Excitement grows as temples rise

Spirituality and excitement of Church members are growing as temples rise in Orlando, Fla., and Bountiful, Utah.

Both temples have been under construction for about a year, and both are beginning to assume a striking presence.In addition to these two temples under construction, another eight temples have been announced. (See adjacent list.) The Church currently has 45 temples in operation.

In Orlando, where workers have the benefit of a mild winter climate, the superstructure is nearly complete and a gold-leafed statue of the Angel Moroni has been placed atop the single spire. Exterior precast facing stone covers about half of the building, as well. Situated on a knoll in the Butler Chain of Lakes area, the temple is visible from a nearby freeway as it rises above a carpet of trees and shrubbery. Ground was broken for the Orlando Temple by Elder James E. Faust of the Council of the Twelve on June 20, 1992.

In Bountiful, the concrete work of the temple is near completion, and work on the parking structure started this spring. The massive concrete walls of the imposing edifice are highly visible from the valley below. The temple overlooks south Davis County. Ground was broken for the Bountiful temple by President Ezra Taft Benson on May 2, 1992.

Both temples are approaching the halfway mark in construction.

Alvie R. Evans, regional representative and vice chairman of the Orlando Florida Temple committee, said the members in the district are growing increasingly excited about the temple.

The Orlando Florida Temple district includes the state of Florida, and the Douglas and Savannah stakes in Georgia.

"It is beginning to look very much like a temple," he said. "The members are very enthusiastic. They ride by the temple and they are very happy."

He said that "as the temple is being completed, it is coming to reflect the spirit of what is going to be there, and it is exciting to watch it. A wonderful spirit of cooperation is coming."

He noted that several newspapers have done or are planning major articles about the temple. Observers, he said, have noted that the quality of workmanship is excellent.

Rulon D. Munns, coordinator of the open house committee, said that as the temple begins to take shape, acceptance of the edifice by those in the local area seems to be increasing. In addition, "The membership in the temple district is thrilled and excited," he said.

"Several of the stake presidents have called me, asking what they could do," he said. Because there is presently little in the way of clean up to be done, leaders are working on "strengthening individual family history programs in stakes, and mentally preparing people to be committed to give time, energy and resources to support and sustain the temple when it is completed," Brother Munns said.

"In a general sense, we hear a lot more discussion about the temple."

He said Florida members have had a solid record of supporting the Atlanta temple and "hopefully the [OrlandoT temple will be well-used."

Blaine P. Jensen, regional representative and vice chairman of the Bountiful Utah Temple committee, said the spiritual preparation has started in the 28 stakes in the district that extends from North Salt Lake to Kaysville in Davis County. During the past year, every LDS family received an 8 1/2X11 photo of the temple, and almost all Primary children were given small pictures of the temple. Many non-member families also received the temple photos, he said.

"While the temple is being built, we've tried to build ourselves spiritually so we will be as ready to go into that holy house as that holy house is ready to be presented to the Lord for sacred ordinances that are there.

"We anticipate that as the intensity of meetings in preparation for the temple increases, so will the intensity of that message going out to the saints."

He said the Utah North Area has a goal for every adult in the area to hold a current temple recommend, and use it.

This "inspired goal," the centennial of the Salt Lake Temple and the 1993 temple theme of Primary "could not have come at a better time in terms of our emphasis on the Bountiful Temple," he said. "At every meeting we attend, there is some reference to the temple and temple worthiness."

He said he expected the temple to become know as "the temple on the hill" and to be the spiritual hub of the valley. "We lift our eyes to the temple on the hill," said Elder Jensen. "The whole idea of lifting and looking up, and lifting ourselves is a very sacred and special way to view and to think about and to ponder over and pray about the temple."

Elder Jensen said that members of the temple committee feel extremely blessed for the opportunity to serve on the committee. "We just marvel to each other . . . . To be intimately involved in the groundbreaking, the open house and the dedication of the House of the Lord is so humbling and overwhelming.

"We want to make every planning meeting a spiritual experience and a spiritual refreshment for all of us who participate . . . so we can have the constant companionship of the Spirit and do what the Lord wants done, not what we want done. And we are serious about that, very serious."

F. Mac Christensen, executive secretary to the temple committee, commented, "When you look up from the freeway from about any area in the South Davis County, you can see the temple, and it is going to be so beautiful."

At the groundbreaking ceremonies, he said: "The Spirit was just overwhelming. There is no question in our minds but that this area has been preserved for a temple."

Future temples

The following temples have been previously announced and are in various stages of planning:

Bogota Colombia

Hong Kong

Guayaquil Ecuador

Hartford Connecticut

Preston England

St. Louis Missouri

Mt. Timpanogos Utah


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