Ground Broken for 50th Operating Temple—St. Louis, Missouri
January 1994

“Ground Broken for 50th Operating Temple—St. Louis, Missouri,” Ensign, Jan. 1994, 74–75

Ground Broken for 50th Operating Temple—St. Louis, Missouri

Ground was broken for the Church’s fiftieth operating temple on a chilly October morning with both President Gordon B. Hinckley and President Thomas S. Monson of the First Presidency presiding.

“This is the first time I’ve ever conducted a meeting in an overcoat,” President Hinckley, First Counselor in the First Presidency, exclaimed to the approximately four thousand people gathered for the October 30 St. Louis Missouri Temple ground breaking. The ceremony not only thrilled but chilled the attendees as an early cold front unsettled colorful fall leaves on the beautiful temple hill. Church members traveled from afar to rejoice in this event, and even parking at a distance and standing for several hours did not dampen the spirit of the occasion. General Authorities in attendance included Elder Dallin H. Oaks of the Quorum of the Twelve and Elders James M. Paramore and Hartman Rector, Jr., of the Seventy. Also attending were several state and community leaders.

President Hinckley spoke of pioneer forebears who left the state of Missouri in 1838 under orders of the governor. The Saints faced severe hardships and suffered many trials, he noted, but St. Louis was a city of refuge where they were treated kindly. Here they were able to supply their needs for the trek westward. President Hinckley urged the members to develop the same pioneer attributes to sustain them during these latter days.

In dedicating the temple site, President Hinckley thanked the Lord for those who had worked so hard on the plans thus far. “Now, our beloved Father, we feel to rededicate our lives and our talents to Thy sacred work and to the blessing of all whose lives we can touch for good,” he continued. “To this end, we seek Thy blessing and give unto Thee and unto … Thy Son, the honor and the praise and the glory.”

President Monson, Second Counselor in the First Presidency, reminded those attending that the first stake of the Church was organized in St. Louis. It is significant, he noted, that on 1 June 1958—one hundred years after that first stake was dissolved because of the westward movement—the St. Louis Stake was again organized. President Monson spoke of his forefathers who came from Scotland to St. Louis in 1849; four of his family died from a cholera outbreak. His great-grandmother and her brothers and sisters were left orphaned and had to find their own way westward. “I feel I’m standing on sacred ground in an area where my dear forebears completed their trek to find God.

“We build temples so that we might redeem our dead,” he continued. “And so that we might have an opportunity to perform those ordinances which we will take with us through eternity. When we build a temple, we build ourselves.”

During his address, Elder Oaks talked of the most important knowledge available and where to obtain it. He pointed out that the Lord’s house gives us knowledge of the greatest worth in an eternal sense. “It teaches us the nature of God. It teaches us the need for a Savior. It teaches us the purpose of our lives and our destiny if we make and keep sacred covenants,” he said. “The Lord’s house provides an opportunity to learn of our responsibilities to God and our responsibilities to one another.”

Architect’s rendering of the St. Louis temple

Architect’s rendering of the St. Louis temple, scheduled for completion in two years.

The St. Louis Missouri Temple will be built in the city of Town and Country, Missouri, on a fourteen-acre site. It will sit on a prominent hill that will give those passing a panoramic view of the structure. It is anticipated that the temple will be ready for dedication in approximately two years. The architecture is traditional in style and closely resembles the Nauvoo Temple, with the exception of a 150-foot spire similar to the spire of the Kirtland Temple. A gold-leafed statue of the angel Moroni will sit atop the spire. The exterior of the temple will be of white granite.

Approximately four thousand people gathered on a chilly day for the St. Louis Missouri Temple ground breaking. (Photography by Burt Paris.)

President Hinckley spoke of pioneer ancestors in his address.