Announced: Originally announced Nov. 9, 1994. Revised plans announced April 25, 1998.
Location: Franklin, about 15 miles south of Nashville, at 1100 Gray Fox Lane near Mack Hatcher Parkway; Franklin TN 37069-6501; phone: (615) 791-8668.
Site: 6.86 acres, including adjoining meetinghouse.
Exterior finish: White Imperial Danby marble.
Temple design: Classic modern.
Architect: Robert Waldrip of Joyce Prout & Associates and Church A&E Services.
Project manager: Leon Rowley.
Contractor: Layton Construction Co., construction management company; MPact Construction Group, general contractor.
Rooms: Celestial room, baptistry, two ordinance rooms, two sealing rooms.
Total floor area: 10,700 square feet.
Dimensions: 149 feet by 77 feet.
District: Seven stakes in Kentucky and Tennessee.
Groundbreaking, site dedication: March 13, 1999, by Elder John K. Carmack of the Seventy; and president of the North America East Area.
Dedication: May 21, 2000, by President James E. Faust, second counselor in the First Presidency; 4 sessions.
Done by President James E. Faust
Our Eternal Father in Heaven, hallowed be Thy name, Thou great Elohim. We come unto Thee in solemn prayer on this historic day of dedication. Our hearts are filled with gratitude for this beautiful temple which has been erected as Thine abode, the house of the Lord.
As was done in Kirtland, we today pray "that thy glory may rest down upon thy people, and upon this thy house, which we now dedicate to Thee, that it may be sanctified and consecrated to be holy, and that thy holy presence may be continually in this house;
"And that all people who shall enter upon the threshold of the Lord's house may feel thy power, and feel constrained to acknowledge that thou hast sanctified it, and that it is thy house, a place of thy holiness" (D&C 109: 12-13).
Acting in the authority of the holy priesthood which Thou hast vested in us, and in the name of Jesus Christ, our Redeemer, we dedicate and consecrate unto Thee and Thy Beloved Son this, the Nashville Tennessee Temple of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
We thank Thee for the purpose for which it has been built. Here in the authority of the fullness of Thy priesthood will be provided those ordinances which Thou hast designed for the salvation and exaltation of Thy children, both those now living, and those who have passed beyond the veil of death.
We dedicate the entire structure, including the grounds on which it stands with their beautiful vegetation. We dedicate the building from the footings to the figure of Moroni atop the steeple. We dedicate the beautiful baptistry, the facilities for the administration of ordinances, including the endowment rooms, the magnificent celestial room, and the sealing rooms with their sacred altars. We dedicate every other facility found in this Thy sacred house.
It is our gift of love. Please accept of it, dear Father, as an expression of the faith we have in Thine eternal purposes. This sacred structure stands as a monument before the world of our belief in the immortality of the human soul and that a great work is going forward on the other side of the veil to bring blessings to those who will accept the ordinances which will be performed in their behalf in this Thy house.
We thank Thee for the Prophet Joseph Smith, unto whom Thou didst reveal these ordinances which are everlasting in their efficacy. We thank Thee that Thou didst bestow upon him the keys of the everlasting priesthood in which authority these ordinances will be administered.
Bless Thy Church in all the world. Bless the messengers of eternal truth who go out to declare Thy gospel. Protect and watch over them, and lead them to those who will accept the truth. Bless all who enter the waters of baptism, that they may do so with resolution in their hearts to remain ever faithful to the covenants they make with Thee. Bless all who come into the Church that they may look forward with eagerness to the day when they may enter this Thy holy house and receive the higher ordinances of the gospel. May Zion grow and flourish in this part of Thy vineyard.
We pray for the temple workers, for the presidency of the temple, for the matron and her assistants, and for all who serve in any way. Bless them with joy and gladness in that which they do whether they be workers or patrons. Bless Thy faithful Saints everywhere. Prosper them, increase their faith, strengthen their families, pour down upon them the comforting, enlightening blessings of the Holy Ghost.
