Pylons mark progress of temple

THE HAGUE, Netherlands — Construction of The Hague Netherlands Temple continues following a public ceremony held Dec. 16, 2000, to mark the start of driving pylons into the ground. Like much of the Netherlands, Zoetermeer, a city on the outskirts of The Hague where the temple is located, is below sea level and requires pylons to stabilize structures.

The mayor of Zoetermeer was among the estimated 350 spectators who watched as construction workers, dressed in white overcoats, prepared equipment for the driving of the pylons. When all was ready, the mayor activated the machinery. A large pylon driver began pounding the steel pylons into the ground.

After a few ceremonial ground-shaking jolts, Elder John K. Carmack of the Seventy and president of the Europe Central Area switched off the machine.

Construction of the temple has gained much public and media attention since ground was broken on Aug. 26, 2000. Dutch laws prohibit the construction of buildings that are closed to the public. The government, however, granted an exemption from the law.

During groundbreaking ceremonies, Elder Carmack spoke of the sanctity of the day by quoting the praises found in Psalms.

"It is a beautiful area," Elder Carmack said. "The translation of the city's name, 'Zoetermeer' is sweet lake city," he said, drawing a comparison with Salt Lake City.

The temple site is located on ground once owned by another denomination. After the chapel of the former denomination was demolished and excess water was drained, the ground was prepared for the pylons. Once the pylons were driven, the excavation site was filled with water to test the stability of the ground.

The temple is being constructed within the boundaries of the Rotterdam Netherlands Stake, which on March 12, 1961, was the first non-English-speaking stake to be organized.

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