Bentonville Arkansas Temple
On 5 October 2019, during the 189th Semiannual General Conference of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, President Russell M. Nelson announced plans to construct the Bentonville Arkansas Temple.
On 23 April 2020, the location of the Bentonville Arkansas Temple was announced. The temple will be built on an 8.8-acre site located at 1101 McCollum Road behind the stake center for the Bentonville Arkansas Stake. The building stands on I-49 near its junction with Highway 72, providing excellent access to members living throughout the region.
On 28 August 2020, an official exterior rendering of the Bentonville Arkansas Temple was released.
The Bentonville Arkansas Temple will be the first temple built in Arkansas. There are more than 31,000 Latter-day Saints in Arkansas with approximately 70 congregations.
Groundbreaking Ceremony Held for the Bentonville Arkansas Temple
On Saturday, 7 November 2020, a small group of Church leaders gathered to participate in the groundbreaking ceremony of the Bentonville Arkansas Temple, which is the first temple of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Arkansas.
Elder David A. Bednar, a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, presided over the groundbreaking remotely with a limited number of local Church leaders and invited guests attending the groundbreaking because of COVID-19 social distancing guidelines. The event was held in a chapel next to the new temple ground.
Elder Bednar is a former University of Arkansas professor. He helped organize two stakes (a group of congregations) in Arkansas, including the Bentonville Arkansas Stake. He and his wife, Susan, spent 14 years in Fayetteville, a city around 30 miles south of Bentonville. He said, "This is a moment that for most of my life, I never could have imagined would occur even in this moment. I find it hard to believe what we're celebrating and the service that we're participating in today, and it's also a moment that I wish would never end."
Sister Bednar said, "I'm grateful that we have a temple coming in northwest Arkansas. It thrills my heart. I can't even tell you how grateful I am. I wish that we could all jump for joy and that we could be together to give each other hugs and celebration of this wonderful, wonderful moment."
Other church leaders at the ceremony included Elder James B. Martino, president of the North America Southeast Area and Elder David Harris, an Area Seventy. Elder Martino said, "Groundbreaking is an interesting word. According to sources, ‘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."
Elder Bednar further commented, "Yes, we love the temple, we love to see the temple, we want to be in the temple, but not because just of the building, but because of the covenants and the ordinances [promises and ceremonies] that provide access for us in our daily lives to the power of godliness." In the dedicatory prayer, he prayed, ". . . .that this location will be hallowed, that it will be safeguarded and protected. And that it will be a place of great spiritual power."
Elder Bednar also said, "It is one of the great blessings and experiences of my life to have lived for about a third of my life in northwest Arkansas. As I stand here now and think of the faces. And the people that I love and the influence that they have had in my life, in Susan's life and in the life of our family, I am filled with deep gratitude and I cannot say the smallest part of what I feel."
Details for the open house and temple dedication upon its completion will be announced at a future date. Construction is estimated to be completed in early 2023.