Mormon church leaders dedicated a temple Sunday in Cedar City that will serve about 45,000 members in southern Utah and eastern Nevada.
President Henry B. Eyring, first counselor in the governing First Presidency of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, conducted a ceremony sealing the temple’s cornerstone before the dedication.
“This is a ceremonial moment when we mark this great occasion by sealing the cornerstone which represents, really, the savior,” Eyring said, according to an LDS news release. “The Lord is the cornerstone of the work.”
The materials used in the temple include African mahogany and sapele woodwork, as well as stone and tile flooring from Israel, Turkey, Spain and Iran, according to the news release. The color palette draws from the rich colors of southern Utah, incorporating native flowers and juniper berries.
The release also says the structure has elements similar to those of historic buildings and temples in southern Utah, giving it a “pioneer feel.”
Mormon apostle Jeffrey R. Holland, who grew up in nearby St. George, said the temple is striking.
“They’ve had a pioneer’s touch on some of the wood and the craftsmanship,” Holland said. “ ... It’s a tie to the very earliest temples in the church in southern Utah and right up to today. I’m very moved by it.”
On Saturday, 3,500 youths danced and sang in a cultural celebration on the campus of Southern Utah University and presented the history of the Mormon church in Cedar City and the surrounding area.
More than 187,000 people toured the temple during a three-week open house that kicked off in October, the release says.
Ground was broken for the temple — the 17th in the faith’s home state and the 159th operating worldwide — on Aug. 8, 2015. Plans for an 18th Utah temple, in Saratoga Springs, were announced by LDS Church President Thomas S. Monson in April.
Mormons view temples as houses of God, places where devout members take part in their faith’s most sacred ceremonies, including eternal marriages.