A ripple of excitement permeated the Conference Center in Salt Lake City on Sunday when President Russell M. Nelson, president of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, announced seven new temples.
Among them was one to be built in Layton.
For those living in Layton anxious for the building to begin, it will most likely be a hurry-up-and-wait situation, as past patterns show.
But compare to those living in Saratoga Springs, who’ve been eagerly awaiting any news on their city’s temple for about a year.
President Thomas S. Monson announced the Saratoga Springs Temple one year ago during the April 2017 general conference. Since then, there has been little to no visual movement on a designated construction site, site plans or designs.
According to county mapping, the LDS Church owns approximately 3,000 acres of land in Saratoga Springs, most of which is in good positioning for a temple location.
However, the LDS Church Temple department is known for holding much of its temple building information close to the chest. There is the need for internal church approval, as well and external approvals from cities, planning commissions, city councils and neighbors.
And, just like any other building, it takes time. The church has to announce a location, break ground and often purchase land altogether.
In his Sunday general conference address, Bishop Gérald Caussé, the LDS Presiding Bishop told of what he and the church experienced when planning the Paris France Temple.
“In 2010, when property for the temple was found, the city mayor asked to meet with us to know more about our Church. This meeting was a critical step in obtaining a building permit. We meticulously prepared a presentation that included several impressive pictures of Latter-day Saint temples. My most fervent hope was that their architectural beauty would persuade the mayor to support our project,” Causse said. “To my surprise, the mayor indicated that rather than reviewing our presentation, he and his team preferred to conduct their own investigation to find out what kind of church we were.”
He indicated the public officials went to a church meeting, spoke with members and with those who would be neighbors to the temple.
On July 15, 2011 the church announced the temple. It was dedicated May 21, 2017. It took six years, which is typical from announcing a location to dedication.
Senators Orrin Hatch and Ted Kennedy had to personally step in to get the Boston, Massachusetts temple off the ground. It was announced June 13, 1997, but the church faces an uphill court battle from residents not wanting the main steeple. It was dedicated three years late on Oct. 1 2000.
By Sept. 21, 2001, the statue of the Angel Moroni, as seen atop almost every church temple, and a steeple were added to the temple.
So for Saratoga Springs residents, one year of waiting isn’t unusual. It is also not unusual to not know where it is going to be built. For example, the last temple announced in Sunday’s conference was to be built in a yet-to-be-determined major city in Russia.
Saratoga Springs residents aren’t alone in patiently pining for the temple.
Here is a list of temples, provided by the LDS Church temple website, showing the range from announcement date to groundbreaking date.
The Bountiful Temple was announced Feb. 2, 1990 with a groundbreaking held May 2, 1992. It took two years and three months for preparations.
The Monticello Temple was announced Oct. 4, 1997, construction began Nov. 17, 1997, and was dedicated July 26, 1998. It took nine months to overhaul the existing structure into a temple.
Utah temples average about two years from being announced to groundbreaking, and about four to six years from announcement to dedication.
Compare that to the Rome Italy Temple, which the church just announced its dedication date as March 10, 2019. It was announced Oct. 4, 2008, groundbreaking was Oct. 23 2010 — in line with an average two years. However, it will be nine years from groundbreaking to dedication.
Church members waited 12 years for the Kyiv Ukraine temple from its announcement on July 20, 1998, to its dedication on Aug. 29, 2010.
Early church members may have had the greatest patience. The Salt Lake City Temple was announced July 24, 1847, ground was broken on Feb. 14, 1853, and it was dedicated April 6, 1893. It took 46 years from being announced to being dedicated.