The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints breaks ground on new temple in Farmington

Noel Lyn Smith
Farmington Daily Times

FARMINGTON — Leaders of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and invited guests gathered to break ground on April 30 for the new Farmington temple.

"Why do we build temples? The reason we build temples might be answered in two words – hope and home," Elder Anthony D. Perkins of the Quorum of the Seventy of the Church said at the event.

A temple is where Latter-day Saints can feel a special closeness to God when they visit and it is where ordinances or sacred, formal acts or ceremony are performed, including baptisms and marriage sealings.

The new temple was announced last April by Church President Russell M. Nelson. It will be the second temple in New Mexico.

The single-story structure of approximately 25,000 square feet will be built on 6.62 acres at the intersection of College Boulevard and Windsor Drive.

Emeritus General Authority Seventy Elder Larry J. Echo Hawk talks with members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints on April 30 after the groundbreaking ceremony on the new temple in Farmington.

The temple will serve Latter-day Saints from parts of New Mexico, Colorado, Arizona and the Navajo Nation, according to a news release from the Church.

Perkins and his wife, Christine, grew up in the region. They met in Farmington, dated in high school and held their wedding reception in the city. They now live in Salt Lake City, where Perkins serves at the Church headquarters.

Why temples?:Understanding the LDS faith

He said they were overjoyed when they heard about plans to build a new temple in Farmington.

From left to right, Navajo Nation President Jonathan Nez, Ute Mountain Ute Tribe Chairman Manuel Hart and Emeritus General Authority Seventy Elder Larry J. Echo Hawk visit on April 30 during the groundbreaking ceremony on the new temple in Farmington.

The Farmington temple is among the 282 temples that are either operational, under construction or announced for development, Perkins said.

Participating in the groundbreaking ceremony were stakes from Bloomfield, Farmington, Gallup, and Kirtland along with Durango, Colorado and Chinle and Tuba City, both in Arizona.

Also joining the event were invited dignitaries representing local, state and tribal governments.

"Temples have foundations. Soon, construction will begin and the physical foundation of the Farmington, New Mexico temple will be laid," Emeritus General Authority Seventy Elder Larry J. Echo Hawk said. "But the spiritual foundation for this temple was laid by past generations of strong, faithful and deeply spiritual people."

Members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and invited guests watch on April 30 Church officials and dignitaries break ground on the new temple in Farmington.

Members of the Church of Jesus Christ were an important part of settling the area, he explained, beginning with the settlement of Fruitland in 1878, followed by Kirtland two years later.

Kirtland was named after Kirtland, Ohio, where the first temple was built, he added.

"When construction of the temple is complete, the spiritual foundation of temple patrons and workers will surely be strengthened by their service in the temple," Echo Hawk said.

He added that after construction is done, the temple will be open to the public for tours before it is dedicated.

Members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints help break ground on the new temple on April 30 in Farmington.

Noel Lyn Smith covers the Navajo Nation for The Daily Times. She can be reached at 505-564-4636 or by email at nsmith@daily-times.com.

Support local journalism with a digital subscription: http://bit.ly/2I6TU0e