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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.
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, plans were announced to build a temple at Winter Quarters.
Groundbreaking and Site Dedication: 28 November 1999 by Hugh W. Pinnock
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”
Public Open House: 30 March–14 April 2001
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. Over 61,000 visitors toured the Winter Quarters Temple during its open house.
Dedication: 22 April 2001 by Gordon B. Hinckley
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.
Members all over the United States and Canada watched via satellite broadcast as LDS Church president Gordon B. Hinckley dedicated the Winter Quarters Nebraska Temple on April 22, 2001. During the dedicatory prayer, Hinckley recognized the sacrifice of the Saints and the great spiritual and historical significance of having a temple at Winter Quarters.
President Gordon B. Hinckley dedicated the Winter Quarters Nebraska Temple on April 22, 2001. 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 (LDS Church).
Site: 1.92 acres.
It is located in Florence, now a neighborhood of Omaha, Nebraska, USA, and formerly an independent city.
The new temple was built next to the Mormon Pioneer Cemetery and visitors’ center. During the groundbreaking ceremony, conducted by Truman F. Clawson on November 28, 1999, he said, “Now today 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.”
Lloyd, R. Scott (December 4, 1999), “New temple to stand on sanctified soil”, Church News
On a promontory in Omaha, Nebraska, 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.
Exterior Finish: Bethel white granite.
Spires and Moroni
The Winter Quarters Nebraska Temple has a total of 16,000 square feet, two ordinance rooms, and two sealing rooms.
Total Floor Area: 16,000 square feet (1,500 m (1640.42 feet)²),
Ordinance Rooms: Two ordinance rooms (two-stage progressive) and two sealing.
The Winter Quarters Nebraska Temple has a total area of 16,000 square feet two ordinance rooms, and two sealing rooms.
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: Brigham Young signing enlistment papers for the Mormon Battalion, the Omaha Indian chief allowing the Latter-day Saints to stay on the Indians’ land, and William Clayton penning the hymn “Come, Come, Ye Saints.” The temple’s artwork portrays a river, which represents the living water of Jesus Christ, and the tree of life, which represents eternal life.
Individuals and Contractors
Sources and Links
- Temple at LDS.org(official)
- Temple at MormonTemples.org (official)
- Temple at MormonNewsroom.org (official)
- Temple at LDSChurchTemples.com
- Temple at LDSChurchNewsArchive.com
- Temple at Wikipedia
- “News of the Church,” Ensign, July 2001, 74↩
- rdeth Greene Kapp, “The Joy of the Journey”, 13↩
- 1 R. Scott Lloyd, “New Temple to Stand on Sanctified Soil,” Church News, Dec. 4, 1999, http://www.ldschurchnewsarchive.com/articles/36873/New-temple-to-stand-on-sanctified-soil.html↩
-  (4 December 1999, Church News).↩
-  Winter Quarters Nebraska Temple dedicatory prayer, in Church News, Apr. 28, 2001, http://www.ldschurchnewsarchive.com/articles/39797/WINTER-QUARTERS-NEBRASKA-A-temple-on-this-hallowed-ground.html↩
- “Temples renamed to uniform guidelines”. Church News. October 16, 1999.↩