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Star Valley Wyoming Temple
Latter-day Saints in the state of Wyoming will now enjoy worship and work at their own Mormon Temple. The announcement of the construction of the Star Valley Wyoming Temple was made at the 181st semi-annual general conference of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in October 2011. Prophet Thomas S. Monson, who made the announcement, joked that he would be happy to personally dedicate this particular temple, because of the good fishing in the area.
The Rexburg Idaho Temple or other Idaho temples previously serviced Wyoming’s 63,000 church members. The journey to the Rexburg Temple from Wyoming was considerably difficult on rural roads with severe winter conditions.
The history of the Church in Wyoming is rich and interesting. Mormon pioneers traveled westward through the state first in 1847, following the Oregon Trail to Fort Bridger. The first party of travelers stopped at Fort Laramie to repair their wagons. They used rafts to ferry themselves across the Platte River, and nine men stayed behind to continue working what became a profitable ferry.
Most traveling parties made it through Wyoming without trouble, but the Willie and Martin Handcart Companies of 1857 got trapped there in winter snowstorms. Of the 1,075 people in those companies, roughly 200 tragically perished before the rest were rescued by Saints from Utah settlements. Church members settled in the Star Valley area in 1877 and then Church President Brigham Young dedicated it as a gathering place for Latter-day Saints the following year. Today, three monuments stand in memory of the Willie and Martin Handcart Companies and a memorial site, dedicated by former Church President Gordon B. Hinckley, rests at the mouth of Sweetwater Canyon where 21 Saints died in a single night.