Calling the day a “memorable occasion,” President Thomas S. Monson dedicated the Draper Utah Temple — the Church’s 129th and Utah’s 12th — on a beautiful spring morning March 20.
The dedication followed a cornerstone ceremony, during which President Monson; President Henry B. Eyring, first counselor in the First Presidency; and President Boyd K. Packer, president of the Quorum of the Twelve, sealed in the southeast corner of the temple a time capsule containing local histories and other items significant to the temple district.
Hundreds of Church members from the temple district gathered on the site for the first dedicatory session — one of 12 sessions over a three-day period — and the cornerstone ceremony.
Before placing mortar in the cornerstone, President Monson invited others to do so, including Gracie Awerkamp, 8, Justin Spainhower, 9, and a brother and sister Christoffer and Katrine Hotvedt, 13 and 7, respectively.
When President Monson was looking around to select a child to come forward, Christoffer pointed to his sister, so President Monson invited both to come up “as a pair.”
President Monson also complimented Gracie on her striped sweater and teased Justin about the way he was sitting, calling him “the boy who’s on his knees already getting ready for a mission.”
After Justin had placed the mortar, the Church president instructed him, “Let me know when you’re ready for a mission; you’ll have to wait a year or two.”
In a conversation with the Church News after the ceremony, Justin, a member of the Sandy Hills Ward, said, “I felt the Holy Ghost when I went up and I got to see President Monson up close.”
He said he then went to go find his mother, who asked, “Were you the one that President Monson said was ready for a mission?”
“I said, yeah. And then she started hugging me like crazy.”
President Monson praised the youth cornerstone choir, comprised of 180 teens from 25 stakes in the temple district, and invited the choir director, Becky Alexander, to come forward.
Giving her the trowel, he said, “Just pretend it is a baton.”
Sister Alexander said the entire experience of leading the choir was intense, but glorious.
“Anytime you put your whole heart and soul into something — especially in the service of the Lord — He consecrates your efforts into gain… We have been so blessed this day.”
Elder William R. Walker of the Seventy and director of the Church’s Temple Department called the cornerstone ceremony “a significant part of a temple dedication. It is part of the formalization of the completion of the temple,” he said.
Now a dedicated temple, the 58,000-square-foot edifice will serve 60,000 Church members living in 25 stakes in the south end of the Salt Lake Valley.
For years, the Jordan River Utah Temple, located in South Jordan, Utah, has been the busiest temple in the Church.
Now the Draper Utah Temple will dramatically reduce the crowds, said Elder Walker. “Leaders of the Church want people to go to the temple without inordinate waiting.”
Speaking of the dedication, President Rodolfo C. Franco of the Draper Utah South Mountain Stake and chair of the temple committee, said, “Nothing is more important for us.”
“It really isn’t an ending of things, but a beginning of things to come. We really need to go to work now.”
Nate Jackson, 14, of the Canyon View Ward, Sandy Utah Canyon View Stake, participated in the choir. “Even though it was a lot of work, it was really worth it,” he said. “Any time you get to see the prophet you have a different feeling about things.”
When the youth were done singing, Nate said he heard their voices echo “and I knew this was the work of the Lord.”