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Cedar City Utah Temple (Courtesy of Bobby Valero)

On 6 April 2013, at the Saturday morning session of the 183rd Annual General Conference of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, President, and Prophet Thomas S. Monson announced the construction of a Mormon temple in Cedar City, Utah.

There are nearly two million Church members in Utah and the Cedar City Utah Temple announced in April 2013 will be the seventeenth in Utah. The 42,657-square foot edifice is located at 280 South Cove Drive in Cedar City on 7.3 acres of land - on the north side of Leigh Hill. It will serve members in 17 stakes headquartered in southern Utah and eastern Nevada, an area which includes approximately 50,000 members. One of the great temple hymns, "High on a Mountain Top," was written by Joel Hill Johnson while living in Enoch, Utah, a suburb of Cedar City. Members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Cedar City, Utah, currently participate in temple ordinances at the St. George Utah Temple, located approximately 50 miles to the south. The St. George Utah Temple serves members from 48 stakes in Southern Utah, Eastern Nevada, and Northern Arizona.

History of Cedar City Utah

Cedar City is north of St. George, Utah, where the first temple in the state was completed (the Salt Lake Temple took 40 years to build). Cedar City is the home of the University of Southern Utah, famous for its annual Shakespearean Festival, and near several national parks and ski ranges, including Zion's National Park and Brianhead Ski Resort.

In 1851, the first settlers arrived in the Cedar City area on an assignment from Church leaders to establish iron works. Although the ironworks were not as successful as they had hoped, iron mining continued, and the addition of the railroad near Cedar City in 1923 aided distribution of mining products. The railroad also introduced the world to southern Utah’s national parks. Today Cedar City has a large Latter-day Saint population, some of which are descendants of those 19th-century settlers.

Temple District

The Cedar City Utah Temple will serve members from 17 stakes located in southern Utah and eastern Nevada: Beaver Utah Stake, Cedar City Utah Canyon View Stake, Cedar City Utah Cross Hollow Stake, Cedar City Utah Married Student Stake, Cedar City Utah North Stake, Cedar City Utah Stake, Cedar City Utah West Stake, Cedar City YSA 1st Stake, Cedar City YSA 2nd Stake, Ely Nevada Stake, Enoch Utah Stake, Enoch Utah West Stake, Escalante Utah Stake, Minersville Utah Stake, Panaca Nevada Stake, Panguitch Utah Stake, and Parowan Utah Stake.

Groundbreaking Ceremony

The ground was broken for the Cedar City Utah Temple on Saturday, 8 August 2015. Elder L. Whitney Clayton of the Presidency of the Seventy presided. He was joined by Elder Kent F. Richards of the Seventy and executive director of the Temple Department and Elder Dane Leavitt of the Seventy. During his comments, Elder Clayton said, "we remember the founders of Cedar City 167 years ago and remember the broken picks and broken shovels. We stand on their shoulders. They endured much to prepare the area's foundation for a city they would never see."

Services were broadcast live to the 17 stake centers in the temple district, allowing Latter-day Saints across the region to participate in the historic event.

Things to Know about the Cedar City Utah Temple

The Cedar City Utah Temple has been years in the making. The grounds of the lot on Leigh Hill were subdivided into three parcels in September 2012 and the LDS Church finalized the purchase of the 21-acre west-side parcel a few months late in November. Construction on the 42,657-square foot building started in 2015 with the Angel Moroni placed on the tower in September 2016.

Zwick Construction delivered and signed over the recently completed temple to the owners’ representatives on Friday, 29 September 2017. They will oversee the finishing touches and final preparations for the next four weeks before the public open house begins on Friday, 27 October 2017.

Open House Dates Announced

The First Presidency of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has announced that the free public open house for the Cedar City Utah Temple will begin on Friday, 27 October 2017, and continue through Saturday, 18 November 2017, except for the Sundays of 29 October, 5 and 12 November.

The tour is open to anyone who is interested – including non-members – but reservations are required. Tickets are available through an online reservation system at templeopenhouse.lds.org (a valid e-mail address is required to confirm reservations). The tours will begin with a short video presentation on the importance of the temples in the LDS faith. Following the video, a temple host will escort attendees on a walking tour of the facility. Modest dress is requested. A parking attendant will be on-site to guide visitors to an available parking space. All guests are encouraged to arrive early to allow extra time for traffic and parking.

All ages are welcome. The limit is 15 guests per reservation, but larger groups can be accommodated by calling the Temple Open House Reservation Center at 855-537-2000. Guests will be asked to show either an electronic or printed copy of their reservation when they arrive for their scheduled tour. Those without tickets may wait in a standby area for available spots in line as they open up. Tickets for the open house are available at templeopenhouse.lds.org. Tours will take place every 15 minutes from noon until 9 p.m. MDT Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays; and from 9 a.m. until 9 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays. Each tour last approximately one hour, which includes a 10-minute video followed by a room-by-room walk-through tour of the temple.

No photos, videos or recording devices are permitted inside the temple, but outside photographs are encouraged. Professionally taken photos of the interior will be available for free download on the Church’s website at lds.org. Animals, including service animals, are not permitted inside the temple. Also, food and drinks are not allowed inside the temple.

St. George Utah.com reports that officials of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints are expecting over 150,000 visitors to the Cedar City temple open house over the next three weeks. To accommodate parking and transportation, five shuttles will run continuously during the event. The shuttles will run from the Cross Hollow Stake Center, located at 2830 W. Cody Drive, to the temple at 280 S. Cove Drive, a trip of about a mile. They will run in a continuous loop, so there will be a minimal wait time.

The temple is wheelchair accessible. and guests with mobility issues, other disabilities or special needs should indicate by checking a box on the online registration form or by calling the Temple Open House Reservation Center at 855-537-2000.

Cultural Celebration and Temple Dedication

The cultural celebration will be held at 7:00 pm MDT on Saturday, 9 December 2017, at the America First Event Center (formerly known as the Centrum Arena) at Southern Utah University. The program, which will feature approximately 4,500 youth performers, will commemorate the heritage of the region through narration, song, and dance. The celebration will be broadcast live to local stake centers.

The temple will be dedicated the following day on Sunday, 10 December 2017, in three sessions at 9:00 a.m., 12:00 p.m. and 3:00 p.m. The dedication will be broadcast to members of the Church in the Cedar City Utah Temple district. The three-hour block of meetings will be canceled for that Sunday for those congregations to enable members of the Church to participate and focus on this sacred event.

After the temple is dedicated, only Latter-day Saints with "temple recommends" may enter. However, the temple grounds will remain open to the public. The Cedar City Utah Temple will be the 17th LDS temple in Utah and the 159th in the world. The temple will begin regular operations on 12 December 2017, with operating hours like those of most other Utah temples. For more information regarding ordinance schedules, call the temple at 435-867-6264.