Elder John K. Carmack of the Seventy and president of the North America East Area, who presided over the groundbreaking services, spoke of the importance of temples in the life of the eternal family.
Joseph Smith was intensely interested in the work of temples in the later years of his life, noted Elder Carmack.
Having built the Kirtland Temple, laid the groundwork for two temples in Missouri, and nearly completed the Nauvoo Temple, explained Elder Carmack, the Prophet was "preoccupied" with temples and seeing that the Quorum of the Twelve had received the ordinances.
Elder Carmack pointed out that "the way we live here has consequences in the next life."
He then quoted Hugh Nibley in saying that ordinances create order from chaos, and that like an observatory, the temple helps one get a bearing on the universe.
After recounting his ties to the area through his father who grew up in Hopkinsville, Ky., Elder Carmack highlighted how several converts from the area, namely Abraham O. Smoot, who helped establish Brigham Young University, and Thomas E. Ricks, who established Ricks College, were influential in the early days of the Church in Utah.
About 800 members from the area gathered on a day of "pristine beauty" to break ground on the temple located adjacent to a meetinghouse in Crestwood, a suburb of Louisville.
During the services, Paul Moeck, president of the Lexington Kentucky Stake, recounted the history of the Church in the area by noting that Joseph Smith passed through Louisville for three days in 1832 on his way to Missouri and that the first congregation in Kentucky was organized in 1834.
The temple will serve about 21,000 members from the 10 stakes in the temple district.