SMITHFIELD, Cache County – Two Apostles with roots in the Cache Valley were sent “home” Saturday by the First Presidency of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints to participate in the dedication ceremony of the Smithfield Utah Temple.
Quentin L. Cook and Gary E. Stevenson of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, both of whom grew up in the Logan area, gave talks and Elder Cook dedicated the site to construction with up to 600 people in attendance by a windy morning.
“I love this beautiful valley,” said Elder Cook, who also reflected on his youthful years playing sports in the area. “I’ve seen a lot of the world, but this peaceful valley surrounded by these majestic mountains still feels like home to me. It’s one of the most beautiful places on the planet.
“We believe it is no coincidence that Elder Cook and I are both Cache Valley boys and have this mission today,” Elder Stevenson said. “And we suspect that (the late) Brother (L. Tom) Perry is also interested today in what’s going on here.”
In his dedicatory prayer, Elder Cook expressed gratitude for the pioneer ancestors “who have gone before us and laid the foundations of a temple in the northern Cache Valley.”
“We pray that this temple will be a beacon for the communities it serves,” he said.
Why a second temple in Cache Valley?
Cache County has the second-highest concentration of Latter-day Saints in Utah (64%) and Idaho, according to the 2020 U.S. Census of American Religion.
“It is not surprising that the Lord would want an additional temple to serve faithful members in their efforts to provide sacred ordinances for deceased ancestors,” Elder Cook said.
A second temple in Cache Valley is an indication that the church continues to establish itself, the apostles said.
“A temple represents stakes and wards, and stakes and wards represent stakes of Latter-day Saints,” Elder Stevenson said. “It’s heartwarming and just beautiful to watch.”
The Smithfield Temple District will serve church members in the communities of Benson, Franklin, Hyde Park, North Logan, Preston, Richmond and Smithfield.
A second temple in Cache Valley will support “huge” growth in the area, said Darrell Simmons, a former Smithfield mayor who also serves as a patriarch in the church.
“The temple will have a huge impact on the future of this community,” said Darrell Simmons, who has lived in Smithfield for more than 40 years.
“We feel really lucky to have him,” said Ruth Simmons, Darrell’s wife.
The Smithfield Temple will be the 26th in the state of Utah. There are currently 172 dedicated temples around the world, with 50 temples under construction and another 60 announced.
“More than 85 percent of church members now live within 200 miles of a temple,” Elder Stevenson said.
“It’s all part of the great plan of happiness, the clear and precious truths of the gospel that inform us that we are children of a loving Heavenly Father who desires that we return and live in his presence and as his eternal family. Stevenson said.
The Poulsen family legacy
Before Elder Cook dedicated the property at 800 West 100 North to the Smithfield Utah Temple, it was farmland operated by the LaMont Poulsen family for more than 160 years.
Church realtors approached the family to purchase the 13.3-acre plot in 2018. It was not easy for the family to sell the land, but no one wanted to confront the ancestors in the other beyond and be the one who said “No”. “, reports the Herald Journal.
Zander Poulsen, LaMont’s 17-year-old grandson who attended the groundbreaking ceremony, has moved the pipe around the grounds with his cousin in recent years.
“We’re super excited,” he said. “We can look across the street and see the temple. It’s pretty crazy to think there will be a big temple sitting here.
“Volumes” of Faith
Lindsey Lott, a Latter-day Saint from Preston, remarked briefly on her ancestor William Woodward, who joined the church in England and traveled with the pioneers in Utah in the 1800s. He returned to Europe as missionary and returned home with handcart pioneers in 1856 as a clerk to Captain James G. Willie. The day after he arrived in the Salt Lake Valley, he received temple ordinances in the Salt Lake Endowment House.
“It says a lot about his faith,” said Lott, who was asked to focus on the subject, “How my ancestor’s faith led us to the building of the temple in Smithfield, Utah.” “I’m sure William is happy to have another temple built in Cache Valley.”
Return the ground
Government, education, business, interfaith and religious leaders were among more than 500 guests at Saturday’s groundbreaking, many of whom participated in the “turning of the ground” ceremony.
A strong wind blew for the duration of the event, which ruffled hair and forced speakers to hold their speeches tight, but also provided a breeze in the morning heat.
“My first feeling of having this wind with us was a little disappointing,” Elder Cook said. “Then the spiritual feeling came over me that for a lot of us who are fifth, sixth, and seventh generation members of the church, it’s kind of nice to have an element that pits us a bit against each other here. When you think of the Kirtland Temple and the Nauvoo Temple and think of our history, maybe having a little wind is a good memory of what our ancestors had to face in the pursuit of building temples .
After the dedicatory prayer and the earth-turning ceremony, Elder Cook and Elder Stevenson offered some playful mementos that had the crowd laughing.
Standing with a shovel in his hand, Elder Stevenson said: “My father always said, ‘A shovel handle is not something to lean on, Gary.’ »
“I remember more bean picking,” Elder Cook said.