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Winter Quarters Nebraska Temple Wiki
The Winter Quarters Nebraska Temple was the first temple of the Church of Jesus Christ Of Latter-day Saints built in Nebraska. It serves the needs of members in Iowa, Nebraska, southeastern South Dakota and Kansas. Along with Palmyra New York and Nauvoo Illinois Temples, it one of three temples built in locations of historic significance for the early Church. The Winter Quarters Nebraska Temple stands as a monument to the sacrifice of the Mormon pioneers who lived in the area under harsh conditions over 160 years ago.
Winter Quarters was the site where early church members settled after they were driven out of Nauvoo, Illinois. It was also where many Latter-day Saints, including many who came from Europe, camped before crossing the plains to the Salt Lake Valley. More than 2,000 church members died at Winter Quarters because of heavy storms, scurvy, malaria and inadequate food and shelter.
Louis Butler, first President of the Winter Quarters Nebraska Temple said, “once a staging ground for pioneers going west, once a point of departure, [Winter Quarters] has now become a destination for modern Latter-day Saint pioneers as they come to the house of the Lord,”
After abandoning their homes in Nauvoo, Illinois, 19th-century Latter-day Saints began a gradual trek westward to settle the Great Basin. During the winter of 1846–47, 4,000 Latter-day Saints camped on the western side of the Missouri River to wait for better traveling conditions before leaving for the West. In the settlement that became known as Winter Quarters, these pioneers erected temporary log cabins, sod homes and a gristmill to assist them during their stay. They also established trade relationships with the local Omaha Indians and with settlers living in northern Missouri and Iowa.
Malnourishment, disease and inadequate shelter caused the settlers great difficulties. Scurvy, malaria, tuberculosis and unnamed fevers and chills plagued the encampment. Fresh vegetables and wild game were rare, and the Saints were forced to survive the harsh winter months on an extremely limited diet. By the time the pioneers left the settlement in 1848, several hundred people had died and were buried in both marked and unmarked graves along the Missouri River. The site of their graves is now known as the Mormon Pioneer Cemetery. Three derelict gravestones are the sole traces of the entire settlement, accompanied by a commemorative statue of a pioneer husband and wife burying an infant.
“There are times and places in the life of every nation when great spiritual heights are reached, when courage becomes a living thing … when faith in God stands as the granite mountain wall – firm and immovable – while hardships, want, sickness, sorrow, and death beat down and crush … Winter Quarters was such a time and place for the Mormon people,” said President Heber J. Grant at the 1936 dedication of the Winter Quarters Monument. 
On June 14, 1999 The First Presidency issued a letter to leaders in the Omaha Area announcing plans to build a temple adjacent to the Pioneer Cemetery owned by the Church in the Winter Quarters area. The letter was read to local members at Sunday meetings on 20 June 1999.
Elder 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”
In preparation for the open house, members of the church and the community of Florence worked together creating handcrafted flowers for storefronts and decorating historic sites and markers with balloons. 61,083 visitors toured the Winter Quarters Temple during its 14 day open house, an average of 4,363 visitors per day.
The dedicatory services of the Winter Quarters temple were attended by 8,005 people over 4 dedicatory sessions, an average of 2,000 people per session. Beyond that, however, the dedicatory services of were broadcast over the Church’s encrypted satellite system to stake centers and Church facilities throughout North America. According to an early report, more than 376,000 people viewed the proceedings via the satellite services. Members all over the United States and Canada watched as LDS Church president Gordon B. Hinckley dedicated the Winter Quarters Nebraska Temple on April 22, 2001.
During the dedicatory prayer, President Hinckley recognized the sacrifice of the Saints and the great spiritual and historical significance of having a temple at Winter Quarters. In the dedicatory prayer, he expressed gratitude for the pioneers whose sacrifices hallowed the temple grounds, and he prayed for all those who would serve in the temple. He concluded: “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.”
The Winter Quarters Nebraska Temple is the 104th operating temple of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. It was the 52nd temple in the United States, and the first in Nebraska. At the time of it’s dedication there were 10 Temples under construction, another 3 announced and awaiting groundbreaking, and 1 temple undergoing renovation.
|Announced||Under Construction||Under Renovation|
|Aba Nigeria||Asuncion Paraguay||Monticello Utah|
|Helsinki Finland||Lubbock Texas|
|Accra Ghana||Snowflake Arizona|
|Redlands California||Columbia River Washington|
|Newport Beach California||Monterrey Mexico|
|Harrison New York||Campinas Brazil|
|Brisbane Australia||Copenhagen Denmark|
|Kyiv Ukraine||Nauvoo Illinois|
|The Hague Netherlands|
|President Donald D. Deshler||2016–|
|President Theodore H. Okiishi||2013–2016|
|President Maury W. Schooff||2010–2013|
|President Merrill C. Oaks||2007–2010|
|President Robert B. Harbertson||2004–2007|
|President E. Louis Butler||2001–2004|
At one time, the church intended to name the temple Winter Quarters Temple in contradiction to the standard naming convention for church temples.
