Post updated 3:41 A.M. MST January 30th, 2008 to include new information on memorial arrangements. New information posted in green.
The funeral for LDS Church President Gordon B. Hinckley will be held in the Salt Lake Conference Center at 11 A.M. MST on Saturday February 2nd, 2008. Overflow seating will be available in the Tabernacle and the Assembly Hall on Temple Square, as well as in the Conference Center theatre. Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney has confirmed he will attend the funeral, as have Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and Utah Senators Robert Bennett and Orrin Hatch. Former Utah Governor and current U.S. Health & Human Services Secretary Michael Leavitt will also attend, representing the Bush Administration. Official LDS Church news release HERE.
Seating passes for President Hinckley’s funeral will be distributed on a first-come, first, served basis to those standing in line at the north gate of Temple Square at 9:00 A.M. on Saturday, February 2, 2008. Attendees should be in their seats no later than 10:15 A.M. Passes will also be required for admittance to the overflow locations, and will be distributed to attendees when the Conference Center itself is full.
Parking availability will be similar to General Conference guidelines. The following parking lots will be available for both the public viewing and the funeral:
· Triad Center Garage, 50 North 400 West
· Eagle Gate Terrace, 145 East Social Hall Avenue
· Regent Street, 65 East 200 South
· EnergySolutions Arena, 70 North 300 West
Attendees should avoid parking in front of homes in downtown residential areas. Cars parked on neighborhood streets may be ticketed or towed at owner’s expense. No parking will be available in the Joseph Smith Memorial Building parking plaza, Church Office Building or Conference Center. Everyone is invited to carpool or use public transportation to relieve downtown traffic congestion.
The funeral will be broadcast live on BYU-TV, KBYU Channel 11, and KSL-TV and radio. KSL's schedule listed HERE. They've not specified whether or not they will live-broadcast it on the web. Other local media outlets may broadcast the funeral. The service will also be transmitted live via the LDS Church's satellite system around the globe with translation available in 69 languages.
President Hinckley's body will lie in state and be available for public viewing at the Conference Center from 9:00 A.M. to 7:00 P.M. on both Thursday and Friday.
KSL video account of the life of Gordon Hinckley can be viewed HERE. It has also now been revealed that even though many saw signs of decline in recent weeks, President Hinckley continued to work until Wednesday, January 23rd. On Thursday, he simply couldn't get out of bed, family sources said, and by Saturday, loved ones had gathered to say goodbye.
The St. George Spectrum reports a massive show of respect for President Hinckley at Snow Canyon High School in St. George. Warren Brooks, the principal, estimated that about 60 percent of the students wore their Sunday best to school in honor of Hinckley, who was revered as a "prophet, seer and revelator" by the church's faithful. "In the halls today it was unbelievable," Brooks said, adding that the students looked "very sharp," the boys in white shirts and ties and the girls in dresses or skirts. "I've never seen that many ties in the school in my life. It was kind of nice." As word of this tribute spread, other students around the state participated in the show of respect for Hinckley.
In addition, the dedication of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints' newest temple in Rexburg, Idaho — previously scheduled for Sunday February 3rd — has been rescheduled for Sunday February 10th in order to accomodate the funeral of President Hinckley, according to church spokesman Rob Howell. The Rexburg Temple will be the church's 125th worldwide. It is adjacent to the campus of Brigham Young University-Idaho (formerly Ricks College) and will serve some 47,000 LDS Church members in the area.
Never been in an LDS temple? Here's a YouTube video of the Rexburg Temple, filmed during the open house (the only time a completed temple is accessible to the general public).
The Lightplanet.com website contains a good overview of ceremonies performed inside an Mormon temple. The reason that the general public are not admitted to temple ceremonies is not because they're secret, but because they're SACRED. This is no different than intimacy between a husband and wife; while that's hardly secret, it is likewise SACRED, and so they do it in private.
I've only seen two temples myself. In 1962, I was baptized in the Los Angeles Temple, and in 1983, I visited the Jordan River Temple (South Jordan, UT) during its open house.