Sitting on a highly visible location in the Oakland Hills, the Oakland Temple of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints was dedicated for use in November 1964. The Temple site location was purchased by the church in 1943 and satisfied a prophecy in 1847 of Church President Brigham Young, who said, “that Temples of the Church would one day overlook the shores of the Pacific.”
The Temple was closed for major renovations in January 2018. Those renovations are now complete and the Temple is scheduled to reopen after “rededication” services on June 16. Prior to the formal “rededication” services, the Temple will be open to the public for tours, beginning May 11 through June 1. Tickets for tours which will be conducted throughout the day for these three weeks can be secured at no cost through templeopenhouse.lds.org or through accessing the temple website, oaklandtemple.org.
The address of this well-known edifice, 4770 Lincoln Ave., is located in the hills just east of the Oakland International Airport. The Oakland California Temple has served since 1964 as a beacon of light for church members. It is interesting to note that this particular temple also has been an important light for airline pilots navigating into the Oakland Airport for many years. During the period of an energy crisis some 30 years ago, the church turned off the lights at night, only to be strongly encouraged by aviators to please turn them back on.
When first dedicated in 1964 by the then President and Prophet of the Church, David O. McKay, the Oakland California Temple was the 13th temple of the Church and the second in California (following the Los Angeles California Temple). There are now seven temples serving members in California in the cities of San Diego, Los Angeles, Redlands, Fresno, Newport Beach, Sacramento, and, of course, Oakland. An eighth temple was recently announced for construction in the very near future in Yuba City. There are currently 201 temples operating, announced or under construction through the world.
Also featured in the Visitor’s Center, which is located directly adjacent to the temple, is a large replica of Bertel Thorvaldsen’s statue “Christus,” which serves as a profound invitation through the Savior’s outstretched arms to “Come, Follow Me.”
The Temple was closed 18 months ago to accommodate a number of structural changes, seismic reinforcements, and other infrastructure improvements. Temples of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints differ from meetinghouses or chapels where regular Sunday worship services are conducted. As stated in an article from the Church Newsroom, “Temples are considered “houses of the Lord” where Christ’s teachings are reaffirmed through sacred ordinances that unite families for eternity. Inside, members learn more about the purpose of life and make covenants to serve Jesus Christ and our brothers and sisters who share this earth.”
Once Church Temples are dedicated, they are not available to the broader public. Therefore, the public tours provided in May provide an excellent opportunity for those who wish to better understand why members of the church so often frequent these sacred structures, which are now in operation on every continent.
Dr. David E. Brown is regional Director of Public Affairs but was formerly the President of the Napa Stake of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, which includes 10 congregations -- four in Napa, one in St. Helena, one in Sonoma, two in Vallejo, and two in Benicia.