Members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in St. George await the dedication of the city’s second temple with excitement and joy, according to Church leaders and local members.
General Young Women’s first counselor Sister Tamara W. Runia, Elder Hugo E. Martinez and Elder Jonathan S. Schmidt of the Seventy shared their thoughts on what will be St. George’s second temple.
Sister Runia said the temple is first and foremost a home, and that it is about relationships, families and communities.
“It has been said that Heaven is under our feet as well as over our heads … I also have heard it said that it is in all of the people that you see around you,” she said.
According to Elder Schmidt, the open house will be an opportunity to invite friends and family to come and feel the Spirit in the temple.
“As we enter into the temple, we can leave the noise, we can leave the chaos, we can leave our trials and challenges behind. We can find a place of peace, of comfort and of holiness. That is so needed in today’s day and age,” he said.
Elder Schmidt’s fourth great-grandparents were among the first pioneer settlers of Southern Utah’s Toquerville, he said.
“I can only imagine that they would just have wonder and amazement at the reality that there is not just one, but two temples in this area,” he said.
Temples are built depending heavily on the activity and participation of the members in the area, Elder Martinez said. St. George has many members who are well prepared to do temple and family history work, he said.
“That’s why we have increasing temples in the Utah area … the Lord is bringing temples closer to the people that need them,” he said.
Elder Martinez’s wife, Sister Nuria Martinez, said she and her husband used to live in places where they had to travel several hours, sometimes overseas, to attend the temple.
“To have a temple close by is such a big blessing … People here can go as often as they can find an appointment and make an effort to go as often as they can,” she said.
Aubrey Grossen is a local member in the Red Cliffs Utah Temple area and is on the open house committee.
Having the temple in the area will remind members of God’s presence in their lives, even just by driving past it, she said.
With the closure and remodeling of the historic St. George Temple, Grossen said the area hadn’t had an operating temple for several years.
“Our town is ready for this,” she said.
The Red Cliffs Utah temple open house will begin on Feb. 1 and continue until March 2. Reservations are available online. The temple will be dedicated by President Henry B. Eyring on Sunday, March 24.