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The Mormon temple near the Beltway will be open to the public for a limited time this fall

The temple of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Kensington, Md. (Michael S. Williamson/The Washington Post)
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Mark your calendars for Sept. 24 to Oct. 31, 2020. If you’ve ever driven past the soaring white spires of the Mormon temple near the Capital Beltway and wondered about what it looks like inside: This is your chance.

Temples in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints are reserved only for members. The Washington area temple closed in 2018 for major renovations. Before the church rededicates the building, making it Mormon-only again, the temple will be open for tours for the first time since 1974.

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The church announced on Thursday that after it finishes the renovations this summer, it will offer private tours for a week in September, then tours for anyone who wants to participate on most days in late September and throughout the month of October.

When the landmark building is commissioned again as a Mormon temple on Dec. 13, it will again close to outsiders.

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has 217 temples around the world, 93 of which are in the United States. The temples often have distinctive architectural features meant to reflect their local environment. Temples are used for weddings and for other special ceremonies; weekly worship happens not in temples but in meetinghouses, which are always open to guests.

When the Washington area temple was built, it hosted a similar open house before its 1974 dedication. The church says more than 750,000 people visited during that one-month period of tours.

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