Home News Ground broken in Pocatello for a new temple

Ground broken in Pocatello for a new temple

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Today in Pocatello, the sun warmed the backs of hundreds of people who gathered en masse on the open hill, which had been covered in snow only two days before.

Tammy Mulkey, a BYU-Idaho alumna living in town, walked over a mile and a half to join them. She wasn’t sure if she’d be able to get on the grounds or not. But once she arrived, she felt like she needed to stay. She hadn’t been to a temple groundbreaking since 2005, in Rexburg.

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The groundbreaking ceremony for the Pocatello Idaho Temple of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints took place Saturday morning, March 16. The groundbreaking marked the beginning of construction of the sixth temple in Idaho. Leaders and members of various faith communities in the Portneuf area, as well as Gov. Brad Little, came together for the service in which the ground for the future temple was dedicated and broken.

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Celeste Stiggers, a member of Praise Temple of God in Pocatello, visited the service with her pastor, who participated in turning the soil.

“It really is an honor. It’s a blessing as well,” Stiggers said.

To her, the participation of other faiths was a snapshot of the afterlife.

“This is how heaven’s going to be one day,” Stiggers said, smiling. “You know, we’re going to all be together.”

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The event marked the 174th groundbreaking ceremony of a temple of the Church of Jesus Christ. The temple district for the Pocatello temple will cover 22 stakes in Southeast Idaho.

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Almost 3,000 youth from those stakes came together to clear the land for the temple. Elder S. Gifford Nielsen, a General Authority Seventy, said youth “from the 22 stakes joined together a little over a week ago to help clean up the area; to clean up the sage brush to make this setting so special this day.”

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Nielsen also acknowledged the blessing that this temple will be to those in the surrounding areas. “This new temple is the answer to many prayers,” Nielsen said.

Elder Brian K. Taylor of the Idaho/North American Central Area presidency addressed those in attendance and spoke about what holiness means.

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“[Holiness] looks like repentance and forgiveness,” Elder Taylor said. “It looks like striving in all our imperfections.”

Elder Wilford W. Anderson offered a dedicatory prayer in which he consecrated the land where the temple will be built. He promised the blessings and enduring joy that come from entering the Lord’s temple and making sacred covenants. He invited those there to dedicate themselves to becoming more like our savior, Jesus Christ, just as the site was dedicated.

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Taysom Hill, a BYU alumnus, New Orleans Saints quarterback and Pocatello native, gave the invocation for the service.

“I still remember where I was what conference and stuff when they made the announcement,” Hill said. “It’s so much fun for us and my hometown is such a special place for me. So to see them get a new temple and have the opportunity to be a part of that was a special day.”

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Mulkey stays seated long after most of the crowd had left.

“It’s an experience you normally don’t get in your life,” she said. “Normally you’re not close enough to where an actual temple is going to be built, and that’s happened twice now.”

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She remembers the Rexburg groundbreaking happened on a hot day in July. She remembers there were a lot of people there. But what she really remembers is the spirit she felt.

“I remember the feeling that I had there,” Mulkey said. “It’s the same feeling that I had today.”

A pink stake in the middle of the exposed ground marked the heart of the temple. The location of the stake in the small mound of dirt would become the center of the new temple’s celestial room.

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“The outside of the temple is beautiful,” Mulkey said. “Just like we are as individuals. But what really matters is what’s inside of us. Inside our hearts. Who we are. Why we do what we do.”

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