The new temple was built next to the Mormon Pioneer Cemetery and visitors’ center in Florence, now a neighborhood of Omaha, Nebraska, USA, and formerly an independent city. The site is 1.92 acres, not including other Church owned property.
The Winter Quarters Nebraska Temple is a sister building to the Snowflake Arizona Temple. Both temples retain the styling and shape massing common to the single story small temples built during President Hinckley’s time as President of the Church. However, unlike the other small temples, these two temples are 2 story, with the bottom story being half embedded into the hill they were built within and on.
The exterior of the temple has been clad in Bethel white granite.
The windows, both inside and outside the temple were created by Tom Holdman of Holdman studios. The patterns around the borders of windows are often reminiscent of Quilt patterns. Many of the Stained glass windows contain scenes or themes. The following scenes can be found through out the temple
- William Clayton writing “Come, Come, Ye Saints”
- A father and mother walking away from the grave of a loved one
- wooden roadmeter used to measure travel,
- the construction of cabins at Winter Quarters
- Winter Quarters Gristmill
- Brigham Young signing the call for the Mormon Battalion Enlistment
- Pioneers crossing the Elkhorn River
- Chief of the Omaha Indians
- Log Tabernacle at Kanesville Iowa
- Handcart Pioneers
- Portrait of Brigham Young
- River Scene with seven trees, representing seven gospel dispensations, a reference to Psalm 1:3 and Revelations 22:1-2
- North star and the big Dipper
- The state flowers of Illinois, Iowa, Nebraska, Wyoming and Utah
The Winter Quarters Nebraska Temple has three inscriptions on its exterior. All three inscriptions are in English.
The first is on the east center side of the temple above the 2 story set of windows that are inline with the spire of the temple. The letters are carved into the stone and painted black.
HOLINESS TO THE LORD
THE HOUSE OF THE LORD
The second inscription is directly above the entry doors on the south side of the temple. The letters are raised brass on a brass plaque.
HOLINESS TO THE LORD
THE HOUSE OF THE LORD
The third inscription is at the top of the temple, inline with the second inscription. The letters are engraved in stone and painted black.
HOLINESS TO THE LORD
THE HOUSE OF THE LORD
The Cornerstone of the Winter Quarters Nebraska Temple is on the South East most corner of the temple, on the east most face. The text on the stone are engraved into the stone and painted black.
Spires and Moroni
The single spire of the temple is a multi-stepped square tower placed on the center, from east to west, and south of center, north to south, on the top of the temple.
An angel Moroni statue was placed atop the single spire of the Winter Quarters Nebraska Temple on 7 November of 2000. The statue is a fiberglass casting of a statue carved in 1982 by Karl Quilter. The statue was placed to face East by North.
The interior of the Winter Quarters Nebraska Temple is 16,000 square feet (1,500 m²) in area. Inside the temple, furnishings remind patrons of the goals and sacrifices of the Mormon pioneers. In the celestial room, depictions of the state flowers from Illinois, Iowa, Nebraska, Wyoming and Utah pay tribute to the pioneers’ journey across the United States. Stained-glass windows show important episodes in the history of Winter Quarters. The temple’s artwork portrays a river, which represents the living water of Jesus Christ, and the tree of life, which represents eternal life.
The temple contains 2 ordinance rooms in which Instruction is presented via film while progressing from room to room (two-stage progressive.)
The temple has two sealing rooms.
Individuals and Contractors
|Architect||Dan Reinhardt of Reinhardr & Associates|
|Contractor||Lund-Ross Constructors Inc.|
Sources and Links
- Winter Quarters Nebraska Temple at LDS.org(official)
- Mormon Trail Center at LDS.org (official)
- Winter Quarters Nebraska Temple at MormonNewsroom.org (official)
- Winter Quarters Nebraska Temple at ChurchOfJesusChristTemples.org
- Winter Quarters Nebraska Temple at LDSChurchNews.com
- Winter Quarters Nebraska Temple at Wikipedia
- Winter Quarters Nebraska Temple at MormonWiki
- “News of the Church,” Ensign, July 2001, 74↩
- Ardeth Greene Kapp, “The Joy of the Journey”, 13↩
- “New Temples announced for Perth. Omaha,” LDSChurchNews, Deseret News, 25 June 1999. Accessed 26 September 2018.”↩
- R. Scott Lloyd, “New Temple to Stand on Sanctified Soil,” Church News, Dec. 4, 1999, ↩
- Church News, 4 December 1999.↩
- “Facts and Figures: Winter Quarters Nebraska Temple,” LDS Church News, Deseret News, 2 May 2001. Accessed 01 June 2018.↩
- “Winter Quarters, Guadalajara Temples Dedicated,” News of the Church, Ensign, July 2001. Accessed 29 September 2018↩
- “Temples renamed to uniform guidelines”. Church News. October 16, 1999.↩
- Lloyd, R. Scott. “Windows that teach truth,” ↩