News Release

Groundbreaking Held for Red Cliffs Utah Temple  

New temple will be second in Washington County

A handful of leaders and invited guests of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints held a groundbreaking for the Red Cliffs Utah Temple on Saturday, November 7, 2020. Attendance at the groundbreaking was limited because of local COVID-19 restrictions.  

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Elder Jeffrey R. Holland, a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles and native of St. George, Utah, presided at the temple groundbreaking and offered the dedicatory prayer.   

Elder Holland was joined by his wife, Patricia, his son, Elder Matthew S. Holland, General Authority Seventy, Elder Craig C. Christensen, Utah Area President, and other local guests. 

“It is a privilege and delight to be with you today,” said Elder Holland.” Surely you can imagine some of the emotions Pat and I feel as we get older and more nostalgic, with fewer and fewer trips to this land of our childhood.” 

“We salute those pioneers who, with sacrifice and sweat, built just a mile or so away the beautiful St. George temple that has provided a symbolic anchor of our faith in this part of the state for a century and a half,” said Elder Holland in the dedicatory prayer.  

“May the breaking of this soil and the development of this site not only be evidence of the dedication of a parcel of land, but may it also mark a rededication of our personal lives,” prayed Elder Holland. 

The new temple will be St. George's second temple. The St. George Utah Temple, one of the historically significant buildings in the Church, was dedicated in 1877. The temple was the first completed temple in Utah. The St. George Utah Temple closed November 4, 2019 for renovation and is expected to reopen in 2022. 

Other cities with two temples announced, under construction, or in operation include, South Jordan, Utah (Oquirrh Mountain Temple, Jordan River Temple), Provo, Utah (Provo Utah Temple, Provo City Center Temple), Guatemala City, Guatemala (Guatemala City Guatemala Temple, Greater Guatemala City Temple) Lima, Peru (Lima Peru Temple, Lima Los Olivos Temple), Manila, Philippines (Manila Philippines Temple, Alabang Philippines Temple).

"When the St. George Temple was being built some 150 years ago, my great, great grandfather William Carter was called to strengthen the soil conditions in that soggy, boggy location President Brigham Young had designated,” said Elder Holland.  

He continued, “Fast forward to 2020 and note that for the foundation of this temple, my cousin, Tyson Feller, 3rd great grandson of William Carter, oversaw the hauling of over 100,000 yards of earth to strengthen this foundation. What goes around comes around.” 

The temple to be built in St. George, Utah was announced in October 2018 by Church President Russell M. Nelson. On June 19, 2020, the First Presidency provided the official name of this future house of worship — the Red Cliffs Utah Temple.  

The temple will be built on a 14-acre site located northeast of 3000 East 1580 South in St. George. It will be a three-story building of approximately 90,000 square feet.   

“Sadly, the limitations and dangers of the COVID-19 pandemic are still with us,” Elder Holland prayed. “We pray that this plague will soon be lifted and that the many who are restricted from witnessing this groundbreaking will soon be able to witness the dedication of a beautifully completed house of the Lord.  

In remarks given at the groundbreaking, Utah Area President, Craig C. Christensen said, “President Russell M. Nelson has promised that the Lord will bring the miracles he knows we need as we serve in his holy temples earlier this year at a time when all the temples in Utah were closed.” 

He continued, “He stated that every minute we spend in temples will bless us and our families in ways nothing else can. He knows that we can have these experiences, even though the temples at the current time are limited in their service.” 

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

A video of the groundbreaking will be available on Newsroom in the coming days. 

Utah has 25 temples announced, under construction, under renovation or in operation. The state currently has 17 operating temples. In addition to Red Cliffs, temples have been announced in Lindon, Syracuse and Tooele Valley. Temples in Layton, Orem, Saratoga Springs and Taylorville are currently under construction. The Church has 168 operating temples in the world. 

There are more than 2.1 million Latter-day Saints in Utah that number just under two-thirds of the state’s population of over 3.2 million residents. 

Latter-day Saints consider temples to be the “house of the Lord.” Temples differ from the Church’s meetinghouses. Unlike meetinghouses, where Sabbath worship and weekly activities take place, temples are open throughout the week and are closed on Sundays. 

The primary purpose of temples is for faithful Latter-day Saints to participate in sacred ceremonies such as marriages, which unite families forever, and proxy baptisms on behalf of deceased ancestors who did not have the opportunity to be baptized while living.

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