Religion • Local LDS leaders see new edifice as a blessing for SUU.
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Festival City soon will become Temple Town as well.
LDS Church President Thomas S. Monson announced Saturday that Cedar City, home to the Utah Shakespeare Festival and Southern Utah University, will be getting the Beehive State's 17th Mormon temple.
It will join the St. George temple (the state's first) as the second such edifice in southwestern Utah.
Cedar City Mormons greeted the news with excitement and a bit of relief.
"There have been a lot of rumors, but this morning was the first we heard it from the prophet," said Sage White, bishop of a Young Single Adult LDS congregation in the college town. "It has been going on for a year, but it was only rumors."
Right now, area Mormons drive more than 50 miles to attend the increasingly busy St. George temple, making it difficult for some SUU students and elderly members.
"We go down every month to St. George as a ward and a stake," White said. "A lot of the members cannot go because of commitments they have."
The 100-mile commute, he said, also can test the road-worthiness and pocketbooks of students.
"People have been hungering for a temple in Cedar City," said Joe Sanders, bishop of the LDS Heritage Park Ward. "It will be very nice for folks here."
No details were given about a proposed site for the temple. But Cedar City Councilman Don Marchant said the temple would be on a rise near Beacon Hill not far from Interstate 15.
Monson, considered a "prophet, seer and revelator" by Mormons, also announced a temple to be built in Rio de Janeiro, site of next year's World Cup and the 2016 Summer Olympics.
It will be Brazil's eighth LDS temple.
Mormons see temples as houses of God, where they take part in their faith's highest sacraments, including eternal marriage.
There are 141 such edifices in operation around the globe, with another 29 under construction. But Utah, headquarters to the faith's more than 14 million members, has by far the largest concentration of LDS temples.
Brigham City boasts Utah's newest LDS temple. It was dedicated in September by senior apostle Boyd K. Packer, who was born and reared in the Box Elder County city.
Two temples are under construction in Utah County, one in Payson and the other in Provo, where the Historic Tabernacle, gutted by a devastating fire in December 2010, is being restored and transformed into a temple.
When the latter opens, Provo will join South Jordan as the only cities with two Mormon temples.
There are four LDS temples in the Salt Lake Valley, with unspecified plans for a fifth somewhere in the "southwest" part.