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Journalists Visit Reconstructed Temple

Photo 1: Elder Donald L. Staheli is interviewed by reporter

Photo 2: Reporters gather for news conference in Nauvoo

(NAUVOO, ILLIONOIS) -- May 2, 2002
More than 100 journalists toured the newly reconstructed Nauvoo Illinois Temple of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 156 years to the day after the original temple was dedicated in a public ceremony. Reporters got an advance look at the building prior to an open house for the public that is scheduled from 6 May to 22 June.

Elder Donald L. Staheli, president of the Church's North America Central Area, welcomed media representatives to Nauvoo, a Mississippi River town in western Illinois that was a gathering place for pioneering Latter-day Saints during a seven-year period from 1839 to 1846. Elder Staheli explained that the purpose of the preview was to help journalists better understand "who we are and why we build temples and the important and sacred significance that they have to members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints."

Nauvoo Mayor Tom Wilson attended the preview. Elder Staheli expressed appreciation for all that Mayor Wilson and the Nauvoo City Council have done to work with the Church throughout the two and a half years of reconstruction, "This was an ambitious project for a small town like Nauvoo. And with all that is involved, we have found the relationship between the community and the Church to be excellent."

Mayor Wilson noted that visitors to the temple will bring additional revenues to Nauvoo businesses that depend heavily on travel and tourism. Elder Staheli concurred, pointing out that the beautiful reconstructed temple "will not only bring beauty, honor and attractiveness to this community, but we believe that the tourism and the visitors that will come here in coming years will be a great addition to this community."

When the original Nauvoo Temple was dedicated in a public ceremony on 1 May 1846, few Latter-day Saints remained in the city. Driven from their homes by religious persecution, many Church members of the time had already begun their arduous 1,300-mile trek to the Great Salt Lake Valley.

Richard E. Turley Jr., managing director of the Church's Family and Church History Department, explained that in Utah, the Latter-day Saints "would build another city and another temple. The two temples, this one in Nauvoo and the one built in Salt Lake City, are the beginning and ending points of the Mormon Trail and stand as monuments to those study pioneers who sacrificed greatly for their belief."

Turley added that for descendants of those pioneers, visiting Nauvoo's historic sites provides "a feeling of peace, a sense of closure, a spirit of healing today best symbolized by the new Nauvoo Temple a spirit of peace, a place of peace."

During the next few days, more than 2,200 invited guests and selected groups from surrounding communities will visit the temple before public visits begin on Monday, 6 May and continue through 22 June.