KANSAS CITY, MO.
A chilly wind blew briskly on an elevated hill in the Shoal Creek area of Kansas City, Mo., but could not diminish the enthusiasm of an estimated crowd of 1,500 that gathered for the official groundbreaking of the Kansas City Missouri Temple on May 8.
Because of the construction already underway and the challenges of accommodating parking, attendance was by invitation only. The program was broadcast live to LDS buildings and stake centers throughout the temple district.
Presiding at the ceremony was Elder Ronald A. Rasband of the Presidency of the Seventy; accompanied by Elder William R. Walker of the Seventy, executive director of the Church’s Temple Department; and Elder Donald D. Deshler of Overland Park, Kan., a newly called Area Seventy. Joe J. Christensen, an Emeritus General Authority, and his wife, Barbara K. Christensen, were also in attendance, as was Dean Davis, the managing director of Physical Facilities for the Church.
A combined temple district choir performed for the assembled group, many wrapped in coats and blankets. Elder Walker welcomed Church leadership from the 11 stakes with 40,600 members that comprise the temple district. Also acknowledged and welcomed were Missouri state legislators and community leaders, the news media and executives from the construction company that will build this, the second LDS temple in the state.
Elder Rasband told the congregation, “You honor the Lord Jesus Christ by being here today.” He shared the history of temples and their sacred nature from the ancient temples of Solomon and Herod which were created as places in which the Lord could dwell. He described temples as places in which families can be strengthened and united.
Quoting President Gordon B. Hinckley, who taught, “When all is said and done, the word and mission of this church is to save people,” Elder Rasband explained, “that’s why we build temples.” He concluded by asking those present to “make this a journal-entry day, and then make a commitment to come back and claim your promised blessings.” Following his message, Elder Rasband offered a prayer of dedication on the land where the temple will be erected.
Earlier in the groundbreaking ceremony, Elder Walker described the surrounding communities as a “special place” where people are friendly, hardworking and dedicated, not only to their faith and work but also communities. He challenged those attending to consider dedicating their lives to becoming more like Christ in the approximately two years it will require for the temple to be finished.
The temple will stand on a 9.33-acre lot in the northeast area of Kansas City, near the city of Liberty where the Church operates the historic Liberty Jail Visitors Center, and not far from the Independence Visitors Center. Elder Walker referred to the great historical significance and importance of the area in Church heritage, acknowledging not only the early pioneers, but also those who have gathered here in modern days to raise their families and build up the Church. He concluded by asking all in attendance to look to and focus their lives on the temple.
Elder Deshler focused on the doctrine that temples are central to the goal of coming unto Christ. He referred to the term “dedication” and challenged those present to view the next two years as a season of personal dedication and refinement so that they will be worthy to receive the blessings of the temple.
Sister Melanie Rasband also commented on her visit to local Church history sites, especially Adam-ondi-Ahman, and shared her love and appreciation for the early saints who were forced to leave. But, she explained, “The Savior has promised He will not leave us.” She reminded the congregation that in a day of difficulty, one finds peace in the temple.
Sister Vicki Walker, also referred to local Church history as she recounted the tour of historic Church sites the day before the groundbreaking. She observed, “we know this is God’s choice area.”
First announced by President Thomas S. Monson in general conference on Oct. 4, 2008, the Kansas City Missouri Temple will be completed in approximately two years, after which an open house will be held prior to formal dedication.