Atlanta Georgia Temple
21st operating temple
Physical Address6450 Barfield Road NE
Sandy Springs, Georgia 30328-4283
Mailing AddressSameTelephone 770-393-3698
Distribution Services 770-396-7569
Announcement: 2 April 1980
Groundbreaking and Site Dedication: 7 March 1981 by Spencer W. Kimball
Public Open House: 3–21 May 1983
Dedication: 1–4 June 1983 by Gordon B. Hinckley
Rededication: 14 November 1997 by Gordon B. Hinckley (baptistry only)
Public Open House: 9–23 April 2011
Rededication: 1 May 2011 by Thomas S. Monson
Site: 9.6 acres.
Exterior Finish: Pre-cast stone walls and a built-up roof.
Ordinance Rooms: Four ordinance rooms (two-stage progressive) and four sealing.
Total Floor Area: 34,500 square feet.
Located on the north side of the Atlanta metro area, the Atlanta Georgia Temple stands just west of the Turner McDonald Parkway on a gentle hillside in the community of Sandy Springs. Highlighting the holy structure is a wall of heavenly stained glass that softly glows at night beneath the temple's single spire. The rolling lawn and meticulous grounds offer a spiritual refuge to all who visit.
The Atlanta Georgia Temple was the first temple dedicated by President Gordon B. Hinckley, who went on to dedicate or rededicate 89 other temples.
The Atlanta Georgia Temple was originally named the Atlanta Temple.
On March 7, 1981, nearly 10,000 members crowded on the site of the Atlanta Georgia Temple to witness the first ceremonial shovelfuls of dirt at the groundbreaking ceremony.
The originally proposed design for the Atlanta Georgia Temple fell short of "Mormon Temple" status in the eyes of a Faith & Values reviewer for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, who noted the absence of a spire and gold angel. A short time later, on January 10, 1982, church architect Emil B. Fetzer announced revised plans for the temple, which commenced a tradition of including a spire and angel Moroni on nearly every successive Latter-day Saint temple.
In May 1983, over 60,000 people toured the Atlanta Georgia Temple during its nearly three-week public open house. The first day of the open house was reserved for VIP guests including various local leaders and baseball legend Dale Murphy of the Atlanta Braves—himself a member of the Church.
At the dedication of the Atlanta Georgia Temple, President Hinckley promised that the baptistry would one day be enlarged. That promise was fulfilled 14 years later when a renovation project enlarged the baptistry, added offices, and remodeled the waiting rooms. President Hinckley himself returned to the temple to dedicate the baptistry addition.
The angel Moroni statue that originally stood atop the Atlanta Georgia Temple, which has now been replaced, was a casting made by LaVar Wallgren of the statue created by Torlief Knaphus for the Washington D.C. Ward chapel, which he made as a replica of Cyrus E. Dallin's statue atop the Salt Lake Temple. (Other castings of this statue stand atop the Idaho Falls Idaho Temple and the Boston Massachusetts Temple.)
The Atlanta Georgia Temple closed for nearly two years beginning July 1, 2009, for a complete remodel of the interior, renovation of the exterior, and relandscaping of the grounds. The interior was reconfigured to feature high ceilings in the foyer, a nonpatron waiting room, a high-capacity sealing room, progressive ordinance rooms with murals, and art glass illuminated with daylight-style lighting in the Celestial Room. Clothing rental was removed, and food vending was relocated.
The crystal from the original Celestial Room chandelier of the Atlanta Georgia Temple was crushed and incorporated into the Celestial Room art glass windows of the remodeled temple. Marble from the original altars was laid into the pulpit of the chapel.
Word of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints first appeared in Georgia newspapers as early as 1831.1 John Eldridge, the first recorded Latter-day Saint missionary to reach Georgia, wrote of his 1843 experiences that he preached "to the utter astonishment of the people and many rejoiced."2 In the 1840s and 1850s, dozens of Georgians accepted the message of the restored gospel and left their homes to gather with the Saints, first in Nauvoo, Illinois, and later in the trek west to the Utah Territory.3
During the Civil War, proselyting ceased throughout the South and did not resume in Georgia until the mid-1870s.4 Missionary John Morgan and his successors preached successfully in the North Georgia Mountains with a steady flow of converts emigrating to Utah and the surrounding area over the next fifteen years.5 The tide of converts moving to Mormon settlements in the west began to slow in the early 1900s and ended shortly after 1914 when Church President Joseph F. Smith toured the South and asked Latter-day Saints to say in their homes and build up the church locally.6 This change enable the Church to grow more consistently in Georgia and created additional opportunities for local leadership.
