LDS Church • Mormon faithful turn out to celebrate the church's 14th temple in Utah, 139th worldwide.
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Brigham City • Over the past two years, the Hull family of Tremonton has filled four photo albums marking every stage of construction of the Mormon Church's new Brigham City temple from the groundbreaking in July 2010 to the hoisting of the angel Moroni statue a year later.
On Sunday morning, the Hulls Marvin, Laura Lee and 6-year-old twins Kenden and MarleeAnn completed the circle, attending The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints temple's cornerstone ceremony.
"I came at 6 a.m. so we would have a good spot," said Laura Lee. "No one was here but me."
The family was among more than 100 people who watched from outside the temple as Boyd K. Packer, president of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, presided over the ceremony, placing mortar around the cornerstone on the southeast corner of the sparkling white church. His wife, Donna, and other Mormon leaders also took their turns.
Following the ceremony, the group returned inside the temple where Packer, a Brigham City native, offered the dedicatory prayer. Packer, speaking from his wheelchair, noted that he was surprised three years ago when Church President Thomas S. Monson, announced that a temple would be built in Brigham City, where he was born, attended school and served on the City Council. In fact, the temple is built on a site where Packer once attended elementary school.
Packer, now 88, said he prayed he would live long enough to see the temple in his hometown dedicated. He said he was grateful that prayer was granted.
Elder L. Tom Perry, next in line in seniority after Packer among LDS apostles, conducted the morning service, one of three broadcast to Mormon meetinghouses throughout Utah.
The Brigham City temple is located at 250 S. Main St., across the street from the historic Tabernacle. It is the 14th Mormon temple in Utah and the 139th worldwide.
When building the temple, church leaders took pains to include peach blossoms throughout, as a nod to the city's most famous fruit. The blossoms adorn rugs, backs of chairs and windows.
Just like the fruit, the temple "has brought such sweetness to this area," said Angela Risenmay, an expecting mother who returned to Brigham City to live with family while her husband, Matt, is stationed in Afghanistan. She said her three children have watched the temple being built, donated to the temple fund and now have a real connection to the building, even talking about someday getting married in it.
"It's a place I know they want to come back to," she said.
With temples in Logan and Ogden, both just 30 minutes away in different directions, Mormons living in Box Elder County never expected to get a temple of their own.
"We thought not in Brigham, not this little town," said Sue Preston, who attended the cornerstone ceremony with her husband, Scott.
But there has been enough growth in northern Utah that the 36,000-square-foot structure is expected to serve some 40,000 members.
The temple experienced some controversy earlier this month, when a Christian church was banned from passing out "biblically based" literature on its surrounding sidewalks. The group filed a complaint in U.S. District Court alleging its constitutional rights were violated when the city used its Free Speech Zone Ordinance to limit activity. City officials agreed to not enforce the ordinance to avoid litigation, and the Christian church agreed to limit participation to four protesters on each sidewalk.
On Sunday, that was all but forgotten for those in attendance.
"It's an incredible blessing," Vivian Tolman said of the new temple. "It will be a good reminder when I drive by to ask myself, 'Am I better person? Am I worthy to go in?' "
Added Marvin Hull: "It's special because it is ours. It's unique to have a temple grow before your eyes."