Latter-day Saint leaders break ground on Pocatello temple
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POCATELLO – Leaders of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and other area religious leaders met in Pocatello Saturday morning for the groundbreaking of a new temple.
The site for the LDS church’s sixth temple in Idaho is located several miles off the Pocatello Creek Road exit at 2140 Satterfield Drive in a neighborhood overlooking the city.
“It’s a very special opportunity for all of us to come into this community,” Elder S. Gifford Nielsen, who serves as an area authority for the church, tells EastIdahoNews.com. “They have prepared for this for a long time, and really, this new temple is an answer to many prayers. It’s a pleasure to see the joy in the hearts of the people and to be a part of it.”
The announcement for the Pocatello temple was made in April 2017 by then church president Thomas S. Monson. The 67,000 square foot building will occupy a 12-acre site on the city’s east side and serve more than 64,000 members of the church in eastern Idaho.
Latter-day Saint temples differ from the meetinghouses or chapels where members meet for Sunday worship services. A temple, according to a news release from the church, is considered a “house of the Lord,” where Christ’s teachings are reaffirmed through marriage, baptism, and other ordinances that unite families for eternity. Inside, members learn more about the purpose of life and make covenants to serve Jesus Christ and their fellowman.
The church builds temples all over the world. Nielsen says the Pocatello temple will be made of the finest materials and reflect themes native to the area.
“Every temple is unique in itself and really takes care of what we see in the local communities. We don’t know exactly what this is going to be like, but as you look at the beautiful mountains and this valley, this temple will have that kind of a theme,” says Nielsen.
In a news release earlier this month, Bill Williams, the church’s director of Temple Design, said the details inside and outside the building will be “stunning, from the art glass to the flooring to the grounds.”
“Those who visit this temple will also be able to enjoy lovely views looking out to the west toward the Snake River Plain,” said Williams.
Elder Wilford W. Andersen, a member of the church’s first Quorum of Seventy, was also in attendance, along with local leaders and members of other faiths. During the groundbreaking, Andersen expressed appreciation to those of other faiths for their support.
“It’s the essence of Christianity that we love and support one another. It brings great unity to a community and is very much appreciated by us to see representatives of other faiths here. It makes us want to reach out and help them as well,” Andersen says.
Pastor Jacqualine Thomas from Praise Temple of God is part of the Portneuf Valley Interfaith Fellowship. She feels the temple will be a blessing to the community.
“It’s humbling. I felt the spirit of the Lord here,” Thomas says. “I pray that as a community we can all grow closer together because of it.”
Other churches represented include Central Christian Church, Temple Emmanuel, Pocatello Unitarian Universalist Fellowship, First Presbyterian, and Journey Episcopal. The Islamic Society of Southeast Idaho was also represented.
The groundbreaking concluded with a dedicatory prayer.
The temple’s construction will begin right away. Church leaders did not give an exact date of completion but said it will take approximately two to three years to complete.
An open house will be held once the temple is built, where members of the community will be able to tour the inside prior to its dedication.
The groundbreaking for the Pocatello temple comes just a week after the dedication of a Latter-day Saint temple in Rome, Italy.
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints currently has 201 temples announced, under construction, or operating worldwide.