Hartford Connecticut Temple
On Saturday, 3 October 1992 during the afternoon session of the 162nd Semiannual General Conference of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Gordon B. Hinckley, First Counselor in the First Presidency, announced plans for a temple to be constructed in Hartford, Connecticut. However, three years later, it was decided that two other temples would be built instead - one to the north in Boston, Massachusetts, and one to the south in White Plains, New York which was later renamed the Harrison New York Temple. Following the dedication of the Manhattan New York Temple, plans for the Harrison New York Temple were suspended.
The Church had tried for several years to procure property for the building of a temple in Hartford, but to no avail. During that time, Church membership continued to grow to the north and south of the area. In October 1995, in the Priesthood Session of the 165th Semiannual General Conference, President Gordon B. Hinckley explained, "After working for years to acquire a suitable site in the Hartford area, during which time the Church has grown appreciably in areas to the north and south, we have determined that we will not at this time build a temple in the immediate area of Hartford." He apologized to the disappointed members of Hartford by stating:
- We apologize to our faithful Saints in the Hartford area. We know you will be disappointed in this announcement. You know that we, and your local officers, have spent countless hours searching for a suitable location that would handle the needs of the Saints in New York and New England. While we deeply regret disappointing the people in the Hartford area, we are satisfied that we have been led to the present decision, and that temples will be located in such areas that our Saints in the Hartford area will not have to drive unreasonable distances.
On Saturday, 2 October 2010, in the opening session of the 180th Semiannual General Conference of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 18 years after the original announcement, President Thomas S. Monson announced the construction of the Hartford Connecticut Temple.
In May 2012, the church released a rendering of the temple and announced it would be built on an 11-acre parcel at the corner of Farmington Ave and Melrose Dr in Farmington, Connecticut. Farmington is the birthplace and childhood home of Wilford Woodruff, the fourth President of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The temple is planned to be 25,000 square feet and the site plan was approved by the town planning and zoning commission in June 2012. To see the plans, click here.
The Hartford Connecticut Temple will be the second temple built in New England, following the Boston Massachusetts Temple (2000), and the first built in Connecticut.
According to LDS Church Temples, the temple design "is reminiscent of the historic First Church of Christ Congregational church in Farmington, completed in 1772. The grounds are formally landscaped with colorful foliage and curving walkways and parking areas, enclosed by a low New England-style stone fence.
Peter Fishman, owner of the intended site for the temple, initially had reservations about the project until he was shown a rendering of the building and given an explanation of its purpose and operation. "[The Church is] proposing to build an incredibly beautiful, very New England-appropriate temple that is going to be a significant landmark in this town for hundreds of years." he said. He added, "I've seen what it's going to look like and it's going to be glorious—like a museum. It's going to be really a fantastic building, exceptionally well-built."
Site Dedication and Groundbreaking Ceremony
President Thomas S. Monson presided at the groundbreaking ceremony for the Hartford Connecticut Temple on Saturday, 17 August 2013. About five hundred gathered at the site with thousands more watching by satellite broadcast in area meetinghouses. President Monson told the Saints, "Today is a special and sacred day as we bring to fruition the hopes and dreams of the Church members here and break ground for the Hartford Connecticut Temple. Each temple stands as a beacon to the world, an expression of our testimony that God our Eternal Father lives, that He desires to bless us and indeed bless His sons and daughters of all generations."
Once completed, the temple will serve members from Connecticut, Rhode Island, southwestern Massachusetts, and eastern New York.
A description of the design of the Hartford Connecticut Temple is given on the LDS Church Temples.com website:
- The proposed Hartford Connecticut Temple is a 30-foot, single-story edifice clad in white granite with a beautiful entrance pediment supported by columns and an elegant steeple rising to 115 feet, capped with a gold-leafed statue of the angel Moroni. News reports say the design is reminiscent of the historic First Church of Christ Congregational church in Farmington, completed in 1772. The grounds are formally landscaped with colorful foliage and curving walkways and parking areas, enclosed by a low New England-style stone fence. High compliments on the design have been paid by members of the Farmington Plan and Zoning Commission including Commissioner Bill Stanford who called the building "shockingly New England."
- Peter Fishman, owner of the intended site for the temple, initially had reservations about the project until he was shown a rendering of the building and given an explanation of its purpose and operation. "[The Church is] proposing to build an incredibly beautiful, very New England-appropriate temple that is going to be a significant landmark in this town for hundreds of years." He added, "I've seen what it's going to look like and it's going to be glorious—like a museum. It's going to be really a fantastic building, exceptionally well-built.
