Ground has been broken in Tooele, Utah, for the Deseret Peak Temple of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The sacred structure will be located about 30 minutes southwest of Salt Lake City.
Elder Brook P. Hales of the Quorum of the Seventy presided at the groundbreaking ceremony attended by a couple of hundred Latter-day Saint leaders and invited guests at the temple site on Saturday morning, May 15, 2021.
“Help us that through the Atonement of our Savior, Jesus Christ, we might be prepared and worthy to enter Thy sacred house to receive the blessings of exaltation available for ourselves and for our ancestors," said Elder Hales, who conducted the groundbreaking service and offered the dedicatory prayer.
“Please bless all that will live in this temple district that they will feel the godly power of this sacred edifice,” he said in the prayer.
The three-story temple will be approximately 70,000 square feet. A new 20,000-square-foot meetinghouse will also be built on the site, located at 2400 North 400 West.
“I have prayed that we would be able to have a temple in this valley, and I am so grateful to be able to be here as we break ground for the Deseret Peak Utah Temple,” said Tooele resident Dianne Rose during the ceremony.
“Remember the saying that . . . temples will dot the earth someday? It’s someday,” expressed Merna J. Dalton, a local Latter-day Saint. “We love temples, and we love that Heavenly Father puts temples so that it will remind us that families can be together forever.”
"God the Father loves us, He knows us, He's concerned about us, and [He] wants us to be in this holy edifice," shared Tooele resident Kim A. Halladay during the program.
Tooele resident and elementary school teacher Jenine Gillie served on the groundbreaking committee and attended the event with her husband. “We came [through] the back roads. It took us less than seven minutes to get here. I was just so excited. I can come anytime I want to and do the work, and it’s just going to be wonderful.”
“It’s like a dream come true, because the temple means everything to me,” said Robb Smith, a local bishop who looks forward to sharing his excitement with his congregation of about 450 Latter-day Saints. “We’ve just been waiting for this, talking about it, and now it has started. It’s a big day.”
Smith’s son, Elijah, 15, also looks forward to serving in the temple in Tooele, after spending time at the temples in Salt Lake City and Bountiful. “I think it’s a great thing for the community, because in addition to having a short drive time … I can walk 15 minutes and be here.”
“I’m so grateful that we are here today to start the construction symbolically of this great temple,” said Elder Hales. “We’re drawn to the temple, particularly in these times of great difficulty and calamity and chaos. The temple is truly a house of peace, where we can go and feel comfort and peace.”
His wife was born and raised in the Tooele Valley. “We felt drawn to this valley, never really expecting that there would be a temple here. … It’s a personal blessing for us to be able to have a temple close.”
Elder Hales said a temple can enhance a community’s identity. “There are accounts of people who say that it has blessed their lives, even though they may not be members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. So it is a lovely addition, we hope, irrespective of what one’s [religious] affiliation might be.”
Utah has 27 temples announced, under construction, under renovation, or in operation. In addition to the temple in Tooele, temples have been announced or are under construction in Ephraim, Layton, Lindon, Orem, St. George (Red Cliffs), Saratoga Springs, Smithfield, Syracuse, and Taylorsville.
This will be the first temple in Tooele County, which includes the communities of Tooele, Stansbury Park, Grantsville, and Erda.
The Church of Jesus Christ now has 252 temples announced, under construction, or in operation around the world.
There are more than 2.1 million Latter-day Saints in Utah, which number just under two-thirds of the state’s population of 3.3 million residents.
Each temple is considered a “house of the Lord” where Jesus Christ’s teachings are reaffirmed through baptism and other ordinances that unite families for eternity. In the temple, Church members learn more about the purpose of life and make covenants to follow Jesus Christ and serve their fellow man.