DRAPER, Utah With the Salt Lake Valley vista spanning below them to the north, President Gordon B. Hinckley and his counselors in the First Presidency broke ground for the Draper Utah Temple Aug. 5, on a windy and sun-drenched mountainside overlooking this erstwhile farming community with 1840s Mormon pioneer roots.
Prior to President Hinckley offering the site-dedication prayer, all three members of the First Presidency addressed a congregation of invited guests on the temple site. Proceedings were televised live over the Church satellite system to selected stake centers in the temple district, which comprises 26 stakes in the southeast corner of the Salt Lake Valley.
Elder Russell M. Nelson of the Quorum of the Twelve conducted the service, with music provided by a combined temple district choir.
"This is a really remarkable time," the Church president exclaimed "as we break ground for the 12th temple to be built in Utah, the third in this valley. We are frequently asked, 'Why so many temples in Utah?' It is because we need them. The Jordan River Temple is extremely busy, and the Salt Lake Temple is likewise busy. It is a great tribute to our people that they are so faithful in temple attendance."
President Hinckley added, "If people continue to move here, it may become necessary to build another, or two; but this will not be for some time don't count on it tomorrow!"
The temple, when dedicated, will be about the 130th working temple in the Church, President Hinckley noted, adding that other temples are in construction in various parts of the world and still others will yet be built.
"If temple service is a fundamental part of the gospel, as I believe it to be, then it is important that we provide the facilities to accomplish it, and this we're doing," he declared. "We must build temples where people can get to them. The Church is now worldwide, which means that temples must be built all over the world. They are costly to construct and costly to maintain, but we must have them. And fortunately, because of the faith of the tithe-paying saints, we have the means to do so."
Referring to the promise of blessings in Doctrine and Covenants 110:9-10, spoken concerning the Kirtland Temple, President Hinckley affirmed that it is being fulfilled and will continue to be fulfilled.
In his remarks, President Thomas S. Monson, first counselor in the First Presidency, noted that the spire of the Jordan River Temple is visible to the west from the new temple site in Draper's Corner Canyon area. Drawing attention to the architectural rendering of the Draper temple displayed on the stand, he said, "I think we will have the twin towers, one on the east and one on the west."
President Monson reminisced about riding horses in Draper with his friends as a young man. With a chuckle, he remembered a former stake president of his, Adiel Fitzgerald Stewart, whose father was born in Draper and who used to speak of the farming town as being the Celestial Kingdom. "He also reminded all of us that the nickname for Draper was 'the egg basket of Utah.' And so I remind all of us of that early history of this part of the great valley."
He suggested that listeners "make a pledge this day to do a little temple building individually," taking as their blueprint the passage in Doctrine and Covenants 88:119 pertaining to establishing a house of prayer, fasting, faith, learning, glory, order, a house of God.
"My sermon could be summarized," he said, "in the headline from the editorial in the Church News of (Aug. 5). The words are these they're my wish and prayer for all in this temple district: Come to the temple of the Lord!"
President James E. Faust, second counselor in the First Presidency, spoke of Draper's pioneer history, noting that in 1849, Ebenezer Brown of Mormon Battalion fame and his two sons took their cattle and horses into the site of the future town of Draper. The next year they built cabins and brought their families into the settlement, then known as Willow Creek.
"In 1851, others came, including William and Zamira Draper, and a branch was organized with William Draper as the presiding elder," he said. "Because Brother Draper had been a bishop on the frontier before coming to the Salt Lake Valley, the settlement was named in his honor.
"In 1854, a fort with walls a foot thick and 8 feet high was constructed. Draper developed slowly until more recently, when the growth has been much greater. I suspect that William Draper, Ebenezer Brown and other settlers never dreamed that a temple of the Lord would be built here in Draper on South Mountain."
President Faust cited Isaiah 2:3, the prophecy that people would come to "the mountain of the Lord," and also quoted the Lord's promise to Solomon in 1 Kings 6:12-13. "May the Lord's promise to Solomon be extended to all those who come to this temple," he said.
President Boyd K. Packer, acting president of the Quorum of the Twelve, participated in the groundbreaking, as did members of the quorum and other General and Area authorities and Church auxiliary officers.
Elder Merrill J. Bateman of the Presidency of the Seventy offered the invocation and Elder Paul E. Koelliker of the Seventy the benediction. Speaking to news reporters after the groundbreaking, Elder Bateman, president of the Utah Salt Lake City Area, said the construction would likely take 24 months. Nearly 60,000 square feet, the edifice will be a moderate-size temple in today's terms, smaller than the Jordan River Temple, but substantially larger than some that have been constructed in recent years, he said.
The site is adjacent to and will share parking facilities with a stake center already functioning at the location.
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