ST. GEORGE — The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints announced Thursday evening that the official groundbreaking for Washington County’s second temple will be in November, though church officials did not given an exact date.
The groundbreaking for the Red Cliffs Utah Temple will be overseen by Elder Jeffrey R. Holland of the church’s Quorum of Twelve Apostle, a high-ranking church leader and St. George native.
The groundbreaking will be by invitation only due to local social distancing guidelines.
Located at the corner of 3000 East and 1580 South in St. George, the new temple will be around 90,000 square feet in size and built on a site covering approximately 14 acres.
The incoming temple was announced by church President Russell M. Nelson during the LDS church’s October 2018 general conference, with the exact location not being disclosed until November 2019. Work on the new temple site began in April.
Originally referred to as the Washington County Utah Temple, the First Presidency announced the official name of the temple in mid-July.
Latter-day Saints make up just under two-thirds of Utah’s overall 3.2 million population and are served by over 24 temples spread across the state that are currently in operation, as well as some under renovation – like the St. George Utah Temple – or that have been announced but are still in various stages of completion.
Southern Utah’s first temple closed in November 2019 for renovation and upgrades and is expected to reopen in 2022. Area residents previously served by the St. George Utah Temple were required to travel to one of the LDS temples in Las Vegas or Cedar City after it closed.
However, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the church suspended temple services worldwide, though they have since partially reopened select temples in a limited capacity.
Latter-day Saints consider temples to be the “house of the Lord,” the most sacred places on Earth. Temples differ from the meeting houses or chapels where all are welcome to attend Sunday worship services. In the temple, according to LDS church descriptions, the teachings of Jesus Christ are believed to be reaffirmed through marriage, baptism and other ceremonies that unite families for eternity.
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