Turning the ceremonial shovelful of soil during groundbreaking services for a new temple is symbolic of "turning our lives over to Christ and keeping His commandments." Elder Rex D. Pinegar of the Seventy and president of the North America Southwest Area declared July 3.
Speaking at services for the Oklahoma City Oklahoma Temple prior to participating in the groundbreaking, Elder Pinegar spoke of the importance of faith and family. He said having a temple in an area can aid members in developing their faith and building strung families. He added that having a temple in Oklahoma City would help the youth of the temple district in seeing clearly their future and what the Lord expects of them.Some 360 people were in attendance on this hot, humid summer day, including members of the local media. Pat Gilliland, religion editor for The Daily Oklahoman, who was in attendance, ran four positive articles during the week of the groundbreaking. Providing music for the occasion was the Oklahoma City 1st Ward choir.
In his remarks, Elder Pinegar also referred to the deadly tornado which struck Oklahoma City May 3, (Please see May 15, 1999, Church News) After the tornado, he said he toured the devastated areas and saw little standing but the people, which showed they were people of faith. He also spoke of how Church members reached out to help others simply because they wanted to help.
Also speaking during the groundbreaking services were Elder J. Michael Moeller, an Area Authority Seventy, and other local leaders, Elder Moeller spoke of the tragedies that have occurred in Oklahoma City in the last few years. (A bomb destroyed a federal building in April 1995, killing dozens, including one Church member. Please see April 1995, Church News) Having a temple in this area, Elder Moeller added, is a great blessing.
He also explained how Isaiah opened his writings by talking about temples and that Daniel spoke of a stone cut out of the mountain without hands that would fill the whole earth. This temple, he said, is part of that stone.