As of September 2015, the attachment of stone cladding to the exterior of the Hartford Connecticut Temple continues. The spire has been shingled and stands in the staging area, ready to be attached to the steeple base. The parking lot has been paved, several sidewalks poured, and lampposts installed.
A significant milestone of the progress is in the placement of the angel Moroni on the top of the temple’s lone spire. That moment occurred the morning of Friday, 11 December 2015. As the statue was being maneuvered out of its crate by a crane the gold leaf statue started swinging back and forth. President of the Farmington Historical Society, and not a member of the Mormon faith, Portia Corbett, said, “Look at the way his trumpet is sounding to the world.” With the horn pressed to his lips and his right hand holding the outstretched horn, the statue of Moroni symbolizes the preaching of the gospel to the world. The angel Moroni, now on the Hartford Temple, is just over 13 feet tall and weighs approximately 1,000 pounds.
Hartford Connecticut Temple Open House Announced
The First Presidency of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has announced that the public is invited to tour the first temple of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Connecticut, the Constitution State. The Hartford Connecticut Temple will be open for a free public open house from Friday, 30 September 2016 to Saturday, 22 October 2016, excluding 1 October and Sundays. The public can make reservations at templeopenhouse.lds.org or call 1-855-537-2000.
The temple is located at 2 Central Way in Farmington, on the corner of Route 4 and Melrose Drive. The open houses start with a short 10-minute video presentation explaining the importance of temples in the Mormon faith. Then, visitors will participate in a guided 40-minute walking tour of the exterior and interior of the 37,246-square-foot temple. At the conclusion of the walking tour, visitors will be encouraged to explore the grounds, view additional informational displays and ask questions.
Hartford Stake President, William Elwell, commented that the tours will enable the community to gain a deeper understanding of the Mormon faith and its practices. He said, "A lot of times people just don't understand. We want them to see we are a people who believe in Jesus Christ, we're Christians, we have a strong belief in God, in living righteously and being better neighbors and serving others. The temple is a testament to our belief in eternal life, in life after this life. We want people to think about that, to ponder their relationship with God and have an opportunity to think about how they're living their lives and how they can be living them better."
Kevin Starr, the chair of the temple open house and dedication committees, further commented, "It's just a thrill that this beautiful temple is able to be in the wonderful town of Farmington. It's an absolute thrill. We are grateful to have this beautiful building as our own community of faith. We're grateful that prior to its dedication, we're able to share it with the community and share the special spirit of that building with the community."
Once the Hartford Connecticut Temple is dedicated it will serve about 27,000 church members in Connecticut, western Rhode Island, western Massachusetts and eastern New York. More than 800 members will work there to volunteer, assist with events and perform maintenance. The only other temple of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in New England is the Boston Massachusetts Temple.
Tours will be conducted on Mondays from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Tuesdays through Fridays from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m., and Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m.
A First Look Inside the Hartford Connecticut Temple
Cultural Celebration and Temple Dedication
A cultural celebration featuring music and dance by the local youth of the Church will be held on Saturday, 19 November 2016, at the Oakdale Theater in Wallingford.
The Hartford Connecticut Temple will be dedicated on Sunday, 20 Movember 2016 in three sessions - 9:00 a.m., 12:00 p.m., and 3:00 p.m. The dedicatory sessions will be broadcast to all the stakes and districts in Connecticut and the Hartford Connecticut Temple district. To enable members to participate in the temple dedication and to place appropriate focus on this sacred event, the three-hour block meetings will be canceled that day for these congregations.
Part of the temple dedication includes a cornerstone ceremony in which church leaders will symbolically place the final grout around the cornerstone of the temple. A choir will also provide music.
Kevin Starr, chairman of the temple open house and dedication committees, commented, "The temple is a very sacred and special building for us. To see it dedicated, to fulfill that purpose and have it available is a very significant milestone; it's something we've looked forward to for a long time. Scripturally, we recognize Christ as the chief cornerstone of the Church. When I walk by that cornerstone, it's a recollection for me of that symbolism, that Christ is the chief cornerstone. Everything we try to do in the temple is to learn of Christ and come to be closer to Christ."
The temple in Farmington will serve approximately 16,000 Latter-day Saints who live in Connecticut, along with members from New York, Massachusetts, Rhode Island and Vermont. The only other LDS temple in New England is the Boston Massachusetts Temple.