During this period, proselyting activities shifted from rural areas to cities with missionaries arriving in Atlanta in 1898 and renting a building on Broad Street near present day Martin Luther King Jr. Drive.7 A permanent congregation was organized in Atlanta in 19068 with a meetinghouse dedicated the following year at Woodward Avenue and Connally Street.9 By 1920, congregations had been established in Augusta,10 Axson,11 Buchanan,12 Columbus,13 Empire,14 Macon,15 Savannah,16 and Whitewater (Peachtree City).17 In 1915, the Atlanta Branch moved to a new location near the State Capitol,18 and again in 1925 to the corner of North Avenue and Boulevard.19 In 1930, church membership statewide was 4,311,20 with 400 members in Fulton County.21 Due to continued growth, in 1952 the Church purchased a lot at 1450 Ponce De Leon Avenue and began construction on what would become the oldest existing Latter-day Saint church building in Atlanta.22 The first Stake in Georgia, the Atlanta Stake was organized on May 5, 1957, including congregations in Athens, Gibson, Milledgeville, and Palmetto.23
On June 1, 1983, President Gordon B. Hinckley dedicated the Atlanta Georgia Temple in Sandy Springs. It was the first temple in the Southeastern United States, and the first temple dedication of 98 dedications or rededications presided by President Hinckley.
The Church Services Center in Tucker serves as a hub for humanitarian efforts providing resources throughout the region. Atlanta Latter-day Saints gave disaster relief to the community after the 1992 Hurricane Andrew in Albany and the flooding in 1994, when some 6,000 Church volunteers assisted homeowners. In the wake Hurricane Katrina in 2005, hundreds were organized and traveled from Georgia to Mississippi and Louisiana to assist in the cleanup and rebuilding over a period of several months.
1. "The Mormonites." Georgia Journal, November 3, 1831 p. 1. The article is from the Illinois Patriot, September 16, 1831.
2. Elder John Eldridge to Brigham Young, Journal History of the Church, January 2, 1844 p. 3-4 Text: "Then I took my course for my native country traveling through Alabama, Georgia, South Carolina in to North Carolina, preaching as I went to the utter astonishment of the people and many rejoiced while others were mad."
3. Journal History of the Church, April 6, 1857. p. 13, text: "M. Murphy take a mission to Tennessee and Georgia to gather up the scattered saints in the region."
4. Jensen, Andrew. Latter-day Saint Biographical Encyclopedia: A Compilation of Biographical Sketches of Prominent Men and Women in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints Vol. 4 (Salt Lake City: Andrew nc., 1926) p. 380. Southern States mission created with Henry Gren Boyle President.
5. Minutes of Southern States Conference, Haywood Valley, Georgia August 9, 10, 11, 1878, reports 261 members of the Church emigrated in 1877. "Southern States Conference" Deseret News, September 11, 1878; "Georgia News. Furnished by the Press and Correspondents." The Telegraph and Messenger, November 18, 1882. Full text: "About sixty Mormon converts passed through Atlanta on Thursday on their way to Utah."; "Augusta Mormons." The Atlanta Constitution, August 11, 1889 p. 4. Text: "Several colonies have left here at different times for Utah, under the leadership of one or more elders."; "Two Commonwealths: Georgia and Alabama's Newsy Record." Columbus Daily Enquirer Sun, November 23, 1890. Text: "A large party of Mormon converts passed through Birmingham on Thursday night, in charge of two Mormon elders. They were from North Georgia, South Carolina, and the mountainous regions of Alabama."
6. "Gathering of the Mormons." The Chattanooga Daily Times, Friday November 27, 1914. Text: "Mormons Urged to Help in Developing the South. President Smith counsels his people in the south to remain here and not to yield to the glamor of the west. He is encouraging them to diversify their products, particularly to branch out in fine stock raising. Already on this brief trip he has noticed the fields and grazing country void as to flocks and herds and a tendency to depend upon a single crop for their living and profits. He has noted that balmy temperature at this season and contrasts it with the real winter already on in the west, declaring to his followers that they have a mission here to lead the people into more profitable industry as agriculturists."
