Anchorage Alaska

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Windy Day in Healy, Alaska with Boreal Chickadeesbetchkal


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The Anchorage Alaska Temple is a temple of the Church of Jesus Christ of Later-day Saints in Anchorage Alaska. Before the temple was dedicated in 1999, Church members in Alaska traveled first to the Cardston Alberta Temple, then to the Seattle Washington Temple after its dedication.


The Church’s presence in Alaska has grown since the gold rush brought the first Latter-day Saints to the state in 1898. Missionaries came to Juneau for only a short time in 1913, and it was not until 1938 that Alaska had an official Latter-day Saint congregation. In 1961, Alaska’s first stake was organized.


The Anchorage Alaska Temple was announced on 4 October 1997, by Church President Gordon B. Hinckley in Priesthood Session of the 167th Semiannual General Conference. In the same general conference, President Hinckley announced that the Church would be constructing small temples in remote areas of the world where the number of Church members was not very large. There are many areas in the Church which are remote and where membership is small and not likely to grow much in the future. It was decided to begin building the smaller temples in an effort to reduce travel distances for much of the membership of the church. Many of these members could only make one temple trip in a lifetime due to the great distance and cost of such trips.

“I believe that no member of the Church has received the ultimate which this Church has to give until he or she has received his or her temple blessings in the house of the Lord,” President Hinckley stated. “Accordingly, we are doing all that we know how to do to expedite the construction of these sacred buildings and make the blessings received therein more generally available.”[1]

When President Hinckley announced his concept of smaller temples in 1997, Anchorage topped the list of considerations for a pilot location. However, at the suggestion of architect Doug Green, Monticello, Utah, was selected for the prototype because of its location near Church Headquarters.

From what was learned during construction, Brother Green was able to implement nearly 300 improvements and modifications to the Anchorage temple blueprints that included innovations such as heated stairs and an entrance canopy. [2]


On 17 April 1998 Elder F. Melvin Hammond of the Seventy presided over the groundbreaking and site dedication for the temple Approximately 1,700 members attended the ceremony.[3]

The construction of the 6,800 square foot temple took only nine months.

Open House

From December 29 to 31, 1998, the temple opened to the public for an open house. During its short 2½-day open house, the Anchorage Alaska Temple saw 14,131 visitors tour its interior prior to dedication. [4]


Anchorage Alaska Temple ca 1999

6,291 Church members attended a total of seven dedicatory sessions from January 9 to 10, 1999. President Hinckley offered the dedicatory prayer, in which he mentioned the global scope of temple work: “May this great work of temple building go forward across the earth to bless Thy people wherever they may be found. May all who come with hope and high expectation leave with satisfaction and gratitude, having tasted of the sweet things of Thy divine work.”[5][6]

Dedicatory Prayer

Dedication Order

The Anchorage Alaska Temple was the second of the smaller temples to be dedicated, preceded by the Monticello Utah Temple.  It was the 54th temple in the world, the first in Alaska, and the 28th temple dedicated in the United States.


The Anchorage Alaska Temple opened for operation on 11 January 1999.


Less than five years after the temple was dedicated, it closed for 10 months to be expanded. The remodel, begun in April of 2003 increased the temple’s 6,800 square feet to 11,937 square feet. A second instruction room, second sealing room, A gathering room and an expanded coat room were added to the temple to facilitate with temple work.

Unlike the Monticallo Temple, originally built on the same floorplan, where teh expansion added on to one end of the temple, the original placement of the Anchorage alaska Temple on a small hill required the temple be expanded to one side, the new addition taking on 2 stories.

Open House

Preceding its rededication, the Anchorage Alaska Temple was opened to the public for an open house 26-31 January of 2004. During that time it was toured by nearly 10,000 visitors, who traveled from all over the large state. [7]

Cultural Celebration

Prior to the rededication of the temple a regional cultural event was held, featuring 600 local members of 4 local stakes. The presentation taught both he history of the state and the history of the Church in Alaska.[8]


Anchorage alaska Temple thumb 2

President Hinckley conducted the rededication on 8 February 2004. [9]


The temple once again commenced operation on 9 February 2004.

Stake Center Fire

On, Thursday, March 22, 2007, an accidental fire erupted in the 30-year-old stake center adjacent to the Anchorage Alaska Temple, destroying most of the roof and causing extension damage; it was rebuilt over the next year. The following day, a water line burst in the temple basement, flooding it with 3–5 feet of water; the building was quickly restored to working order.


Melvin R. Nichols2016-
Dennis E. Cook[10]2013–2016
Melvin R. Perkins[11]2010–2013
Lloyd V. Owen[12]2007–2010
Gary E. Cox[13]2004–2007
Merrill D. Briggs[14]1999–2004



The Anchorage Alaska Temple stands just east of highly traveled Seward Highway in southern Anchorage. A beautiful grove of trees and the majestic Chugach Mountains create a stunning backdrop for this holy house. The temple is part of a complex with the Anchorage Alaska Stake Center; the two buildings share a common parking lot and a 5.54 acre site. The Anchorage Alaska Temple is farther north than any other LDS temple in the world. 


