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CEDAR CITY — A wave of excitement hit LDS Church members in Cedar City and surrounding areas on Saturday morning when President Thomas S. Monson of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints announced a temple was to be built there in the near future.
The announcement came at the start of the 183rd Annual LDS General Conference.
“For years there were rumors that Cedar City would have a temple, but nothing quite came of it,” said Cedar City resident Maureen Einfeldt.
Residents believe the temple will be built above the city on Ley Hill, near Cove Drive and Carmel Canyon Drive.
“Nearly two years ago, we began to have backhoes come into our neighborhood, which was a dead end at the time,” Einfeldt said. “In no time, there was a new, beautiful road leading to the top of the hill. I had the thought that perhaps it was clearing the way for a new temple to be built.”
Years passed, and the new road was frequented by residents as a way to pass through town easily, but still no word on a new temple. Many general conferences passed with the building of new temples announced; none of them were in Cedar City. So, church members in the area continued to drive south to St. George to do temple work.
SALT LAKE CITY — For years, Cedar City has been the Festival City, thanks to Shakespeare. Now, there will be a Latter-day Saint temple.
Many residents drove to the believed temple site on Ley Hill Sunday to see it and imagine what the temple might look like. Jason and Angie York are grateful their four children will watch the construction.
Ashlyn remembers a trip to the Salt Lake Temple.
"I really like it up there because I walked on the temple grounds. But we don't have one here, so I don't get to do that very often," she said.
"It's pretty exciting. We've been kind of waiting for it for quite a long time," Jason said. "It's going to change the outlook of the town. It will be an even more spiritual side to Cedar City."
The other temple announced Saturday will be built in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. That stunningly beautiful city will host the 2016 Summer Olympic Games. Its most famous tourist attraction is the Christ the Redeemer sculpture, which overlooks the city.
Latter-day Saint Brazilians, who attended general conference in Salt Lake, are thrilled.
Wagner Pinheiro, of Manaus, Brazil, said, "We have a lot of friends from Rio de Janeiro and they are really jubilant, really happy about it. So, we're really excited."
“The issue was not about time or miles to drive,” Einfeldt said. “The only problem (if there was one) was that of space and accommodation for the thousands of faithful LDS members of southern Utah and beyond who wanted to attend the temple regularly.”
With the announcement of plans to build a temple in Cedar City, reaction from Cedar City residents and former residents began popping up on social media news feeds. Here are some of the statements:
Cedar City native Jami Atkin: “My daughter Lauren (10) immediately started writing President Monson a letter thanking him for the announcement and drew a picture of what she wants the temple to look like.”
Southern Utah University alumni Mary Ann Schauerhammer: “I'm so excited about the new temple. Cedar City has a special feeling about it. I think it will be a beacon to the Southern Utah University students who come there from all around the world and a blessing for the good saints who live there.”
Cedar City resident Dani Sorensen: “When President Monson announced it this morning I got teary-eyed, and couldn't help but cry when I heard my boys running around cheering, 'Cedar is really getting a temple!' It's hard to describe my emotions. ... I was just so completely overcome with joy. I feel so blessed to be a part of this community, and more importantly a part of this church. I can't wait to look out my window and see the temple; it is going on the hill above our house. It will be quite a site.”
SUU student and Cedar City native Rand Einfeldt: “Yes! The rumors were true! A Temple in Cedar City! It will be located next to my house!
"Years ago my house was by a dead end that had a dirt trail that my family would run on. When the city decided to build a road through there, I was not so excited.
Yes! The rumors were true! A Temple in Cedar City!
That dirt trail was where I went on my last run with my sister Megan, who passed away seven years ago. I didn't want a road to replace that unforgettable memory I shared with my sister before I left on my mission. But now, a temple will be in place of that dead end, leading to a path that promises eternal families beyond this life.”
Finally, a thought from Scott Lunt, a descendant of Henry Lunt, the man who helped settle the area:
"It's hard to put to words the feeling of a thrilling spiritual moment like I experienced today when I heard the announcement. My mind immediately turned to my great-great-grandfather Henry Lunt, who was among the first who rode to the Cedar valley from Parowan. I traced in my mind a line between all the places he left a legacy of faith: Cedar City; Colonia Juarez, Mexico; Gila Valley, Ariz. Cedar City has now joined the others as temple homes. It struck me how much his dedication, and the faith of his fellow pioneers, has blessed and will bless the lives of so many. I'm touched that now the spirit of that great valley will have a direct connection to heaven."
Video contributor: Carole Mikita
Arianne Brown is a graduate from SUU, mother to five young kids, and an avid runner. Contact her at email@example.com,