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PAYSON -- Dressed in their Sunday best and with shovels in hand, those hands broke ground on the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints newest temple. "I'll just observe this is such an effective workforce, if they weren't dressed in Sunday best, we'd invite them to line up and start the footings," said Elder Dallin H. Oaks.
Oaks, who spent part of his childhood years in Payson, led the groundbreaking service for a new temple, which will be built in the southwest part of the city, not far from I- 15.
"The Payson temple will be a dominant and visible influence on the millions who pass here by day and by night," he said.
The rainy, cold day, didn't discourage thousands from attending the service, including Gene and Bonnie Curtis who live a few blocks away.
"We'll be able to see the steeple from our house and we'll be able to walk to the temple, which will be really nice," Bonnie said.
"We never dreamed we'd have one here," Gene said.
The new temple will serve church members from the southern part of Utah County, as well as Delta and Nephi.
This is our temple, we're from Goshen, it's neat it's so close and it's really going to make a difference to us personally and the area.
–- Jenny Staheli, resident
"This is our temple, we're from Goshen, it's neat it's so close and it's really going to make a difference to us personally and the area, it's tough to get into Provo sometimes, we can't make it up there like we want to," said Jenny Staheli.
While Payson is one of the smaller communities in Utah County, this temple will be one of the larger new temples in Utah.
"This temple will be about 50 percent bigger than the Draper and Oquirrh Mountain temples, which are about 60 thousand square feet, this temple will be about 96 thousand square feet, it will be a beautiful large temple," said Elder William R. Walker, First Quorum of the Seventy, also in attendance.
The decision to build a temple in Payson was made personally by President Thomas S. Monson.
"This temple was specifically mentioned by President Monson. Of course he has oversight for every decision, but he actually came into our meetings one day and said we need to have a temple in Payson, Utah," Walker said.
Now, nearly two years after it was announced, the Payson temple is closer to becoming a reality.
"We're excited, couldn't ask for a greater day," said Stake President Rod Newman.
Construction of the Payson Temple will begin this coming spring and the temple dedication is scheduled for spring or summer of 2014.