Speaking to a small number of invited guests and thousands more watching via broadcast, Elder Mark A. Bragg made a noteworthy observation during the Yorba Linda California Temple groundbreaking ceremony on Saturday, June 18.
Outside of the pioneer corridor — the area in Utah, Idaho and Arizona settled by early Latter-day Saints in the late 1800s — “there is not another county in North America that will have two temples within its borders,” said Elder Bragg, a General Authority Seventy and president of the Church’s North America West Area.
Orange County, California, will soon be home to two Latter-day Saint temples: the Newport Beach temple and the Yorba Linda temple.
The Yorba Linda California Temple will be built about 22 miles north of the Newport Beach California Temple, which was dedicated in 2005 by President Gordon B. Hinckley. The new temple will be the fourth in the metropolitan area — joining temples in Los Angeles and Redlands — and the ninth in the state.
“It is unique and a manifestation of the growth of the Church in this part of the Lord’s vineyard,” Elder Bragg said of a second temple in Orange County.
Elder Bragg presided at the groundbreaking ceremony of the Yorba Linda temple, and a news release of the event was published on ChurchofJesusChrist.org. The ceremony included remarks by members of local congregations and a performance by a children’s choir.
“It is an honor to be here on this beautiful California summer day to dedicate this site for the construction of a sacred temple — a house of, and unto, the Lord,” said Elder Bragg.
Referencing the motto for the City of Yorba Linda — “Land of gracious living” — Elder Bragg promised “that this house of the Lord will represent the highest in gracious living and those who enter will leave with a higher commitment to gracious living. … We commit to being neighbors of gracious living.”
“May this day connect us in a very personal way with eternity and with our departed ancestors,” Elder Bragg said in the dedicatory prayer. “We pray for Thy Spirit to pour down on this area that we might dedicate our efforts to stay on the covenant path and to help others enter and stay on that path.”
Yorba Linda was one of the 20 new temple locations that President Russell M. Nelson announced during the April 2021 general conference. The temple will be constructed on a 5.4-acre site at the intersection of Bastanchury Road and Osmond Street. Plans call for a single-story edifice of approximately 30,000 square feet.
An exterior rendering of the temple was released on Sept. 17, 2021. Due to permitting and zoning requirements, a revised rendering was released on June 10. The redesign of the temple focuses on the spire, which has been lowered and moved from the center of the building to just above the entrance.
California is home to seven operating temples — in Fresno, Los Angeles, Newport Beach, Oakland, Redlands, Sacramento and San Diego. An eighth temple, the Feather River California Temple, is under construction. A temple for the Modesto, California, area was announced during April 2022 general conference.
About 750,000 Latter-day Saints in more than 1,200 congregations reside in the state, with 21,000-plus in the Yorba Linda temple district.
Correction: An earlier version of this article did not include Arizona as a place with a county with two or more Latter-day Saint temples. Maricopa County has three.