place of holiness, a house sanctified unto Thee, a place of eternal ordinances.
We pray for all who will serve here, whether they be workers or patrons. May the hearts of all who live within this temple district turn to this sacred structure. May Thy people so live as to be worthy to labor here. We pray for those who will serve in the presidency of the temple and those in the office of matron and assistants to the matron. We pray for all who serve here in any capacity and ask that Thou wilt touch the hearts of Thy people with a great desire to come frequently to Thy holy house.
We thank Thee for faithful tithe payers throughout the world, whose contributions have made possible the construction of this and the many other temples now enjoyed by Thy people. Pour out Thy blessings upon the faithful Latter-day Saints wherever they may be. May blessings come down from heaven upon them. May their lives be enriched. May they be prospered in their affairs. May they be cradled in Thy strong arms as they walk in faith before Thee.
We thank Thee for the Prophet Joseph Smith to whom the temple ordinances were revealed. Let Thy blessings rest upon the Presidency of Thy Church, the Quorum of the Twelve, the Seventy, the Presiding Bishopric, and all who serve in any capacity whatever throughout the world.
Bless the officials of the City of Omaha, who have worked cooperatively with us in this sacred undertaking. Bless all of the citizens of the States of Nebraska and Iowa. Bless this nation of which we are a part that it shall remain ever free and that its people may always be blessed with liberty to worship according to the dictates of conscience.
Dear Father, accept of our thanks for every blessing. On this sacred and historic day, we resolve within our hearts to serve Thee with greater dedication. We ask it as Thy humble children with thanksgiving and gratitude in the name of Thy Beloved Son, even the Lord Jesus Christ, our Redeemer, amen.