Construction Begins on Vernal Utah Temple

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“Construction Begins on Vernal Utah Temple,” Ensign, Aug. 1995, 75–76

Construction Begins on Vernal Utah Temple

Standing in the welcome brilliance of morning sunlight, President Gordon B. Hinckley told a crowd of nearly twelve thousand people gathered for the ceremony to commence construction of the Vernal Utah Temple that, when dedicated, the new temple will become a spiritual center where thousands will carry on the work of the Lord.

Also in attendance at the May 13 ceremony were President James E. Faust, Second Counselor in the First Presidency; Elder W. Eugene Hansen of the Presidency of the Seventy; and Elder Earl C. Tingey of the Seventy, president of the Utah South Area.

The Vernal temple will be the first of its kind, built within the shell of the 88-year-old Uintah Stake Tabernacle, which has been largely abandoned for the past twenty years.

“I don’t hesitate to tell you, on the basis of the architectural drawing, … that when [the temple] is completed and you have the opportunity of walking through it, you will feel touched by that which has been created out of this historic, dedicated, sacred structure,” said President Hinckley. “It will stand hereafter as a monument to the faith, the conviction, the testimony, the knowledge of the Latter-day Saints that life is everlasting, that this stage of mortality is only a stage in the grand march of our lives on the road to immortality and eternal life.”

President Hinckley reminded his listeners of the prophetic utterance of Church President Joseph F. Smith, who said during the 1907 dedication of the Vernal tabernacle that he “would not be surprised if a temple was built here someday.”

President Faust, who expressed delight regarding the unexpected sunshine that interrupted days of rain, described his first visit to the tabernacle when, as a General Authority, he presided over a stake conference held there.

“I felt a special spirit and a special legacy of the devotion of Saints who in their great poverty erected this magnificent building,” he said. “This ground on which we’re presently situated … has been hallowed for over a hundred years.

“In its springtime, the Vernal tabernacle was dedicated by a President of the Church, and after the period of our further labors, this building will be beautified and magnified and then dedicated again, probably by President Gordon B. Hinckley, as a temple of God,” President Faust continued. “Then, as Saints meet here to make sacred covenants, this ground which has been holy for so many years will become holier still.”

Elder Hansen told the gathered Saints, “As we look to the day when this venerable building is dedicated as a house of the Lord, … we do have the opportunity to place something on the altar, so to speak, as we prepare ourselves to come to the house of the Lord,” he said. “In fact, our preparation may be even more challenging as we strive to rid ourselves of some of the habits, practices, or failings that may be deterring or stalling our spiritual progress.”

The Vernal Utah Temple, the tenth to be built in Utah, will share a 1.6-acre site with the Glines Utah Stake meetinghouse in the heart of Vernal. When completed, it will serve thirty-six thousand Latter-day Saints who reside in a twelve-stake district that includes portions of eastern Utah, western Colorado, and southwestern Wyoming.

Almost 12,000 people gathered at the historic tabernacle in Vernal. (Photography by Steve Wallis.)

Invited by President Hinckley, a boy participates in the ground breaking.