President Henry B. Eyring, first counselor in the First Presidency of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, dedicated the Cedar City Utah Temple on Sunday, December 10, 2017.
Prior to the dedication, President Eyring conducted the symbolic cornerstone ceremony that signifies the construction is complete and the new temple is ready to be dedicated and ready for sacred use.
Joining President Eyring were Elder Jeffrey R. Holland of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles; Elder Craig C. Christensen of the Presidency of the Seventy; and Elders Joseph W. Sitati and LeGrand R. Curtis Jr. of the Seventy.
“This is a ceremonial moment when we mark this great occasion by sealing the cornerstone which represents, really, the Savior. The Lord is the cornerstone of the work,” explained President Eyring. “This is the house of the Lord.”
President Eyring said he feels that President Brigham Young must be watching this ceremony. “I just think we owe something to him and the pioneers who must be so aware of this day and yet we honor them as we now seal the cornerstone.”
Elder Holland remarked while observing the sacred occasion of the temple dedication. “I sit here looking at these people and looking at these mountains and think how lovely was the morning.”
Plans to build the temple were announced by President Monson in April 2013. Ground was broken for the temple on August 8, 2015.
The color palette for the décor draws upon the rich colors and textures of southern Utah, incorporating native flowers and juniper berries. Rich African mahogany and sapele woodwork and stone and tile flooring from Israel, Turkey, Spain and Iran add to the elegance of the temple.
Temple project manager, Mark Berry, said the sacred structure has a pioneer appearance. “When [visitors] approach the temple, they’ll be able to find different elements within the architecture that they’ll find similar to some of the other historic buildings and temples that are in southern Utah. We tried to make sure that we brought that pioneer feel.”
“It looks like a pioneer temple,” said Elder Holland. “They’ve had a pioneer’s touch on some of the wood and the craftsmanship. And I don’t know who thought that through and I’m not sure how you’re able to do it, but I think they accomplished it in a beautiful way. It’s a tie to the very earliest temples in the Church in southern Utah and right up to today. I’m very moved by it. It’s very striking.”
The state of Utah has 16 other temples, from Logan in the north to Monticello in the south. The 18th temple, in Saratoga Springs, was announced by President Monson last April.
The Cedar City Utah Temple will serve approximately 45,000 Latter-day Saints in 17 stakes in southern Utah and eastern Nevada.
A choir of Latter-day Saints from within the temple district provided sacred music for the cornerstone ceremony.
The day before the temple was dedicated, 3,500 youth danced and sang in a cultural celebration in the America First Event Center on the campus of Southern Utah University. They presented the history of the Church in Cedar City and the surrounding area with the theme “A Light on a Hill, Iron in Our Will.” A tribute was given to Native Americans who were the first settlers in the area. The history includes the prophetic call to settle the area and mine iron. The county name comes from this mineral, Iron County. Cedar City is home to the renowned Utah Shakespeare Festival.
Casting his eyes on the thousands of youth of the Church ready to perform in the cultural celebration, President Eyring declared, “What a marvelous sight! President Thomas S. Monson loves such wonderful occasions, and he loves you. You will never forget this night. Years from now you will bring your children back here. You will tell them how you felt as you participated in this great cultural celebration before the dedication of a beautiful temple of God.”
During a three-week open house in October and November, more than 187,000 people visited and toured the temple, including clergy, community leaders and residents living near the temple, as well as members of the Church.