Boston Massachusetts Temple

This data was last updated on 31 August 2020.

Address: 100 Hinckley Way, Belmont, MA 02478-2135, USA
Phone: 617-993-9993

Description: The Boston Massachusetts Temple sits on an 8-acre, neatly landscaped wooded property atop a granite hill in Belmont, just off the Concord Turnpike. The three-floor, 69,600-square-foot structure has a white granite exterior, with blue stained-glass windows, and a tall, traditional New England-style spire topped with a gold-leafed Angel Moroni statue characteristic of many temples of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The interior features light carpet and marble floors, crystal chandeliers, and finely crafted, light-colored woodwork. There are four ordinance rooms, four sealing rooms, a baptistry, offices, a cafeteria, and service and maintenance facilities. 

Demographics: In addition to Boston-area Latter-day Saints, the temple serves Church members living in New Hampshire, Vermont, Maine, Rhode Island, and parts of Connecticut. Ordinances are performed in English, Spanish, Portuguese on a regular basis, and in other languages as needed.

Leadership: The temple is largely run by volunteers, led by a temple president and his two counselors, and a temple matriarch and her two assistants, each of whom typically serve for a period of three years. They train and manage groups of temple ordinance workers, some of whom travel long distances to serve. At any point in time there are approximately 600 volunteers who serve at least monthly in the temple. A small number of staff support the leadership and volunteers in caring for the physical facilities and filling administrative needs.  

Activities: Temples hold a special place in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and differ in function from the more numerous, less extravagant meetinghouses where Church members and visitors gather on Sundays to worship. Latter-day Saints believe that the highest blessings God grants his children are administered through ordinances only performed in temples dedicated for that purpose. Members must be currently living in accordance with Church teachings to enter the temple and take part in its ordinances, which include proxy baptisms for the dead, the endowment ceremony, and sealings of families. Latter-day Saints as young as eleven years old participate in baptisms for the dead, an ordinance in which temple patrons are baptized on behalf of their departed ancestors, extending the blessings of baptism to those who did not have the opportunity to receive them during their lives. This system of proxy work for the dead extends to all of the ordinances of the temple and drives a significant interest in family history research among Church members. Adult members of the Church come to the temple to receive blessings from and make covenants with God through an ordinance called the endowment, which is also a course of instruction about God’s plan of salvation. They also come to the temple to be married and to be sealed as families in a ceremony that enables the perpetuation of family relationship into the afterlife.

History: In September 1995, Church President Gordon B. Hinckley announced that a temple would be built in the Boston area as part of a wider effort to make temple worship accessible to more Church members. Though many of the Church’s early members, including its founder Joseph Smith, hailed from New England, this would be the Church’s first temple in the region. Previously, local Latter-day Saints had traveled to Utah, then Washington D.C. (1974), then Toronto (1990) to attend a temple. Soon after the announcement of the temple, opposition to its construction began to appear. The temple’s building permit, which had been approved in May 1996, was contested over the following months in a series of hearings covered by the Boston Globe. While the media frequently framed the debate as a religious freedom issue, concerned neighbors insisted they were against the building, not the Church. A litany of religious leaders—Protestant, Catholic, and Jewish—filed briefs in support of the Church and raised awareness and support among their communities. A Unitarian Universalist minister, for example, asked Latter-day Saint leaders to address his congregation and had his choir sing some of the Church’s hymns in solidarity. In December 1996, the Belmont Zoning Board of Appeals ruled in favor of the Church. Notwithstanding the favorable ruling, the Church announced adjustments to its original plans out of respect for the temple’s neighbors. The temple was downscaled by about a third and changed from a six-spire design to just one. As the Church went ahead with construction, including a groundbreaking ceremony in June 1997, however, plaintiffs continued to appeal the board’s decision over the next few years by filing two lawsuits—one in Massachusetts courts, the other in federal courts. While these efforts slowed construction progress and prevented the temple from having a steeple in place for its dedication in October 2000, the U.S. District Court ruled in favor of the Church in May 1999 and the Supreme Court upheld that decision in January 2001. In August 2000, the temple was opened for a public open house prior to its dedication and official opening. Over the next month, more than 80,000 people toured the newly finished interior. On October 1st, President Hinckley dedicated the Boston Massachusetts Temple as the 100th temple of the Church. The temple’s street address, 100 Hinckley Way, is a memorial to that milestone. The next year, with the last of the appeals struck down in court, the temple’s spire was completed, and on September 21st—the 178th anniversary of the angel Moroni’s first visit to Joseph Smith—the gold statue was installed on its top.