We pray for all who stand at the head of Thy work throughout the earth. Grant unto them strength and vitality, and above all, words of revelation concerning the on rolling of Thy great kingdom.
Now, Father, we bow before Thee in humility. Accept of our love. Let Thy blessings distill upon us as the dews from heaven. May we walk with faith, never faltering in the testimonies which we carry in our hearts concerning Thee, and Thy precious Son, our Redeemer. For all of this we humbly pray in His sacred name, even the name of Jesus Christ, amen.
Rain didn’t dampen spirits for Nashville groundbreaking
By Kim Snow Barker
Church News contributor
NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Heavy rains and cold temperatures didn't dampen the spirits of approximately 1,500 members from central Tennessee and southern Kentucky who turned out March 13 to join the groundbreaking ceremonies for the Nashville Tennessee Temple.
"It's the faith, righteousness and prayers of the people in this area that brought the temple here," said Elder John K. Carmack of the Seventy and president of the North America East Area.
The temple, announced 4 1/2 years ago, will be built on property adjacent to the Franklin Tennessee Stake Center, about 20 miles south of Nashville. Local government officials joined Elder Carmack and five stake presidents from the area in the ceremonies.
Drenching rains complicated the groundbreaking ceremonies by requiring officials to hold an umbrella in one hand, while struggling to turn the muddy soil in the other.
Speakers at the groundbreaking services, which drew members from the Nashville, Franklin and McMinnville stakes in Tennessee and from Hopkinsville and Paducah stakes in Kentucky, included Elder Carmack, Pres. Byron L. Smith of the Franklin Tennessee Stake and Pres. Billy J. Eaves of the Nashville Tennessee Stake.
In his comments prior to the site dedicatory prayer, Elder Carmack drew an analogy between the challenges of securing a site for the temple and Jacob in the Old Testament who worked and waited more than seven years to marry Rachel.
Elder Carmack quoted D&C 124:36 and noted that temples as "appointed for refuge" by the Lord were prophesied to be associated with stakes.
He also recounted several highlights in Church history to demonstrate that the construction of the temple in Nashville is one of many events illustrating the hand of the Lord in the affairs of the Church in the area.
Elder Carmack related a missionary experience of Wilford Woodruff who came to the area a little later. He described how Elder Woodruff entered a tavern one day and asked the owner for food and lodging after being mud splattered on a rainy day.
The owner offered food and lodging if Elder Woodruff would preach to some of his friends. Elder Woodruff agreed. That evening he was greeted by several hundred men who had assembled with the intent to embarrass the Mormon.
Elder Carmark said that Elder Woodruff began by asking them to sing with him, but they refused. He then asked them to join in prayer, but again they refused. He then silently pled with the Lord to understand what to do. The Lord blessed him to know all the sins of those assembled. As he proceeded to tell the crowd what he knew, they began to leave, one by one.
Since the first mission was organized in Nashville in 1875, the Church has grown to about 30,000 members in the area.
Pres. Smith recounted the struggles of faith required to build a temple in Nashville, while Pres. Eaves urged the members to gain the spirit of temple worship and not merely of temple attendance.
Second temple adds to Tennessee peace
By R. Scott Lloyd
Church News staff writer
FRANKLIN, Tenn. — Clouds parted within an hour after President James E. Faust had dedicated the new Nashville Tennessee Temple Sunday, May 21, in this picturesque suburb 15 miles south of the state capital, for which the temple is named.
Brilliant sunshine was welcome after two days of overcast skies and showers, and it seemed to symbolize the light with which a temple's presence illuminates an area.
It is in fact a brighter day for Tennessee, which has now seen the dedication of two temples in as many months. (The Memphis Tennessee Temple was dedicated April 23. See Church News, April 29 issue.) Once the location of 19th Century battle and strife, Tennessee today is a place of peace, prosperity and deep religious faith.
The scene of bitter persecution (two LDS missionaries and two members were killed at Cane Creek in Lewis County Aug. 10, 1884), Tennessee has seen a surge of missionary work and the resultant growth and good will in recent years.
