Locals crowded downtown Provo, gathered at local chapels and even stood atop parking garages Saturday morning to hear the groundbreaking ceremony for the Provo City Center Temple.
Standing in front of the remains of the Provo Tabernacle, Elder Jeffrey R. Holland of the Quorum of the Twelve and his wife Patricia T. Holland both addressed attendees.
“Sometimes we’re so close to history we don’t realize we’re making it,” Elder Holland said.
He thanked church members in the area for temple attendance and encouraged further temple service.
“It’s acknowledged how faithful and devoted you all have been to all matters of faith in the kingdom, including temple attendance,” Elder Holland said. “I’m grateful that the brethren have made the inspired decision, truly to build this temple out of the ashes of this beloved tabernacle that we loved.”
Elder William W. Walker, Elder L. Whitney Clayton and Elder Cecil O. Samuelson, president of BYU, also made remarks. President Samuelson said it was a wonderful day for Brigham Young University as well as for the area.
“We need to understand that a BYU education is really not complete, nor has it reached its full heaven-intended potential, unless it is joined with a consistent pattern of temple worship and service,” Samuelson said.
After Elder Holland blessed the site and the meeting concluded, the Hollands and others from the community turned over the ground with shovels made from beams salvaged from the tabernacle.
Community and government officials were also in attendance, including Utah Gov. Gary Herbert, U.S. Sen. Mike Lee and U.S. Representative for the area, Jason Chaffetz.
“This will be a great blessing to the entire community of Provo and the surrounding communities,” Elder Walker said.
The Provo City Center Temple, the second temple to be built in the city of Provo, is one of 29 temples President Thomas S. Monson has announced since becoming church president. The announcement came after a fire gutted the Provo Tabernacle in December of 2010.
The new temple’s district will serve members of the LDS Church in eight Springville and eight Provo stakes. The temple is slated for completion in two and a half years.