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Peggy Fletcher Stack
Peggy Fletcher Stack has been producing stories for The Salt Lake Tribune's award-winning Faith section for nearly two decades. Writing about contemporary faith, rituals, and spirituality as well as religion's conflicts and cohesion has always been Stack's passion. Follow her at facebook.com/peggy.fletcherstack, Twitter @religiongal

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Mormon leader Thomas Monson gets early birthday tribute at temple groundbreaking

Mormons in Connecticut sang "Happy Birthday" to their prophet-leader this past weekend, but it was the members’ wishes that were coming true: a temple in their state.

President Thomas S. Monson, who turns 86 on Wednesday, Aug. 21, joined with other LDS and community leaders Saturday to break ground for the faith’s Hartford Temple in the suburb of Farmington, Conn.

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"Today is a special and sacred day as we bring to fruition the hopes and dreams of the church members here," Monson told the crowd of 500, according to a news release. " ... Each [temple] stands as a beacon to the world, an expression of our testimony that God our Eternal Father lives, that he desires to bless us."

During Monson’s appearance, the assembled Latter-day Saints sang birthday greetings to him, Jessie Sawyer wrote in a posting on patch.com that included a video of the tribute.

Monson announced the Hartford Temple in October 2010. When it opens, the church says, it will serve Mormons in Connecticut, Rhode Island and parts of Massachusetts and New York.

Mormons see temples as houses of God, where they can take part in their faith’s highest sacraments, including eternal marriage.

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints currently has 171 temples either in operation, under construction or announced around the globe.

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