Ground was broken today for the Provo City Center Temple of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormons), the Church's second temple in Provo and 16th in Utah. Elder Jeffrey R. Holland of the Church’s Quorum of the Twelve Apostles presided over the morning ceremony.
“What an absolute stunning site!” declared Elder Holland. “It is a picture-perfect day in Utah County. The temple site is filled with faithful people making history.” He said he was deeply touched today. In fact, he said, “You can tell people Elder Holland was downright giddy today about the temple groundbreaking.”
Referring to the Provo Tabernacle that burned in December 2010, Elder Holland and his wife, Patricia, remarked how their family was impacted when the tabernacle burned. “We all felt bereft and forsaken when the tabernacle burned,” said Sister Holland. “When I told my children about the tabernacle, they wept.”
“It is inspired to build a temple out of the ashes of the tabernacle,” said Elder Holland. Having two temples within miles of each other (Provo Utah Temple) is a “tribute to you that the Brethren would approve another temple here. That says very much about you.”
After his remarks he dedicated the temple site in preparation for construction and eventual completion of the temple.
Also delivering remarks were Elder L. Whitney Clayton of the Presidency of the Seventy, Elder William R. Walker of the Seventy and Elder Cecil O. Samuelson, emeritus member of the Seventy and president of Brigham Young University. A choir made up of members of the Church in the Provo area performed.
The temple will be built on the site of the Provo Tabernacle, which burned in December 2010. The building was originally constructed from 1883 to 1898 at a cost of $100,000 and was a historic treasure for the Church. It was also a community gathering place for meetings and cultural events. One such popular event was Handel's Messiah sung each year at Christmastime in the tabernacle.
Church leaders contemplated the future of the tabernacle’s shell, which included only the spires. A decision was made, and Church President Thomas S. Monson announced the building’s future purpose in a session of general conference 1 October 2011.