A temple for Nashville did not come without a six-year struggle that included zoning denials on two previous tracts of land, with opponents citing increased traffic and neighborhood disruption as the reason for their opposition.
Finally, construction was approved for one of the new generation of smaller temples to be built adjacent to the Franklin Tennessee Stake Center on a site at 1100 Gray Fox Lane near Mack Hatcher Parkway. (The stake center was remodeled concomitantly with the temple construction.)
The new temple is in an immaculate residential and rural area next to a venerable old private high school called the Battle Ground Academy and near two 100-acre horse farms.
Though substantial misunderstanding and opposition is still manifest in the Nashville area, indications are the Church is enjoying an increasingly favorable image.
"We have seen a windfall of publicity in the last few weeks" in connection with the public open house and dedication, said President Alan L. Soderquist of the Franklin stake. "Virtually every day there has been something in the newspaper."
Indeed, a glance at recent articles about the Church and the temple in Nashville's major daily, The Tennessean, reveals a plethora of items, most of them favorably disposed. Writing in the May 16 issue, columnist Tim Chavez observed: "During the past two decades [LDS] membership has grown by 80 percent to 100 percent in some Southern states, according to the Associated Press. Tennessee is one of them — with a projected increase from 15,839 members in 1980 to 29,000 last year. But you ain't seen nothing yet. . . .
"Followers are strongly into the preservation of family — now and in the afterlife. . . .
"Then there's the denomination's genealogy work. It fits the South's fascination with heritage.
"All these characteristics make the Mormon church a lean, mean outreach machine."
Among the most recent outreach efforts, of course, is the temple open house May 6-13, during which more than 24,300 toured the temple's interior, according to Byron Smith, temple committee coordinator who was recently released as Franklin stake president.
"We had a lot of good VIPs come through the temple. We took almost 50 such groups through in the seven days that we had." These included the president of the Southern Baptist Convention, an ex-governor of Tennessee and the mayor and city council members in Franklin. Some 30 congregations from other religions toured the temple as did 60-70 groups with their respective professors from the divinity school at Nashville's Vanderbilt University.
"At one time, Elder [Loren C.] Dunn [of the Seventy] hosted a group with two Catholic priests, two Catholic nuns, three Church of Christ ministers, two Presbyterian ministers, two city councilmen and a Jewish rabbi, all on the same tour," he noted.
At the beginning of the first of the four dedicatory sessions, President Faust, second counselor in the First Presidency, applied mortar to the cornerstone cover in the traditional ceremony, as did Elder Russell M. Nelson of the Quorum of the Twelve; Elder Dunn, North America East Area president; their spouses; the temple presidency and matrons and a few children.
Among those gathered to witness the cornerstone ceremony was Delbert Tingey, 83, of the Westwood Ward in Mesa, Ariz., a former Oklahoma Tulsa Mission president who was a missionary in Tennessee 63 years ago. He had come to the dedication with some of his posterity, including grandson Dennis Tingey, who, some 50 years later, was called to serve in the Tennessee Nashville Mission.
"I think Dennis was a bit disappointed that all of his friends had gone to Brazil and all around, and he was sent to Tennessee," Brother Tingey recalled. "So I told him, 'Don't feel bad, Dennis. They're sending you back to finish up the work your grandfather didn't do.' And that's what he did."
In fact, Dennis interviewed a man for baptism whose wife had been baptized by Dennis' grandfather a half-century earlier.
Mentioned by Elder Nelson in the first session as one of the long-time stalwarts of the area was Philander K. Smartt, a former stake president from Chattanooga who presided over the California Oakland Mission in 1994-97. His great-grandfather donated the property on which still stands the Northcutts Cove Chapel, the oldest existing LDS meetinghouse in Tennessee.
"Being a fourth-generation Latter-day Saint from the South, I can say it means a lot to us because of the people who've gone before us who had to go through all the persecution," said Brother Smartt, who was the first Chattanoogan to attend BYU and to serve a mission. "And now, we have a beautiful temple here and stakes all over the state. We've come a long way."