The Seattle Washington Temple is the 19th Latter-Day Saint Temple in operation. The groundbreaking was done on May 27, 1978 by Marion G. Romney and was dedicated by Spencer W. Kimball on November 17-21 1980.
The Seattle Washington Temple is the first temple built in the Pacific Northwest.
In the 1960s a group of Stake Presidents petitioned the First Presidency for a Temple in the Pacific Northwest. No action was taken until 1974 until F. Arthur Kay was asked to look for a location suitable for a Temple. Strict instruction were given to keep the search private.
It was difficult to locate the perfect spot for the Seattle Washington Temple. Read more here.
Even after locating the perfect spot for the Seattle Temple, there were groups intent on stopping the Temple progressing. There were groups intent on stopping the purchase of the land. F. Arthur Kay, the Seattle Temple’s fist president said “I felt the influence of the adversary so strongly that it caused the very hairs on the back of my neck to stand straight up. But in time the spirit of the Lord would prevail and assure me that in the end, all would be well.”
On November 15, 1975 President Spencer W. Kimball announced that a temple would be built in the Pacific Northwest.
Emil B. Fetzer was the architect for the Seattle Washington Temple. He designed the Temple to be wider at the base than the top/. Upon close inspection the temples exterior walls curve outward. This tapered effect provides the appearance of being firmly grounded in the earth while directing the focus heavenward.
On the exterior walls you can see high-relief sculptures of stalks of wheat that appear to be growing out of the ground. The wheat patterns can also be seen on the metal ornamentations on the entrance doors. Symbolizing Christ being the “bread of life” (John 6:35).
The protestors of the Seattle Temple did not ease up from the construction and completion of the Temple. Picketers attempted to block the entrance on the first day of the temple open house. Some of them had to be physically removed.
On the day of the Temples dedication protestors attempted to chain themselves to the temple gates, they did not succeed and twenty-one people were arrested.
The Seattle Washington Temple was the last temple dedicated by President Spencer W. Kimball. President Kimballs declining health prompted him to call Elder Gordon B. Hinckley as a third counselor in the First Presidency in July 1981. Seventeen more temples would be dedicated under Pres. Kimball's presidency before his death in November 1985.
The protestors and the opposition to the Seattle Temple fueled the fire for the Saints of the Seattle area. In the first year after the temple was dedicated one hundred thousand endowments were performed in the Seattle temple in under six months! This was double the number expected by the temple committee.