More than 162 years after the first temple of this dispensation was dedicated, members from 10 stakes in Ohio gathered here Sept. 12 to break ground for the second temple in the state - the first in current times.
Under the direction of Elder John K. Carmack of the Seventy and North America East Area president and his counselors, Elder Loren C. Dunn and W. Don Ladd, soil was turned for a temple in Columbus."The first temple in Ohio was for Moses, Elijah and Elias to restore the keys," said Elder Carmack. "Whether in Kirtland, Far West, Nauvoo or the valleys of the West, the temple is a school to wean us away from the things of the world. It is faith that has brought this temple. This people with their faith and courage deserve this temple."
Elder Dunn told the assembled crowd, "It is an honor to join at this sacred time with worthy people who have gone on before to lay the foundation."
Elder Ladd admonished members to make the most of the time prior to the dedication in approximately eight months. "Let's make this a time of rededication, a time of recomittment, a time of preparation and a time of gratitude to the Lord."
The groundbreaking ceremony was highlighted by a chorus of Primary children from seven stakes who stood on a small knoll overlooking the area and sang, "I Love to See the Temple."
Nearly 3,500 attended the early-morning ceremony. "I never thought that in my lifetime we would have a temple so close," said Teri McGlaughlin, whose parents joined the Church when she was young. "I grew up thinking temples were only in Utah, and you went there to get married. With the building of one in Washington, D.C., I thought that was as close as we would get."
The temple district includes the 10 stakes in Cincinnati, Dayton, Columbus, Cleveland, Akron and Kirtland. Members in those areas have been attending the Chicago, Toronto or Washington temples. Members residing in the Toledo Ohio Stake will attend the Detroit Michigan Temple when it is constructed.
The Columbus temple was announced April 25 by President Gordon B. Hinckley when he spoke at a member meeting in Columbus. (See Church News, May 2, 1998.)
Columbus is located about 150 miles south of the Church's first temple dedicated in 1836 in Kirtland. The Kirtland Temple still stands but is owned today by the Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. The Kirtland Temple was started in 1833 following revelations now recorded in the Doctrine & Covenants (See D&C 84:5 and 88:119.)
Other speakers at the Columbus temple groundbreaking ceremony included Keith L. Smith, Taulo C. Amorim, both Area Authority Seventies, and Richard N. Christensen, a counselor in the Ohio Columbus Mission who serves on the local temple committee.
Columbus Mayor Gregory S. Lashutka pledged his support for the temple during President Hinckley's visit.
In thanking the mayor for his support, Elder Smith said, "I told Mayor Lashutka that God will visit this hallowed building. The temple is literally the House of the Lord. I felt inspired to tell him that this city will prosper because of this temple."
"The mayor really came through for us," said Pres. Christensen. "[Mayor Lashutka] brought his department heads to a meeting with Church leaders and told them to make this building happen. The permit process has gone very smoothly and in 240 days, we'll have a temple."
The temple will be located in a wooded area near an existing stake center. The 10,000-square foot edifice will include a statue of the Angel Moroni atop a 75-foot high steeple.
Elder Smith said the early Saints had a rough time building the Kirtland Temple. "The journals report they worked with a trowel in one hand and a rifle in the other," he said.
The Church was headquartered in Kirtland for six years from 1832-38.
"We have keenly felt the Spirit testifying to us of the interest of the Prophet Joseph and those early Ohio saints who left this state and their beautiful temple," said Elder Smith. "We feel they are pleased with our work here. We have been blessed throughout the process."