Red Cliffs Utah Temple
On 7 October 2018, during the 188th semiannual General Conference of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. President Russell M. Nelson that a second temple would be constructed in Washington County, Utah. The other temple in Washington County, dedicated in 1877, is the St. George Utah Temple — the oldest operating temple of the Church.
In his announcement remarks, President Nelson also noted that the Pioneer-era temples of the Church would begin to be renovated in the near future. He specifically named the Salt Lake Temple. Renovations were begun on the Salt Lake Temple in December 2019. On 22 May 2019, it was announced that the St. George Utah Temple would be renovated. The St. George Utah Temple closed in November 2019 for extensive renovation and is expected to reopen sometime in 2022. One other temple, the Cedar City Utah Temple, which was dedicated at the end of 2017, also operates in Southwestern Utah.
On 19 June 2020, the First Presidency approved that the name of the Washington County Utah Temple be changed to the Red Cliffs Utah Temple.The Red Cliffs Utah Temple will be a three-story building of approximately 88,000 square feet. The location of the temple was announced on 6 November 2019. The temple will be constructed on a 14-acre site located northeast of the intersection of 3000 East and 1580 South in the Washington Fields area of St. George, Utah. The St. George Utah Temple is located west of I-15, and the Washington County Utah Temple will be east of the interstate.
On 7 April 2020, an official exterior rendering of the Washington County Utah Temple was released. Additional exterior and interior renderings will be made public later.
The Red Cliffs Utah Temple will be the twentieth temple built in Utah. The temple was announced in the 141st anniversary year of the St. George Utah Temple. The Red Cliffs Utah Temple and the St. George Utah Temple are the third pair of temples in Utah to be built in the same city, following the Jordan River Utah Temple (1981) and Oquirrh Mountain Utah Temple (2009) in South Jordan, Utah; and the Provo Utah Temple (1972) and Provo City Center Temple (2016) in Provo, Utah.
Utah currently has 17 operating temples. In addition to Washington County, temples have also been announced in Layton, Orem, Saratoga Springs, Taylorsville, and Tooele Valley. Temples in southern Utah include Monticello, Cedar City and St. George.
When the Red Cliffs Utah Temple was announced, President Daniel K. Frei, Santa Clara Utah Stake president, said, "Many people are moving here. We do have a temple, but only so much work can be done, and a lot of temple work is being done. We are already at capacity." He added: "This will provide an opportunity for more Church members to serve in the temple. It is also an indication of the Lord’s confidence in the people who live in the area. We will need to staff the new temple and do the work — it creates more opportunity for us to serve."
There are more than 2.1 million Latter-day Saints in Utah, an amount just under two-thirds of the state’s population of over 3.2 million residents. Utah has 24 temples announced, under construction, under renovation or in operation.
Groundbreaking Ceremony for the Red Cliffs Utah Temple
The First Presidency of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has announced that Elder Jeffrey R. Holland, a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles and native of St. George, Utah, will preside at the November 2020 groundbreaking for the Red Cliffs Utah Temple, located in St. George northeast of the intersection of 3000 East and 1580 South.
Attendance at the groundbreaking ceremony will be by invitation only in keeping with local government safety guidelines. Photos and video of the event will be made available following the services, according to a church statement.
Groundbreaking Ceremony is Held for the Red Cliffs Utah Temple
On Saturday, 7 November 2020, a handful of leaders of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and invited guests held a groundbreaking ceremony for the Red Cliffs Utah Temple. Because of the local COVID-19 restrictions, attendence at the event was limited.
Elder Jeffrey R. Holland, a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles and native of St. George, Utah, presided at the temple groundbreaking and offered the dedicatory prayer. He was joined by his wife, Sister Patricia Holland, his son, Elder Matthew Holland, General Authority Seventy, Elder Craig C. Christensen, Utah Area President, and other local guests.
During his remarks, Elder Holland said, "It is a privilege and delight to be with you today. Surely you can imagine some of the emotions Pat and I feel as we get older and more nostalgic, with fewer and fewer trips to this land of our childhood."
In the dedicatory prayer, he said, "We salute those pioneers who, with sacrifice and sweat, built just a mile or so away the beautiful St. George temple that has provided a symbolic anchor of our faith in this part of the state for a century and a half." He prayed, "May the breaking of this soil and the development of this site not only be evidence of the dedication of a parcel of land, but may it also mark a re-dedication of our personal lives."
Elder Holland further commented, "When the St. George Temple was being built some 150 years ago, my great, great grandfather William Carter was called to strengthen the soil conditions in that soggy, boggy location President Brigham Young had designated. He continued, "Fast forward to 2020 and note that for the foundation of this temple, my cousin, Tyson Feller, 3rd great grandson of William Carter, oversaw the hauling of over 100,000 yards of earth to strengthen this foundation. What goes around comes around."