“Temple Groundbreakings in Houston and Albuquerque,” Ensign, Sept. 1998, 78–79
“Go home, tell your children, your grandchildren, your friends and acquaintances that you have been here today,” said Elder Angel Abrea of the Seventy, First Counselor in the North America Southwest Area, to about 600 people gathered for groundbreaking ceremonies held 13 June on the densely wooded site of the Houston Texas Temple. Attendance was limited because parking was not yet available near the site, which is located in a suburb northwest of Houston.
The dedicatory prayer was offered by Elder Lynn A. Mickelsen of the Seventy, President of the North America Southwest Area. Reminding adult listeners that their example of temple attendance would have a powerful influence on their children, Elder Mickelsen said, “They will consider our lives good, honorable, and right as we show our dedication to sacred things.”
Elder D. Todd Christofferson of the Seventy, then Second Counselor in the North America Southwest Area Presidency, suggested several questions members might ask themselves as they prepare for the new temple: “What aspect of my life should I bring into harmony in the next two years? What do I need to give up? What do I need to yield? What should I add? Is my nature one of a sincerely broken heart and contrite spirit?”
The temple site was sold to the Church by local developer Don Hand, who wielded one of 10 shovels during the ceremonial groundbreaking. Elder Mickelsen expressed gratitude for Mr. Hand, “who for reasons unknown to him at the time preserved this land for the construction of the temple.” Several business, government, and media representatives attended a briefing held near the temple site before the groundbreaking.
The Houston temple district currently encompasses 28 stakes. “In Baton Rouge we are nine and a half hours from the Dallas temple,” said Brent Rawson, president of the Baton Rouge Louisiana Stake. “But we will be only five and a half hours from the Houston temple.”
Albuquerque Temple Groundbreaking
A week after participating in the Houston temple groundbreaking, the brethren of the North America Southwest Area Presidency conducted groundbreaking ceremonies for the Albuquerque New Mexico Temple on Saturday, 20 June. About 6,500 members came to the event, and a 600-voice youth choir sang.
“It is during these special moments that we can feel and see the hand of the Lord moving in the work,” said Elder Mickelsen. “You might not remember everything that was said this warm and glorious morning, but you will remember the feeling. What you feel today will help you in your search for happiness throughout your lives.”
Elder Abrea encouraged members to ask themselves, “What am I doing with my days?” He urged them to repent of their sins and become more righteous so they can enter the new temple with “clean hands and a pure heart.”
Elder Christofferson said, “The temple is a place where people can step outside the worldliness and refresh, regroup, and reorient themselves as to what really matters. It is a place to gain strength and gain fresh perspectives. The temple is the house of God. It is a house of prayer, fasting, faith, learning, and order.”
After the Albuquerque temple is completed on its 10-acre site northeast of the city, it will serve nearly 55,000 members living in 15 stakes in New Mexico and parts of Arizona and Colorado.