News Release

Tallahassee Temple Groundbreaking Kicks Off Construction Project 

Will be the Church's third temple in Florida

Construction is underway for the Tallahassee Florida Temple of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day

Saints, which will be the third temple in the state after the Orlando Florida and Fort Lauderdale Florida temples.

Elder James B. Martino, North America Southeast Area President, presided at the groundbreaking ceremony Saturday and was assisted by local Church leader Elder Victor P. Patrick, Area Seventy.

Downloadable B-roll & SOTs

“This temple will bless the entire land around it and the entire community. It will be a beacon of holiness and a place of peace for all to both see and feel. Here we will seek to draw closer to God, to hear His voice, and seek to follow His teachings,” said Elder Martino. “This edifice that will be built right here is called the House of the Lord, because truly it is His house for us to learn of Him.”

The temple in Florida’s capital city was announced in April 2020 by Church President Russell M. Nelson.

The single-story structure of approximately 29,000 square feet is being built on a 4.97-acre site adjacent to a Church meetinghouse off Thomasville Road (2440 Papillion Way) in northeast Tallahassee.

Florida is home to more than 160,000 Latter-day Saints in 267 congregations.

In addition to the two existing Florida temples, the Tallahassee Florida Temple will join temples in Birmingham, Alabama; Atlanta, Georgia; and Columbia, South Carolina in the southeastern United States.

“In past years, pioneer brothers and sisters from this part of the Lord’s vineyard have prepared for and traveled to Utah and Arizona to receive temple blessings. My parents and grandparents had this privilege,” said President Benjamin Smith of the Tallahassee Florida Stake (a group of congregations).

“Our knowledge of those pioneers from our area is dear in our hearts and minds.

In more recent times, members would travel to Washington, D.C., then Atlanta, and then Orlando for temple blessings. We are grateful for these cherished memories of extended travel … With the announcement of the temple in Tallahassee, we, with hearts full of gratitude, look forward to further becoming a gospel sharing and temple going people,” he added.

In his dedicatory prayer, Elder Martino prayed for the individual lives of those living in the region and that Saturday’s milestone would be a spiritual groundbreaking in the lives of the members of the Church.

In his opening remarks, Elder Martino talked about the significance of the word “groundbreaking.”

“Groundbreaking was considered a representation of breaking the earth, to make a sacred deposit that would endorse a firm foundation. How appropriate of a description. Truly, this is the symbolic act to begin a foundation for a most sacred building,” he said.

James Andrew Gray, Sr., 94, did not think he would see this day. 

Gray, who was a home builder during his career, joined the Church in 1955 after his brother was converted while in the Hawaiian Islands during a layover. He introduced Gray to the gospel.

Gray said some of the older members of the Church in the area have been waiting for decades to see a temple built in their midst.

“We have wanted a temple for a long time. I didn’t know that I would live to see one,” he said while choking up. “I enjoy and love being a member of the Church,” he added.

Several community leaders attended the ceremony, including Ron Cave with the Leon County Sheriff’s office, Courtney Thomas with the Tallahassee Mayor’s office, and Enrique Yañez, a member of the Hispanic faith community.

Attendance at the groundbreaking ceremony was limited due to COVID-19 restrictions. As an alternative way to participate, members and friends of the Church were able to view the groundbreaking ceremony via live stream.

Temples of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints differ from meetinghouses or chapels where members meet for Sunday worship services. They are considered “houses 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 promise to follow Jesus Christ and serve their fellow man.

EDITOR’S NOTE: A “stake” in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is a group of local Church congregations. A stake generally consists of about 3,000 to 5,000 members in five to ten congregations.

Style Guide Note:When reporting about The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, please use the complete name of the Church in the first reference. For more information on the use of the name of the Church, go to our online Style Guide.