Members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in the Saratoga Springs area will celebrate the groundbreaking of a long-awaited temple at 11 a.m. Saturday.
Elder Craig C. Christensen, Utah Area President, will preside.
Tickets are required to attend the groundbreaking. For those without tickets, the event will be televised to local stake centers and meeting houses that are attached to the temple district for those who would like to participate. While all of the LDS stakes in the district have not been disclosed, members from Saratoga Springs, Eagle Mountain, Cedar Fort, Lehi and Pleasant Grove, as well as those living in the areas of northern Utah County will be a part of the temple district, according to church information.
The Saratoga Springs Temple was announced in April 2017 by then-church President Thomas S. Monson.
The temple will be three stories tall and approximately 87,000 square feet in size. An adjacent 21,000-square-foot meetinghouse will also be built. The two buildings will sit on about 22.7 acres at 897 S. Ensign Drive in the new Beacon Pointe development west of Redwood Road and north of Meadow Side Drive. The timeline for the project’s completion is not yet public.
Temple groundbreakings are a time of reflection and celebration for members of the church. After the land is dedicated, it is then considered sacred following that dedicatory prayer.
While the program of Saturday’s groundbreaking has not be announced, other dedications including the Payson temple and Provo City Center Temple indicate that attendance could be in the thousands. If the trend continues, other church authorities and leaders could be in attendance, speak and participate in the groundbreaking ceremony. Local government and church leaders and construction crews are also typically invited to turn a shovel of dirt. Following that ceremony, residents attending are also invited to turn a shovel of dirt for photo purposes and to be part of the event.
According to county mapping, the LDS Church owns approximately 3,000 acres of land in Saratoga Springs.
There are currently 17 operational temples in Utah with others announced or in construction process in Orem, Taylorsville, Layton, Tooele and Washington County.
The most recent temple constructed in Utah County was the rebuilding of the Provo Tabernacle into the Provo City Center Temple, which opened in 2016.
Temples are not regular places of Sunday worship for members of the LDS Church. They are quite different from the thousands of regular chapels or meetinghouses all over the world that are used for Sunday services, according to a church statement.
Anyone, regardless of religion, may enter a Latter-day Saint meetinghouse and attend services. However, because of the sacredness of temples as “houses of the Lord,” only members of the church, who are in good standing are allowed to enter the temples. A member must be observing the basic principles of the faith and attest to that fact to his or her local leaders once every two years in order to enter a temple.
Temples are also the place where the highest sacraments of the faith occur — the marriage of couples and the “sealing” of families for eternity, the church statement said.
Temples serve as the only place where ceremonies such as baptism and eternal marriage can be performed in behalf (by proxy) of those who have died — a practice that Latter-day Saints believe was followed in New Testament times but that later was lost.