Brother Green, the temple architect, faced the challenge of finding ways to make the Temple uniquely Alaskan. He prayed for inspiration, and on one of his trips to Salt Lake City, he noticed something on the Salt Lake Temple that he hadn’t seen before—the seven stars of the Big Dipper pointing to the North Star. That symbol is found on the Alaskan flag, and is now depicted on the west side of the Anchorage Alaska Temple. Along with that, the temple walls are covered with gray and white quartz-flecked Sierra White Granite from Fresno California. [15]


The temple design incorporates Alaskan motifs, such as likenesses of fir trees on the doorway pilasters. The stained glass is reminiscent of water, and stylized evergreens with patterns resembling native designs are used to adorn interior furnishings. [16]

A mural of Alaska’s mountainous terrain adorns the wall of the first instruction room.

The 700-pound Celestial Room chandelier of the Anchorage Alaska Temple features thousands of Hungarian crystals and 140 lights that make the room’s windows appear gold from the outside.


The windows on the Anchorage Alaska Temple are stained glass with dual panels, the windows are in sets of four.

Anchorage Window



The words Holiness to the Lord—The House of the Lord are inscribed in three different locations on the Anchorage Alaska Temple: (1) on the east side of the temple on the exterior wall of the Celestial Room, (2) on the base of the spire near the original entrance to the temple, and (3) directly over the doors of the new entrance.


The first inscription on the temple is on the north east side of the temple on the exterior wall of the Celestial Room.



The Second inscription is on the North North West side of the temple above the new entrance.



The third inscription of the Anchorage Temple is on the base of the spire at about eye height. Like the others, it is in English, inscribed into the stone, and painted black.



The cornerstone of the Anchorage Alaska Temple is on the south East corner, east face of the temple. Like the inscriptions it is also engraved into the stone and painted black.



On the West side of the Anchorage Temple, surrounding the 3 windows of the baptistry, are stars placed in an arrangement of the Big Dipper, including an extra large stone for the north Star

Spires and Moroni


There is a single spire on the Anchorage Alaska Temple. The spire sits next to the original entrance. While not detached from the building, the spire pillar sits upon the ground rather than on the temple like most small temples.


The Angel Moroni statue was placed upon the singels pire of the temple on 17 December 1998. The statue is a gilded fiberglass replica of LaVar Wallgren’s 5′ 11″ statue holding a scroll in the left hand.

Individuals and Contractors

The temple was designed by Doug Carlson of McCool Carlson & Green Architects. [17][18]

Cody Karl was Project Manager for the Church.[19]

H. Watt and Scott was the General Contractor.[20]

Westland Construction was General Contractor for the Rennovation and expansion.[21]

Sources and Links

External links

  • (official)
  • Wikipedia

Additional Articles


  1. [1]Gordon B. Hinckley, “Some Thoughts on Temples, Retention of Converts, and Missionary Service,” Ensign, Nov. 1997.
  2. [2] Chad Hawkins, The First 100 Temples (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Company, 2001) 149–151.
  3. [3]Walter, Byron D. “Temple Groundbreaking Ceremony”,, 19 April 1998. Accessed 6 January 2015
  4. [4] Howlett, Sandi “Sacred Edifice Called a ‘Jewel Box’”, 9 January 1999. Accessed 6 January 2015
  5. [5] Anchorage Alaska Temple dedicatory prayer, in Church News, Jan. 16, 1999,
  6. [6]Dockstader, Julie “Northernmost temple dedicated Some 6,000 attend services in frigid Anchorage winter”,, 16 January 1999. Accessed 10 April 2015
  7. [7]Howlett, Sandi “Icy Opening and a Warm Welcome”,, 7 February 2004. Accessed 10 April 2015
  8. [8]Howlett, Sandi, “Cultural Presentation Depicts LDS Pioneers, Native Alaskans”, 14 February 2004. Accessed 6 January 2015
  9. [9]
     Howlett, Sandi, “Anchorage Alaska Temple Rededicated by Prophet”,, 14 February 2004. Accessed 10 April 2005
  10. [10]
    “New Temple Presidents”,, 4 May 2013. Accessed 6 January 2015
  11. [11]
    “New Temple Presidents”,, 5 June 2010. Accessed 6 January 2015
  12. [12]
    “New Temple Presidents”,, 11 August 2007. Accessed 6 January 2015
  13. [13]
    “New Temple Presidents”,, 4 September 2004. Accessed 6 January 2015
  14. [14]
    “New Temple President”,, 28 November 1999. Accessed 6 January 2015
  15. [15] “Gathering of Saints”, by Jasper and Lommel, p 320
  16. [16] “Gathering of Saints”, by Jasper and Lommel, p 320
  17. [17] “Anchorage Alaska Temple” Accessed 10 April 2015
  18. [18]McCool, Carlson & Green Architects (Project Page)
  19. [19] “Anchorage Alaska Temple” Accessed 10 April 2015
  20. [20] “Anchorage Alaska Temple” Accessed 10 April 2015
  21. [21]
    ” Anchorage Alaska Temple Expansion” Accessed 10 April 2015


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