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Elder Gerrit W. Gong Dedicates Taylorsville Utah Temple

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Elder Gerrit W. Gong of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles dedicated the Taylorsville Utah Temple of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints on Sunday, June 2, and invited Church members to “come to the Lord in the house of the Lord.”

All Latter-day Saints — youth, new and returning members, long-time members — are welcome to come to the temple. “Wherever we are on life’s path, we can come step-by-step with a desire to come to the Lord in the house of the Lord,” Elder Gong said.

Latter-day Saints may participate in ordinances and make covenants at the temple, both for themselves and also as proxies on behalf of ancestors. “We come to the Lord and invite those we love to come to the Lord through the covenants they can now make,” he explained.

Temple attendance and worship offer sanctifying blessings of service, deepened understanding of the doctrine and an opportunity to prepare to be with the Lord, Elder Gong said.

Elder Gong was accompanied at the dedication in Taylorsville by his wife, Susan, a Taylorsville native; Elder Hugo E. Martinez, a General Authority Seventy and First Counselor in the Utah Area Presidency, and his wife, Nuria; and Elder Erich W. Kopischke, a General Authority Seventy and assistant executive director of the Temple Department, and his wife, Christiane.

The Taylorsville temple was dedicated in two sessions on Sunday, at 10 a.m. and 1:30 p.m., and services were broadcast throughout the 38-stake temple district, which includes two young single adult stakes and two Tongan-language stakes. The temple district comprises 257 wards and branches, more than 100,000 Church members, nearly 7,300 youth, more than 39,200 single adults and more than 56,000 families.

The Apostle also dedicated the Pueblo Mexico temple two weeks ago.

“The Taylorsville Utah Temple is close to many faithful members. Many faithful members will be blessed by the opportunity to serve as temple patrons and as temple ordinance workers,” Elder Gong said. “Serving as a temple ordinance worker is a special service and blessing. It blesses, refines, sanctifies. It allows others to give and others to receive something they choose and need but cannot do for themselves.”

An “interesting paradox” with temple attendance is that sometimes when a temple is farther away, members carefully plan and prepare and come on a regular basis, as they are able. But when a temple is closer, sometimes members may think, “I can go next week, I’ll go next month, and end up going less frequently even though the temple is now closer and more convenient to attend,” he said.

With temples coming closer to many members in many places, including now in Taylorsville, Elder Gong said he hopes people will find their circumstances include “a desire to come more frequently to the Lord in the house of the Lord.”

There are many blessings when people come to the Lord through His ordinances and covenants in His holy house. “We come and understand more about who He is. We draw closer to God our Father and His Son Jesus Christ, and we and our loved ones can receive Their mercy, protection, strength and power.”

Temples of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints are inscribed with “holiness to the Lord” and “house of the Lord.”

“Temples help prepare us to enter the presence of the Lord,” Elder Gong said. He added: “This invitation and opportunity is for all of us. Youth can attend regularly, with the opportunity to grow up with the house of the Lord.” With changes in the youth programs and age progression in the past few years, youth can receive a temple recommend in January of the year they turn 12.

Ricardo and Julieta Sarmiento, of the Salt Lake Hunter Copperhill Stake, have been serving on the facilities committee.

“It’s been a very emotional moment for everybody. We’ve worked to prepare ourselves, our hearts, our minds and our spirit to be here,” Ricardo Sarmiento told the Church News. He was also grateful for all of the volunteers who came and helped.

“It was a joy to be here. The Spirit was so sweet and testified to me that I could do better,” he said about what he learned during the dedication.

Julieta Sarmiento added, “We are being prepared to be better beings.”

President Russell M. Nelson announced the Taylorsville temple during the October 2019 general conference. Less than 10 weeks later, the First Presidency identified the site location, which is centrally located in the Salt Lake Valley at 2603 W. 4700 South. The three-story, 73,492-square-foot building with a center spire sits on a 7.5-acre site previously occupied by a Church meetinghouse and a recreational field.

“As the Church grows, more temples will be built so that more families can have access to that greatest of all blessings, that of eternal life,” said President Nelson, “We regard a temple as the most sacred structure in the Church. Whenever plans are announced to construct a new temple, it becomes an important part of our history.”

The Taylorsville Utah Temple is the 192nd dedicated house of the Lord of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and one of what will be 30 temples in Utah. It is located about 8 miles from the Jordan River Utah Temple and 10 miles from the Oquirrh Mountain Utah Temple, both in South Jordan, Utah, and about 13 miles from the Salt Lake Temple.

Elder Gong also presided at the temple’s groundbreaking services on October 31, 2020, which was small event with a few invited guests and Church leaders due to COVID-19 restrictions.

Groundbreakings and dedications are reminders of the breadth and depth of gospel sacrifices and dedication of Saints in the area — those with pioneer ties as well as newer arrivals from many countries and backgrounds, he said.

“Many have deep roots, many are new, all are pioneers,” Elder Gong said. “These are faithful, honored stakes and communities which have grown up, including in Bennion, Kearns, Magna, Midvale, Murray, Granger, Hunter and Taylorsville. This heart of the valley represents being ‘one in the household of faith and fellowship of the Saints.’”

Elder Gong first came to Taylorsville 45 years ago to meet his fiance’s family, including Susan’s parents, the late Elder Richard P. and Sister Marian Bangerter Lindsay. The Lindsay family are one of many multi-generation families living in the area served by the Taylorsville temple home.

“The Taylorsville Utah Temple has special meaning for our Lindsay family,” Elder Gong said. “When he was a young bishop, our father together with the members of the Taylorsville 2nd Ward, built the chapel on the same site which became the stake center and is today the site for the Taylorsville Utah Temple.

“This place is home, a place of roots and wings, for many faithful and wonderful families and individuals,” Elder Gong concluded.

More than 265,000 visitors came through the open house April 13 through May 18, with some 11,000 volunteers assisting them.

“I hope that it really can just be a great beacon of light and hope in the area,” said Elder James R. Rasband, assistant executive director of the Temple Department at the media event on April 9. “What is similar about temples [is] that they all stand as a testament of our faith in Jesus Christ and His Resurrection, the ability to live again and to live with our families.”

Sister Tracy Y. Browning, Second Counselor in the Primary General Presidency, also attended the media event.

“We come to the temples because we love the Lord and we’re looking for direction in our lives from our Savior Jesus Christ and we’re seeking to connect ourselves to God,” she explained. “We serve others in the temple, and we serve our ancestors. And we come and make personal connections as well.”

Sister Browning issued a particular invitation for Latter-day Saint youth in the area to come and “learn more about your Savior and the work that you will do in performing sacred ordinances for your ancestors.”

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Aleah Ingram
Aleah Ingram
Aleah is a graduate of Southern Virginia University, where she studied English, Creative Writing, and Dance. She now works full time as a marketing and product manager, writer, and editor. Aleah served a mission in California and loves baking, Lang Leav poetry, Gaynor Minden pointe shoes, and Bollywood movies.

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