News Release

Ground Broken for Knoxville Tennessee Temple

Third house of the Lord in the state ‘can illuminate all who enter’

Ground has been broken for the Knoxville Tennessee Temple of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Elder Shayne M. Bowen, First Counselor in the North American Southeast Area Presidency, presided at the event on Saturday, January 27, 2024.

“We are all sons and daughters of God — He loves us and wants us all to come home,” said Elder Bowen.

While speaking to guests, interfaith leaders, representatives of local government and community and Church members in attendance, he said: “The temple is different than a chapel. It’s not where we have weekly meetings. It’s an opportunity that we have to go to the house of the Lord literally and to make covenants with Him.”

“God is bringing His work to His people so that we can enter in and worship in the holy temple, receive the saving ordinances that will allow us to return home and live in His presence as families forever. There’s nothing better than that,” he said.

During the dedicatory prayer, Elder Bowen expressed gratitude for Jesus Christ and the plan of salvation. “We are eternally grateful that through Thy plan of salvation and exaltation, with Jesus Christ at the center of Thy plan, each one of us has a clear path through Thy temples, to come home, back into Thy presence,” he prayed.

Elder Bowen also expressed gratitude for this latest house of the Lord in Tennessee.

“Father, this groundbreaking, in preparation for Thy holy temple, has been the hope and the desire of Thy Saints in this part of the vineyard for many years,” he added, recognizing members of the Church in Knoxville who have long waited for a house of the Lord in their community.

Kaitlyn Adams, a youth speaker from the Knoxville Cumberland Tennessee Stake (similar to a diocese), shared her insight about temple service. She explained that because of temple service with her local youth group, she sees “how much closer we’ve gotten to God.”

Logan Pickup, a youth speaker from the Kingsport Tennessee Stake, talked about how temple service and new temples worldwide are evidence of “God’s love all over the world.”

“One of the first blessings I recognized from going to the temple was that of peace,” said Gloria Smartt, a member of the Chattanooga stake. She remembered when President Russell M. Nelson visited the area in the 1990s. She stated that “he gave us counsel to attend the temple and always have a question in your mind.”

Wanas Martin of the Cookeville Tennessee Stake talked about the light of Christ portrayed in the New Testament, which teaches us that Christ is the light of the world.

“This light can illuminate our dark and dreary paths in our lives and is to be an illumination within our very being. The temple is here to help with this illumination. It is the house of the Lord, a house of glory,” he said. “The temple can illuminate all who enter. There will be power here. It is His house. His glory will be found here.”

The Knoxville Tennessee Temple was announced in April 2022 by President Nelson. Construction will commence on a 4.99-acre site located at 13001 Kingston Pike, Farragut, Tennessee. Plans call for a single-story temple of approximately 30,000 square feet. This will be the city’s first temple and the third in the state.

The Memphis Tennessee Temple was dedicated in 2000 and rededicated in 2019. The Nashville Tennessee Temple was dedicated in 2000.

Knoxville, nestled in the foothills of the Great Smoky Mountains, is in the southeastern United States.

Missionaries for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints arrived in Tennessee in October 1834. Today, Tennessee is home to more than 57,000 Latter-day Saints in over 110 congregations.

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