Latter-day Saints break ground for sixth Utah County temple

(Photo courtesy of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints) A small group of invited guests gathered in the north-central Utah community of Orem Saturday, Sept 5, 2020, for the groundbreaking of the Orem Utah Temple.

About 30 people gathered Saturday in Orem to break ground on what will become Utah County’s sixth Latter-day Saint temple.

The three-story, 70,000-square-foot edifice will rise at about 1470 S. Geneva Road, west of Interstate 15 and south of University Parkway. The 16-acre site will include a 20,000-square-foot meetinghouse of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

“We are grateful for the legacy of faith that exists among the Saints in this part of the Lord’s vineyard,” general authority Seventy Craig C. Christensen, the church’s Utah Area president, said in a news release. “The Orem Utah Temple will become an added refuge of strength in an increasingly uncertain world — a holy place where we learn and live more fully the great plan of happiness made possible by our Savior, Jesus Christ.”

Christensen, who presided at the socially distanced event, also offered the dedicatory prayer.

The single-spired temple — with no plans for a golden Angel Moroni statue atop it — won’t be far from the two Latter-day Saint temples already in neighboring Provo.

“Having other temples in close proximity does not diminish the eternal importance and significance of this sacred building,” general authority Seventy William K. Jackson said in the release, warning church members that “proximity and ease can lead to complacency.”

(Photo courtesy of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints) This artist's rendering shows the exterior of the Orem Temple.

Noting that the Orem Temple will be located along one of the most heavily trafficked freeway corridors in Utah, general authority Seventy Evan A. Schmutz said the building “will act as a beacon, drawing the gaze of millions as they pass by this hallowed ground.”

Latter-day Saints view temples as “Houses of the Lord,” places where the devout take part in their faith’s most sacred rites, including eternal marriage.

Utah County is home to four operating Latter-day Saint temples — two in Provo, one in American Fork and one in Payson. Besides the Orem Temple, another is under construction in Saratoga Springs.

The Beehive State, meanwhile, has 15 currently operating temples, though their offerings are limited due to COVID-19 restrictions. Two more, the historic pioneer-era temples in downtown Salt Lake City and St. George, are closed while they undergo extensive renovations.

The Salt Lake City-based faith also plans to build seven more temples in Utah, bringing the state’s total to 24.