Thousands gather for LDS temple groundbreaking ceremony; STGnews Videocast, Photo Gallery

CEDAR CITY – Thousands of people gathered in Southern Utah, northern Nevada and eastern Arizona stake centers and high up on the hill in Cedar City early Saturday morning either via live broadcast or in person, to participate in the groundbreaking ceremony for the Cedar City Temple of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints  the 17th LDS temple in Utah.

Thousands gather for the groundbreaking of the new Cedar City Utah Temple, 300 S. Cove Drive, Cedar City, Utah, August 8, 2015 | Photo taken by Carin Miller, St. George News
Thousands gather for the groundbreaking of the new Cedar City Utah Temple, 300 S. Cove Drive, Cedar City, Utah, Aug. 8, 2015 | Photo by Carin Miller, St. George News

The on-site ceremony was not open to the public. Those in attendance came by invitation only. Still, church leaders made sure the entire event was broadcast live to each of the 17 stake centers located within the Cedar City Utah Temple district, allowing the public to participate as well.

Generations of families, community leaders from the 17 stakes that reside in the Cedar City Temple district, church leaders and media all filed in hours before the historic groundbreaking began to ensure they got a good seat.  

As more than 1,400 invitees filtered in through the gates, mingling among themselves and greeting other devout worshipers belonging to the Mormon Church, a choir made up of members of the 17 church stakes within the district serenaded attendees.  

Despite the tremendous volume of people who drove to the site at 300 S. Cove Drive, the traffic remained well organized. Many found room to park within the boundaries of the gates, while others lined the streets in the surrounding area and either walked in or took advantage of the shuttle that was made available to attendees.

Thousands gather for the groundbreaking of the new Cedar City Utah Temple, 300 S. Cove Drive, Cedar City, Utah, August 8, 2015 | Photo taken by Carin Miller, St. George News
Thousands gather for the groundbreaking of the new Cedar City Utah Temple, 300 S. Cove Drive, Cedar City, Utah, Aug. 8, 2015 | Photo by Carin Miller, St. George News

The heat was on early as the sun rose high over the assemblage, leaving many grateful to the church volunteers for the cold bottles of water they supplied.

Though there were no canopies or trees for shade, many audience members brought along their own shade by way of umbrellas. Shortly before the ceremony began, the audience was practically a sea of umbrellas. But, the moment Elder Kent F. Richards of the church’s Second Quorum of the Seventy took to the podium, the umbrellas quickly disappeared. 

After opening remarks by Richards, the ceremony began with the hymn “Come, Come, Ye Saints,” directed by Brother Keith Bradshaw and accompanied by Sister Tracy Bradshaw.

Thousands gather for the groundbreaking of the new Cedar City Utah Temple, 300 S. Cove Drive, Cedar City, Utah, August 8, 2015 | Photo taken by Carin Miller, St. George News
Thousands gather for groundbreaking of the new Cedar City Utah Temple, 300 S. Cove Drive, Cedar City, Utah, Aug. 8, 2015 | Photo by Carin Miller, St. George News

Homage was paid to the Mormon pioneers who worked hard to establish a path for what the church calls “the faithful” to follow and, by so doing, allowing the historic temple to come to fruition.

Sister Ruth Leavitt took the podium, sharing her testimony and speaking about the new temple to be erected in Cedar City. 

“Living in Cedar City, our children haven’t had this opportunity by being able to serve in the temple before going to school and work,” Leavitt said. “I wish they had. They are all grown now, but I’m really excited for my nine grandchildren who live here to have this opportunity when they turn 12.”

Thousands gather for the groundbreaking of the new Cedar City Utah Temple, 300 S. Cove Drive, Cedar City, Utah, August 8, 2015 | Photo taken by Carin Miller, St. George News
Thousands gather for groundbreaking of the new Cedar City Utah Temple, 300 S. Cove Drive, Cedar City, Utah, Aug. 8, 2015 | Photo by Carin Miller, St. George News

Beginning at age 12, young church members have the opportunity to obtain limited-use temple recommends and perform vicarious baptism services for deceased persons.

Two children who live just a few houses away from the site where the new temple is to be constructed shared that they were excited to be able to walk to a temple to perform their service.

Lainey Larson, 12, said it will be nice to be able to do temple work right in Cedar City, while her 9-year-old sister Katie Larson said she was too young for temple work, so she is excited about the prospect of inspiring others to join the church and walk the path of Jesus Christ.

The temple is expected to bring an abundance of visitors into the community, Cedar City Councilman Paul Cozzens said. But more than that, he said, the ability to walk from his home to the temple will be a blessing that allows him and his family to use it more often than they could when their only option was traveling to St. George and back.

