A new building will soon be added to the Philadelphia skyline. Leaders from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormon), with the help of local community leaders, broke ground for the Philadelphia Pennsylvania Temple on Saturday, 17 September 2011.
President Henry B. Eyring of the Church's First Presidency presided over the groundbreaking ceremony. At his side was Elder Jay E. Jensen of the Presidency of the Seventy, Elder William R. Walker, executive director of the Church’s Temple Department, and Elder Robert B. Smith of the Seventy. The Church leaders were joined by Mayor Michael Nutter and other local community and religious dignitaries. Thousands of Latter-day Saints watched a broadcast of the event in local chapels.
"The work done in these sacred buildings becomes the crowning element of our religious worship," said President Henry B. Eyring. "For Latter-day Saints, no building is more sacred than a dedicated temple of God."
The site, located at 1739 Vine Street in downtown Philadelphia, is adjacent to the Vine Street Expressway and neighboring Courts Building and situated diagonally across the street from Logan Square, a prominent Philadelphia landmark.
"The temple that we build here will add to the grandeur of the city and in particular it will add to the spirit of brotherly love, which is a hallmark of our faith and of our religion," said Elder William R. Walker. "We are confident that citizens of Philadelphia of all faiths will similarly admire the beauty of the temple and see it as a symbol of peace, harmony and faith."
The Philadelphia Pennsylvania Temple was announced by Church President Thomas S. Monson in October 2008. Currently, there are 135 operating temples in the world, with another 25 that have been announced or are under construction.
The temple will serve approximately 30,000 Church members who live in eight stakes (similar to dioceses) in Pennsylvania, Delaware and parts of New Jersey and Maryland.
"A central purpose of the Philadelphia Temple and all other temples in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is to ensure that all family members can be together forever and no child youth or adult will ever be forgotten," said Elder Jay E. Jensen at the groundbreaking ceremony.
Another groundbreaking for a new temple in Trujillo, Peru took place on Wednesday, 14 September presided over by Elder Rafael E. Pino of the Seventy. The Trujillo Peru Temple will serve more than 88,000 Latter-day Saints in the region.
The Trujillo Peru Temple becomes the third temple in South America now in the planning and construction phases, along with temples planned for Manaus, Brazil, and Córdoba, Argentina, bringing the total number of temples in South America to 17.
Latter-day Saint missionaries began preaching in Trujillo in 1960. The first baptisms in the original Trujillo Branch — a small congregation, then part of the Andes Mission — were performed in February 1961. In 1963 the first meetinghouse was dedicated in Trujillo. The first stake in Trujillo was eventually organized in January 1978 by Thomas S. Monson, then a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles — the second-highest governing body of the Church. President Monson now serves as worldwide leader of the Church.
For more than 14 million Latter-day Saints throughout the world, temples are sacred “houses of the Lord” where families can be united for eternity.
Once construction is complete on each temple, public open houses will be scheduled and announced. Following the open houses, the temples will be formally dedicated and thereafter used by faithful members of the Church for marriages, baptisms and other sacred ordinances intended to provide eternal family relationships.
Latter-day Saint temples differ from the Church’s meetinghouses or chapels where members meet for Sunday worship services. Temples are considered “houses of the Lord” where Christ's teachings are reaffirmed through marriage, baptism and other ordinances that unite families for eternity. In the temple, Church members learn more about the purpose of life and strengthen their commitment to serve Jesus Christ and those around them.