Ground broken for a second Latter-day Saint temple in St. George

(Photo courtesy of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints) Local church leaders in Utah participate in the groundbreaking of the Red Cliffs Utah Temple on Saturday, November 7, 2020. Attendance at the event was limited because of current COVID-19 social guidelines.

St. George moved one step closer Saturday to having two temples of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Apostle Jeffrey R. Holland, a St. George native, presided over a socially distanced groundbreaking ceremony for the Red Cliffs Temple.

The new temple is named for the redrock landscape that will surround it. It will be three stories and 90,000 square feet. The temple will sit on a 14-acre parcel northeast of 3000 East and 1580 South.

(Image courtesy of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints) An artist's rendering, released by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, of the Red Cliffs Utah Temple.

The city is already home to the St. George Temple, the first completed Latter-day Saint temple in Utah, which was dedicated in 1877. It closed in November 2019 for renovations and is set to reopen in 2022.

Attendance at the groundbreaking ceremony was limited because of the health risk posed by COVID-19.

“Sadly, the limitations and dangers of the COVID-19 pandemic are still with us,” Holland prayed at the ceremony, according to a news release. “We pray that this plague will soon be lifted and that the many who are restricted from witnessing this groundbreaking will soon be able to witness the dedication of a beautifully completed house of the Lord.”

Ground was officially broken for the faith’s Taylorsville Temple on Oct. 31, one week before the St. George groundbreaking. The two temples are among 25 temples operating (though limited during the pandemic), under renovation, under construction or announced in Utah.