President Russell M. Nelson of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints announced eight new temples during the church’s general conference on Saturday, including a temple to be build in Orem.
When completed, the temple will be the 22nd temple in Utah and the sixth temple in Utah County. Others include the Mt. Timpanogos Temple in American Fork, the Provo Temple, Provo City Center Temple, Payson Temple and the Saratoga Springs Temple, which will have a groundbreaking ceremony Oct. 19.
“I am surprised and excited that a new temple by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints has been announced to be built in Orem,” said Mayor Richard Brunst in an email. “Wow, what a great thing to happen for the residents of Orem and members of the church throughout Utah County.”
Brunst has been a proponent of a temple in Orem for a number of years. Three years ago, Brunst said he reached out to the church to encourage such an edifice and even provided a few locations that at the time were going up for sale.
A spokesperson with the church worked with Brunst and told him that ultimately, the church works independently of local leaders to maintain confidentiality to allow the president of the church to lead with a formal conference announcement.
From the moment of the announcement Saturday, excitement and ensuing speculation in Utah County began.
“The announcement of an Orem, Utah temple has brought excitement to many in our community,” said Steven Downs, city spokesman. “As of today, the city of Orem has received no information from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints regarding the location of the temple, but like many of our citizens, we have enjoyed spending time hypothesizing and speculating.”
Along with city leaders, city council members were also in the dark about the announcement.
“Such a wonderful and exciting announcement, a temple for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints to be built in Orem,” said Tom Macdonald, Orem city councilman. “I believe this will be a benefit to our community both for the beauty it will provide and the peaceful feeling that many will experience there.”
Macdonald acknowledged that he has received calls of residents questioning and offering speculation on where the church might locate the new temple.
“With you I have enjoyed the fun spoofs hitting social media as to where the temple might be and what it might look like,” Macdonald said. “Let me assure you the city council has no information concerning the building of this temple other then what was announced in conference. We were just as much surprised as the rest of you. I am sure it will be a great benefit to our wonderful city.”
Orem is not the only city where the church has made inquiries.
“We’ve been talking to the LDS Church,” said Vineyard Mayor Julie Fullmer. “The church owns land in Vineyard, about 11 acres. There have been discussions and recent communications, but nothing I can say what it is about for now.”
Fullmer says she keeps in contact with the church continuously because land is going so quickly in Vineyard.
“It would be beautiful along (Utah Lake),” Fullmer said.
Orem residents wanting to know as soon as possible about where and when the temple will be built should take note of building timelines of other Utah temples.
On Tuesday, the church released the rendering of the new temple in Layton, which comes as project leaders are preparing to file additional public documents relating to plans for the temple’s design. A groundbreaking date has not been set yet, a church press release said. Plans call for a three-story temple of more than 87,000 square feet.
The Layton Temple was announced in April 2018.
Church members in Saratoga Springs heard about their new temple in April 2017 by then-church President Thomas S. Monson. After more than two years of anticipation, it was announced in September that the temple will be located in the new Beacon Pointe subdivision, west of Redwood Road and north of Meadow Side Drive.
Given the acquisitions, paperwork, work with city planning commissions and councils, Orem residents will likely have to wait about a year before an announcement of where the temple will be located and when the groundbreaking and completion will happen, as is the norm for many of the church’s temples.
This is, of course, an average, and not a trend. For example, on Sept. 25, the church announced the location of the Tooele Valley Temple to be located northwest of the intersection of Erda Way and State Route 36 in Erda, Utah. This was less than six months from when Nelson made the announcement in April.