Thousands gather for the groundbreaking of the new Cedar City Utah Temple, 300 S. Cove Drive, Cedar City, Utah, August 8, 2015 | Photo taken by Carin Miller, St. George News
One of the replica reliefs created by Cedar City Councilman Paul Cozzens for the groundbreaking event, 300 S. Cove Drive, Cedar City, Utah, August 8, 2015 | Photo taken by Carin Miller, St. George News

“Even though St. George wasn’t too far away,” he said, “it’s going to be nice having it right here, and it’s a very special time to be involved in this and to have the temple inaugurated.”

In preparation for the day’s event, Cozzens, who is also a carpenter, created a handmade relief of the temple to apply to the podium that, he said, was graciously donated by Southern Utah University for the ceremony.

After creating the first relief and applying it to the podium, Cozzens said, he realized that either side of the stage looked bare and so he created two more reliefs the Friday night before the groundbreaking to apply to either side of the stage .

“We did that so it could just add to the spirit of the gathering,” he said.

About LDS temples

A post on the LDS church website reads:

Temples are literally houses of the Lord. They are holy places of worship where individuals make sacred covenants with God.

Members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints who successfully pass worthiness interviews with clergy members are able to enter temples to perform sacred ordinances that, the LDS church teaches, will enable them to return to live with God.

Church members who attend the temple perform sacred ordinances for themselves on their first temple visit, and during subsequent visits they perform the ordinances by proxy for those who are dead; this is referred to by church members as “temple work.”

Young men and young women at the age of 12 are able to enter certain areas of the temple to participate in proxy baptisms for the dead.

One of the most important temple ordinances for Latter-day Saints is a sealing ceremony, which, members believe, binds a couple in marriage and/or a family together for eternity rather than “till death do us part.”

St. George News reporter Hollie Reina contributed to this report.

Click on photo to enlarge it, then use your left-right arrow keys to cycle through the gallery. 

Related posts

Email: cmiller@stgnews.com

Twitter: @STGnews

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2015, all rights reserved.

 

 

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9 Comments

  • fun bag August 8, 2015 at 10:17 pm

    Well, as much as I dislike the RCC, at least you don’t have to pony up 10% and huge swaths of your free time just to enter their cathedrals. Son, this hurr be a cult…

    • Free Parking August 9, 2015 at 3:26 pm

      I can’t wait to see what that idiot REAL LIFE DORK has to say because we all know how he respects you.. LOL.! I’m sure he has something nice to say…

  • native born new mexican August 8, 2015 at 10:45 pm

    Thank you St George news for the great coverage.

  • Simone August 8, 2015 at 11:06 pm

    Hey Mormons how about instead of building yet another shrine to Joseph Smith and yourselves (a building that does absolutely nothing to help to anyone at all and which no one but you can ever use) you use that money to build a hospital, homeless shelter, food pantry, school or any one of hundreds of other buildings that might actually help OTHER PEOPLE in the community? I mean, seriously, 8 of your church buildings in Cedar City is enough. You don’t need a “Temple” there. Last I checked, they were in pretty dire need of an upgrade to their homeless shelter though. Just sayin’.

    • radioviking August 9, 2015 at 7:51 am

      SIMONE, Yea, I hear you– not just the Mormons though!, imagine if EVERY religion actually used all the donations to help the poor and needy to learn basic living skills, career skills, and United together to help end poverty instead of building all their flashy temples, cathedrals, monuments, and “investment properties”!

      .
      Then do the same with all the wasteful government spending! Wow! Put all the means together to actually end poverty. But, alas, here is the truth: government and churches NEED the poor to need them! This is the evil of organizations most people never realize. They’re actually NOT about doing what they preach. That’s the scary truth! Wolves in sheeps clothing. Seriously, hear me out.

      .
      Think about it: if the poor got out of their poverty and became educated and truly self-reliant; they would see that they actually didn’t need churches or religion anymore. Then the government bureaucracies and churches would implode! Institutions NEED the “downtrodden”, the ignorant, and needy! That’s why they will never do what it I takes to truly free the suffering poor and needy. Job security is more important than solving the problem.

      .
      I’ve worked in government funded agencies AND served voluntarily in the LDS Church over the last 20 years. I’ve seen first hand how they – these organizations and institutions of men- rely on the poor and needy to be relevant! If there were no poor and needy, churches and government would be obsolete and they FEAR that. They will never let that happen.

      .
      The local and federal government agencies and all the churches – They’ve got to find other ways to spend all that money to look good to the world! They have their reward. Their pride is their crown. And, sadly, this is the major reason why we will always have the poor in our midst.

      • fun bag August 9, 2015 at 12:35 pm

        All well and good. But some people are just born dumb and they will always be ignorant and dumb. There’s always been the rulers and the ruled…

        • mesaman August 9, 2015 at 7:05 pm

          She shoe fits you very well.

  • Free Parking August 9, 2015 at 12:04 pm

    Another fine example of the LDS church building another useless monument to the stupidity of organized religion

  • munchie August 10, 2015 at 10:35 pm

    Looking at the pictures, you can see all of the diversity……in the umbrellas. Lots of different colors and patterns. However, the invitees all seem to be the lily-white members the church is famous for.

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