• 2022 Open House : April 28- June (Exc: Sundays)
  • 2022 Rededication : June 19, 2022.[1]

The Washington D.C. Temple (formerly the Washington Temple) is the 18th constructed and 16th operating temple of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church). It is located in Kensington, Maryland, United States, just north of Washington, D.C., near the Capital Beltway. The temple was dedicated in 1974 after an open house that attracted over 750,000 people, including several international dignitaries. The temple was the first temple built by the church east of the Mississippi River since 1846, when the original Nauvoo Temple was dedicated.

Built at a cost of about $15 million in 1968, the temple is the church's tallest; its easternmost spire is Template:Convert tall. Its floor area of Template:Convert is the third-largest among church temples. Its design emulates the Salt Lake Temple with six spires, three on each end, and the building is encased in white Alabama marble. It also has a visitors' center. The architecture and highly visible location of the temple along the Capital Beltway has made the temple a local landmark in the Washington, D.C. Metropolitan Area.



The temple and its surroundings

Plans to build the temple were announced on November 15, 1968; a groundbreaking ceremony was held on December 7.[2] Clearing of the land started May 28, 1971. The site chosen for the temple was a Template:Convert wooded hill purchased in 1962 just north of the Capital Beltway (Interstate 495).[3] Only Template:Convert of the site was cleared to give the area a more remote feeling. It was the first LDS temple since 1846 in the United States east of the Mississippi River and remained the only LDS temple in eastern North America until the dedication of the Atlanta Georgia Temple in 1983.[4][5]

At the time of the temple's completion, its district included all Latter-day Saint members in 31 U.S. states and the District of Columbia, seven Canadian provinces, Cuba, Haiti, Puerto Rico, the Bahamas, and the Dominican Republic.[6] Original cost estimates for the temple were about $15 million. Members of the church within the temple's attendance district were asked to contribute at least $4.5 million. Eventually, local members donated around $6 million for the temple's construction.[5]


Front view with main entrance

At a completion ceremony the church's First Presidency buried a metal box with historical items near a corner of the temple. During the first week of the temple open house, government officials and diplomats from around the world were taken on special tours through the temple. The open house continued for seven weeks and over 750,000 people went through the temple. The high number of people that attended the open house was attributed to the large amount of coverage that the temple and church received as the temple neared completion. Articles about the temple were printed in Time, Newsweek, and U.S. News & World Report. There was also a large press conference held that introduced the temple and church president Spencer W. Kimball. Demand for tickets to the open house was high and the tickets were gone before the first day of tours; times were extended to accommodate more people. Ten dedicatory sessions were held for the Washington D.C. Temple between November 19 and 22, 1974. Over 40,000 members attended the dedicatory services.[4][5]

During the 5.8 magnitude 2011 Virginia earthquake on August 23, 2011, the temple sustained minor damage to some parts of the exterior. The tops of four spires were knocked off and fell to the ground, as were several pieces of marble from the building's facade. No significant damage was reported to the temple's interior or to the neighboring visitor center. Repairs were made beginning in September of that year and no disruptions occurred in the temple's normal operating schedule.[7][8]

On February 23, 2017 the LDS Church announced that beginning March 2018, the temple will close for renovations that are anticipated to be completed in 2020. When the renovations are completed, a public open house will be held, followed by the temple being rededicated.[9]


The Washington D.C. Temple, designed by architect Keith W. Wilcox, was built with a modern six-spire design based on the design of the Salt Lake Temple, with the three towers to the east representing the Melchizedek priesthood, and the three towers to the west representing the Aaronic priesthood. The temple was designed to be similar in style and form to the Salt Lake Temple so that it would be easily recognized as a temple of the LDS Church.[10] The central eastern tower reaches a height of Template:Convert, the tallest of any LDS Church temple. The temple has a total floor area of Template:Convert, making it the third-largest church temple. The temple includes six ordinance rooms and fourteen sealing rooms. The Washington D.C. Temple's angel Moroni statue, which sits atop the tallest tower, is Template:Convert tall and weighs 2 tons.[4][5] The outer walls are covered in white Alabama marble and the spires are coated in 24-carat gold.[10] There are two large stained glass windows on the eastern and western-most spires. Although there appear to be no other windows, the marble was shaved to Template:Convert thick over window openings, thin enough to be translucent.[11]



Temple as seen from the Outer Loop of the Capital Beltway

The temple is located in suburban Kensington, Maryland, north of Washington, D.C. It is accessible mainly from the Capital Beltway (Interstate 495) exit 33, but also via the Red Line of the Washington Metro through a limited free shuttle service to and from the Forest Glen station.[12] The look and white color of the Washington D.C. Temple, coupled with its location near the Capital Beltway has made it a local landmark.[4][13] D.C.-area traffic reports often refer to the "Mormon temple" or "the temple".[14]

