Announcement: 1 July 1952
Groundbreaking and Site Dedication: 5 August 1953 by David O. McKay
Public Open House: 9–10 September 1955
Dedication: 11–15 September 1955 by David O. McKay
Public Open House: 8–17 October 1992
Rededication: 23–25 October 1992 by Gordon B. Hinckley
The Bern Switzerland Temple stands on a gently sloping hill in the village of Zollikofen, right next to a national forest; as well as being near the Aare River, and the Swiss Alps. It gets its name from the near by capital city of Bern, and is easily accessible being only a four-minute walk from the Zollikofen railroad station and street car terminal.
This temple is know for being first in many things. It was the first temple in Europe, the first overseas, the first to show a film presentation of the endowment ceremony, the first to have a language other than English as its predominant language, and the first temple to be announced after the end of WWII. It’s also a sister temple to the Hamilton New Zealand Temple, and is known for paving early stepping stones towards internationalizing the Church.
In 1990, the temple was closed for extensive remodeling and refurnishing that tool two and a half years. It was formally rededicated in 1992 with updated interior and more endowment and sealing rooms. The angel Moroni statue was added in 2005 as part of its 50th anniversary.
President McKay, in 1953, gave a charge to Gordon B. Hinckley – who at the time had responsibilities in the Missionary Department of the Church – to find a way to present the temple instruction in multiple languages but using a minimum number of temple workers; all with a two-year time limit. This lead to the recommendation of using a filmed presentation in its various languages. The priesthood assembly room of the Salt Lake Temple was temporarily converted into a production studio for a full year to produce the film. First in English, then with new casts for 7 additional translations in European languages.
Brother Hinckley and President William F. Perschon of the Swiss-Austrian Mission had to report to customs due to issues with allowing Hinckley to deliver the films into the country. Miraculously the necessary paperwork was completed without government officials viewing the sacred film footage as required.