News Release

Church Breaks Ground for Bentonville Arkansas Temple 

Temple will be the first in Arkansas

A small group of Church leaders gathered to participate in the groundbreaking ceremony of the Bentonville Arkansas Temple on Saturday, November 7, 2020. It will be the first temple of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Arkansas. 

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Elder David A. Bednar, a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, presided over the groundbreaking remotely with a limited number of local Church leaders and invited guests attending the groundbreaking because of COVID-19 social distancing guidelines. The event was held in a chapel next to the new temple ground.  

“This is a moment that for most of my life, I never could have imagined would occur even in this moment. I find it hard to believe what we're celebrating and the service that we're participating in today, and it's also a moment that I wish would never end,” said Elder Bednar.  

Elder Bednar, a former University of Arkansas professor, helped organize two stakes (a group of congregations) in Arkansas, including the Bentonville Arkansas Stake.  

Elder Bednar and his wife, Susan, spent 14 years in Fayetteville, a city around 30 miles south of Bentonville.  

“I'm grateful that we have a temple coming in northwest Arkansas,” said Sister Bednar. “It thrills my heart. I can't even tell you how grateful I am. I wish that we could all jump for joy and that we could be together to give each other hugs and celebration of this wonderful, wonderful moment.” 

Other church leaders at the ceremony included Elder James B. Martino, president of the North America Southeast Area and Elder David Harris, an Area Seventy.  

“Groundbreaking is an interesting word. According to sources, ‘groundbreaking was considered a representation of breaking the earth, to make a sacred deposit that would endorse a firm foundation,’” said Elder James B. Martino. “How appropriate of a description. Truly, this is the symbolic act to begin a foundation for a most sacred building.” 

The new temple was announced in October 2019 by Church President Russell M. Nelson and will be built on nearly nine acres located at 1101 McCollum Road. 

“Yes, we love the temple, we love to see the temple, we want to be in the temple, but not because just of the building, but because of the covenants and the ordinances [promises and ceremonies] that provide access for us in our daily lives to the power of godliness,” said Elder Bednar.  

In the dedicatory prayer, Elder Bednar prayed, “that this location will be hallowed, that it will be safeguarded and protected. And that it will be a place of great spiritual power.” 

Latter-day Saints in Arkansas currently travel to different states to attend the temple. The single-story building will be approximately 25,000 square feet with a center spire. The temple will share the site with an existing meetinghouse. 

 “The temple will be close, but with the same dedication of traveling for several hours to get to our assigned temple, we will need to plan to be in this temple regularly,” said Elder Martino.  

“It is one of the great blessings and experiences of my life to have lived for about a third of my life in northwest Arkansas. As I stand here now and think of the faces. And the people that I love and the influence that they have had in my life, in Susan's life and in the life of our family, I am filled with deep gratitude and I cannot say the smallest part of what I feel,” said Elder Bednar. 

There are more than 32,000 Latter-day Saints in Arkansas, spread throughout nearly 70 congregations. 

Details for the open house and temple dedication upon its completion will be announced at a future date. 

Temples of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints differ from meetinghouses or chapels where members meet for Sunday worship services. Each temple is considered a “house of the Lord” where Jesus Christ’s teachings are reaffirmed through baptism and other ordinances that unite families for eternity. In the temple, Church members learn more about the purpose of life and make covenants to follow Jesus Christ and serve their fellow man. 


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