Sometime after the temple was constructed, an unknown person painted "Surrender Dorothy" on the girders of a railroad bridge that crosses the Beltway; to drivers approaching the temple from the east, the words appeared like a caption under the building.[15] The Maryland State Police removed the message, which has been repainted from time to time.[15][16] LDS newsletters have cited the graffiti as an example of misconceptions about their religion, although local Mormons generally find the re-appearing inscription amusing rather than offensive.[16][17]

Festival of Lights[]

File:Washington D.C. Mormon Temple Festival of Lights.jpg

Festival of Lights at the Washington D.C. Mormon Temple, 2014

Since 1978 the temple has annually hosted the Festival of Lights at the visitors' center, officially running from December 2 to January 1. The event attracts thousands of visitors who come to view millions of lights on the temple grounds. The festival features live performances by the Mormon Choir of Washington, D.C.; a public lighting ceremony; a narrated outdoor nativity scene; and nightly performances from various regional artists and musicians.[18] Each year, a different ambassador to the United States is invited as a guest speaker at the festival's opening lighting ceremony. For example, in 2011, J. W. "Bill" Marriott, Jr. and his wife, Donna, hosted Brazilian Ambassador to the United States Mauro Vieira, with L. Tom Perry of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles presiding.[19]

Temple District[]

The Washington D.C. Temple serves members from 36 stakes headquartered in Virginia, Maryland, Pennsylvania, and West Virginia:

District of Columbia[]

  1. Washington DC YSA Stake
  2. Washington DC Stake


  1. Annandale Virginia Stake
  2. Ashburn Virginia Stake
  3. Buena Vista Virginia Stake
  4. Buena Vista Virginia YSA Stake
  5. Centreville Virginia Stake
  6. Chesapeake Virginia Stake
  7. Fredericksburg Virginia Stake
  8. Gainesville Virginia Stake
  9. McLean Virginia Stake
  10. Mount Vernon Virginia Stake
  11. Newport News Virginia Stake
  12. Oakton Virginia Stake
  13. Pembroke Virginia Stake
  14. Richmond Virginia Chesterfield Stake
  15. Richmond Virginia Midlothian Stake
  16. Richmond Virginia Stake
  17. Roanoke Virginia Stake
  18. Stafford Virginia Stake
  19. Virginia Beach Stake
  20. Waynesboro Virginia Stake
  21. Winchester Virginia Stake
  22. Woodbridge Virginia Stake


  1. Annapolis Maryland Stake
  2. Baltimore Maryland Stake
  3. Columbia Maryland Stake
  4. Frederick Maryland Stake
  5. Seneca Maryland Stake
  6. Silver Spring Maryland Stake
  7. Suitland Maryland Stake


  1. Altoona Pennsylvania Stake
  2. Chambersburg Pennsylvania Stake
  3. Pittsburgh Pennsylvania Stake

West Virginia[]

  1. Clarksburg West Virginia Stake
  2. Martinsburg West Virginia Stake

Temple Presidents[]

Notable presidents of the temple include Franklin D. Richards (1983–1986); David S. King (1990–1993); F. Melvin Hammond (2005–2008); and Earl C. Tingey (2008–2011).

  1. Kent W. Colton 2014–
  2. Brian C. Swinton 2011–2014
  3. Earl C. Tingey 2008–2011
  4. F. Melvin Hammond 2005–2008
  5. J. Edward Scholz 2002–2005
  6. Sterling D. Colton 1999–2002
  7. Earl J. Roueche 1996–1999
  8. Ralph O. Bradley 1993–1996
  9. David S. King 1990–1993
  10. Thomas G. Bell 1988–1990
  11. Robert W. Barker 1986–1988
  12. Franklin D. Richards 1983–1986
  13. Wendell G. Eames 1978–1983
  14. Edward E. Drury 1974–1978

See Also[]


  1. Church announces 2022 rededication dates for Washington DC Temple
  2. Template:Cite web
  3. Template:Cite news
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 Template:Cite web
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 5.3 Template:Cite web
  6. Template:Cite news
  7. Template:Cite news
  8. Template:Cite news
  9. Template:Cite news
  10. 10.0 10.1 Template:Cite news
  11. Template:Cite news
  12. Template:Cite web
  13. Template:Cite web
  14. Template:Cite web
  15. 15.0 15.1 John Kelly, "'Surrender Dorothy' painted on a Beltway overpass — what’s the story?", Washington Post, June 24, 2011.
  16. 16.0 16.1 Template:Cite news
  17. Template:Cite news
  18. Template:Cite web
  19. Template:Cite news