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California Temple: A Landmark in the Oakland Hills

By Elisha Neubauer

While attending a Boy Scout meeting in San Francisco in 1924, George Albert Smith had an epiphany. Smith, then a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles of the church, was having lunch with W. Aird McDonald at the Fairmont Hotel when he was hit with an idea that would eventually lead to the construction of the Oakland Temple. He pictured a beautiful white temple in the Oakland hills, declaring that it would, "welcome our Father's children as they visit this great city." Smith Later becomes the president of the church.

Sure enough, in 1942, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (commonly called the Mormon Church) obtained a little over eighteen acres of land that would become the site of the California Temple. Construction of the temple, however, didn't begin until twenty years later as the Church worked to raise funds and draw plans. The completed building was dedicated on November 17th, 1964 and has since seen several additions, including a Family Search Library for genealogical research, a Visitor's Center, and an Interstake Center for worship.

According to a church representative, "there are many places on the grounds that inspire visits: the temple for the sacred worship done in that beautiful structure; the Visitors' Center for its introduction to the history of, and gospel taught by, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints; the FamilySearch Library where a person can come in contact with his/her past; and taking a walk on the upper level of the temple, where one can experience stunning views of the Bay. Having a chance to walk atop the temple and contemplate the meaning and purpose of live is a wonderful experience for those given to meditation and contemplation." says a church representative,.

The church believes in using one's faith to help support the community. "Members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints recognize and worship Jesus Christ as the Lord and Savior of all humankind, regardless of race, ethnicity, gender or socioeconomic status," says a church representative,. "Jesus Christ spent much of His ministry reaching out to lift up the poor, needy and disadvantaged who surrounded Him. Members of the Church, and indeed all those who would be followers of Christ, should do the same thing in our own communities: reach out to those less fortunate and help in ways that make a difference." As helping the community is a large part of the church's beliefs, members volunteer and participate in multiple charities and programs designed to aid neighbors, as well as those in-need abroad.

Sitting on a prominent hillside, the California Temple has become somewhat of a landmark in the Oakland area. The 95,000 square foot building includes a baptistry, celestial room, four ordinance rooms and seven sealing rooms. It is surrounded by beautiful grounds which host dazzling flowers, palm trees, and a man-made river that connects two on-site fountains that runs on recycled water. For anyone interested in getting a closer look at this stunning place of worship, free tours are given daily through the Visitors' Center in which you can see the grounds and the top level of the temple.

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Elisha Neubauer is a freelance editor, ghostwriter, book reviewer, and author. She is...

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