Temple Groundbreakings Done on the Same Day

Contributed By Scott Taylor, Church News contributor

  • 8 August 2018

Elder F. Melvin Hammond, center, turns soil in the groundbreaking for the Spokane Washington Temple, held on October 10, 1998. He is joined by, from left, Heber C. Kapp, former Canada Vancouver Mission president; Ardeth G. Kapp, former Young Women General President; and Mayor John Talbott and his wife, Claudia. The groundbreaking for the Detroit Michigan Temple was held on the same day.  Photo from the Church News archives.

With fewer than two dozen temples built and dedicated in the Church’s first 150 years, the 22 days separating the groundbreakings for the Manti Utah Temple (April 25, 1877) and the Logan Utah Temple (May 18, 1877) was the shortest time difference between the start of two temples for more than a century.

Then came a substantial increase in temples in the early 1980s—17 dedicated from 1983 to 1985 alone. The frequency meant the groundbreakings started coming more frequently and closer together.

In a seven-day stretch in February 1981, President Spencer W. Kimball presided at three temple groundbreakings in the South Pacific. Following the February 13 ceremony for the Papeete Tahiti Temple, President Kimball held back-to-back groundbreakings for the Nuku’alofa Tonga and Apia Samoa Temples on February 18 and 19, respectively.

Two groundbreakings in as many days happened twice in September 1982—with Elder Boyd K. Packer in Lima, Peru, on the 11th, and Elder Richard G. Scott in Guatemala City, Guatemala, on the 12th.

With President Gordon B. Hinckley’s push to have 100 temples by the end of the year 2000, groundbreakings, construction, and dedications increased dramatically. President James E. Faust, then Second Counselor to President Hinckley, held consecutive groundbreakings in Brazil in early May 1998—in Campinas on May 1 and Porto Alegre on May 2.

Later that year came the first time two temple groundbreaking ceremonies were held on the same day—October 10, 1998—with Elder Jay E. Jensen for the Detroit Michigan Temple and Elder F. Melvin Hammond for the Spokane Washington Temple.

Since then, 10 other dates have seen ground broken for at least two different temples on the same day—including three temples each on March 13, 1999, and May 29, 1999.

October 10, 1998

Detroit Michigan—Elder Jay E. Jensen

Spokane Washington—Elder F. Melvin Hammond

December 5, 1998

Hermosillo Sonora Mexico—Elder Eran A. Call

Columbia South Carolina—Elder Gordon T. Watts

January 9, 1999

Villahermosa Mexico—Elder Richard E. Turley Sr.

Ciudad Juarez Mexico—Elder Eran A. Call

March 13, 1999

Oaxaca Mexico—Elder Carl B. Pratt

Nashville Tennessee—Elder John K. Carmack

Kona Hawaii—Elder John B. Dickson

April 24, 1999

Copenhagen Denmark—Elder Spencer J. Condie

San Jose Costa Rica—Elder Lynn G. Robbins

May 8, 1999

Suva Fiji—Elder Earl M. Monson

Baton Rouge Louisiana—Elder Monte L. Brough

May 29, 1999

Veracruz Mexico—Elder Carl B. Pratt

Adelaide Australia—Elder Vaughn J. Featherstone

Louisville Kentucky—Elder John K. Carmack

November 4, 2000

Lubbock Texas—Elder Rex D. Pinegar

Monterrey Mexico—Elder Lynn A. Mickelsen

March 29, 2003

Helsinki Finland—Elder D. Lee Tobler

San Antonio Texas—Elder H. Bruce Stucki

October 17, 2015

Tucson Arizona—President Dieter F. Uchtdorf

Concepcion Chile—Elder Walter F. González

March 4, 2017

Rio de Janeiro Brazil—Elder Claudio R. M. Costa

Arequipa Peru—Elder Carlos A. Godoy

Elder Jay E. Jensen, second from right, and Elder David E. Sorensen, four from the left, both of the Seventy, join local leaders in the groundbreaking for the Detroit Michigan Temple on October 10, 1998. The groundbreaking for the Spokane Washington Temple was held on the same day. Photo from the Church News archives.