7. Kimball, A. P. "In Georgia." Deseret News, May 11, 1898; "Atlanta Has Mormon Church" The Atlanta Constitution, February 12, 1899, p. 5; "Mormon Elders Preaching Here." The Atlanta Constitution, September 9, 1900, p. A7.
8. Atlanta Ward, Atlanta Georgia Stake, creation date: January 1, 1906 Church Organization Information, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Intellectual Reserve, Inc. August 2007. Version 3.5.80. Note: Historical data added to the CD version of the Church Organization Information February 1, 1999, lists creation date for several older branches as "1 Jan" followed by the year. It is unlikely that the month and day are accurate, and that in the absence of knowing the day and month, "1 Jan" may have been added as a space holder in database.
9. "Mormon Church is Organized in Atlanta." The Atlanta Constitution, July 7, 1907; Journal History of the Church, July 7, 1907, p. 10; "Atlanta Church Building Dedicated." Deseret Evening News, July 14, 1907.
10. "Mission News" Liahona the Elders' Journal October 5, 1907, volume 5, number 16 p.445. Text: "Elders S. W. Golding and M. B. Farr found unity in the branch at Augusta."
11. Pearson Ward, Douglas Georgia Stake, creation date: January 1, 1900. Sunday School created in 1900, name changed from Axson June 23, 1981. Church Organization Information, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Intellectual Reserve, Inc. August 2007. Version 3.5.80; "New L.D.S. Chapel is Dedicated in Georgia" Deseret Evening News, May 27, 1918. Text: "Elder George Albert Smith officiated at the dedicatory services of the Axson church Sunday."
12. The creation date of the Buchanan Branch in as listed on the Church Organization Information CD is incorrect. Missionaries were preaching in Buchanan by at least 1898 (See, "From the Georgia Conference." Deseret News, April 30, 1898) and the branch was organized in 1910.
13. Columbus Branch Conference reported by Elder Charles F. Steele, President Georgia Conference. "News From the Mission" Liahona the Elders' Journal, April 29, 1919, volume 18, number 36 p. 1423
14. Cochran Ward, Macon Georgia Stake, creation date: November 1, 1905. Name changed from Empire, May 29, 1984. Church Organization Information, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Intellectual Reserve, Inc. August 2007. Version 3.5.80.
15. Macon Ward, Macon Georgia Stake, creation date: January 1, 1919. Church Organization Information, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Intellectual Reserve, Inc. August 2007. Version 3.5.80.
16. Pooler Ward, Savannah Georgia Stake, creation date: January 1, 1921. Savannah 1st to Pooler June 10, 2007. Church Organization Information, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Intellectual Reserve, Inc. August 2007. Version 3.5.80.
17. Peachtree City Ward, Jonesboro Georgia Stake, creation date: January 1, 1926. Church Organization Information, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Intellectual Reserve, Inc. August 2007. Version 3.5.80.
18. "New Mormon Church Dedicated on Sunday." The Atlanta Constitution July 5, 1915, p. 10; "Elder Clawson Dedicates Chapel." Deseret Evening News, July 5, 1915.
19. Journal History of the Church, November 29, 1925 p. 9. Building dedicated by Elder George F. Richards.
20. This number (4,311) comes from Deseret News 2001-2002 Church Almanac p. 190, and is currently part of the description for Georgia at ldsnewsroom.org.
21.Cooper, Walter G. Official History of Fulton County, W.W. Brown, Atlanta, GA 1934, p. 529. Although published in 1934, data collected on churches represents 1930.
22. Journal History of the Church, March 31, 1952 p.5. Lot purchased at 1446 Ponce De Leon Ave. for $15,750.00. The above article lists the street address as "1450." This is the current address and is the address given to the building sometime after the purchase of the lot.
23. Journal History of the Church, May 5, 1957 p. 3. Atlanta Stake organized by Elder Mark E. Petersen with Elder LeGrand Richards. Wards: Atlanta, Atlanta 1st, Columbus, and Empire. Branches: Athens, Buchanan, Gibson, Milledgeville, and Palmetto.