SYRACUSE — Leaders of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints broke ground for the Syracuse Utah Temple Saturday, telling church members who live in the area that God wants them to have the temple.
"No matter if you're a longtime resident or a 'modern-day pioneer,' this will be your temple," said Elder Kevin R. Duncan, a member of the church's Quorum of the Seventy.
"God wants you to have this temple. He wants you to be strengthened, to withstand the challenges of life. He wants you to have exaltation and eternal life. He wants you to be saved with your family. He wants you to be happy. He wants all of us to return home to him," Elder Duncan said, according to the Church News.
Elder Duncan, who is also the executive director of the church's Temple Department, presided over the groundbreaking ceremony and addressed the crowd before offering a dedicatory prayer to consecrate the property.
"I am very familiar with these fields where we stand, where we are gathered today. From this temple site, I can see the barn roof of my childhood home," Elder Duncan said in his remarks, according to a news release from the church.
The temple is being built on a 12-acre plot of land at the intersection of 2500 West and 1025 South in Syracuse.
During his dedicatory prayer, Elder Duncan recognized the faith and sacrifice of the early church pioneers who settled the land the temple will occupy.
"We also recognize the faith of the posterity of those pioneers and the many other of thy other children who have or will yet strengthen this area with their faith and trust in thee," Elder Duncan prayed.
Elder Dean M. Davies of the Quorum of the Seventy also offered remarks at the ceremony, and more than 150 individuals attended the event, the Church News reported. Attendees included Utah Gov. Spencer Cox, representatives from the nearby Hill Air Force Base, local church leaders and members, and other civic and community leaders.
Due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the church held the event by invitation only. Those within the temple's district were able to watch the ceremony via broadcast.
The temple is the 38th temple currently under construction, according to the Church News. Adding to 168 dedicated temples around the world, the 38 temples currently under construction mark an increase of nearly 25%, the site notes.
The temple will be three stories tall and about 89,000 square feet, according to the church. Construction is estimated to take two years, Brent Roberts, managing director of the church's Special Projects Department, said in the release. The department oversees temple construction worldwide.
Construction of the temple was announced at the church's general conference in April 2020 by church President Russell M. Nelson.
The Syracuse temple is one of six temple sites in Utah under construction. The others are in Layton, Orem, Saratoga Springs, St. George (the Red Cliffs temple), Taylorsville and Tooele (the Deseret Peak temple).
Temples in Lindon, Smithfield and Ephraim are all undergoing the early stages of planning and redesign as well, the Church News stated.