Land has been purchased for the future Philadelphia Pennsylvania Temple in a historic section of downtown Philadelphia.
On Dec. 2, the Church closed on the purchase of a parcel at 18th and Vine Street. The land sits right off the Vine Street Expressway, a major east-west corridor in Philadelphia. The future temple will be built adjacent to the Benjamin Franklin Parkway, a "destination location" that includes several museums and is just a few blocks from the National Constitution Center.
"It's a place that will be frequented by a lot of people," said Elder Robert Smith, an Area Seventy from the Philadelphia area.
Pennsylvania members are celebrating the city's approval of the purchase of the land for the future edifice.
"Everyone had faith that [the project] would move ahead," added Elder Smith.
A final temple design plan has not yet been approved by the First Presidency.
Once completed, the Philadelphia Pennsylvania Temple will be the Keystone State's first temple and serve some 40,000 members from eastern Pennsylvania, southern New Jersey and much of Delaware. Most of those members belong to the Washington D.C. Temple district.
Elder Smith said it was obvious "to see the hand of the Lord" during the land acquisition process. The Church, he added, has worked closely with the Philadelphia mayor's office and city council and made many new friends.
President Thomas S. Monson announced plans to build the Philadelphia Pennsylvania Temple on Oct. 4, 2008, during general conference.