A New Tem­ple for South Utah County

Serve Daily - - FRONT PAGE - By John Parkin­son

It was on Jan­uary 25, 2010, when I an­swered my cell phone to hear a very ex­cited voice ex­claim: “Dad, have you heard the an­nounce­ment? We are go­ing to have a tem­ple in Payson.” “Sure, Stacy,” I replied, “and it is go­ing to be in that va­cant lot right next to my house, isn’t it!” “I’m se­ri­ous” she said, and so she was. How­ever, I had to sat­isfy my­self that my daugh­ter, in her child­hood, had been pay­ing at­ten­tion to my lec­tures on al­ways telling the truth. So, her skep­ti­cal fa­ther turned to his com­puter to ver­ify her in­cred­i­ble claim. I googled “Payson Tem­ple.” The first thing that came up on my mon­i­tor was a pho­to­graph of a house trailer topped by a steeple and a gold an­gel. Ah, hah! She was pulling my leg. How­ever, fur­ther re­search soon re­vealed that yes, in­deed, she knew more than I did. How em­bar­rass­ing it was that she was ahead of me on this one.

Hav­ing served as an or­di­nance worker in the Provo Tem­ple for more than ten years, my first thought was a self­ish one: “Hooray! Soon, I’ll no longer have to get up in the early morn­ing dark­ness and drive on icy roads for 20 miles from Payson to Provo sur­rounded by all those 18 wheel­ers and other sleepy and ob­nox­ious driv­ers.” Wow! What a tiny sacrifice for me when I think of my an­ces­tors who needed sev­eral days to make the trip from Beaver, Parowan and To­querville to at­tend the St. George Tem­ple. Or, when I think of those Ton­gan, Maori and Samoan saints that I met in Laie in 1954 who saved out of their mea­ger in­comes for a lifetime just to make one trip across the Pa­cific to visit the Hawai­ian tem­ple.

Pres­i­dent Thomas S. Mon­son did in fact an­nounce on this day plans for the con­struc­tion of a new tem­ple in Payson, Utah. Ground­break­ing and site ded­i­ca­tion would oc­cur on Oc­to­ber 8, 2011, un­der the di­rec­tion of Elder Dallin H. Oaks of the Quorum of the Twelve Apos­tles of the Church of Je­sus Christ of Lat­ter-day Saints.

Be­gin­ning in July of 2010 and for the next eigh­teen months,

nu­mer­ous meet­ings were held with Payson city of­fi­cials to re­solve le­gal is­sues be­fore con­struc­tion could be ap­proved. On Au­gust 6, 2010, the deed which con­veyed the site from the Denise Y. Dehart Re­vo­ca­ble Trust to the Church was recorded by Utah County. At long last, on Jan­uary 4, 2012, the tem­ple plans were nally ap­proved. What a de­light it has been to sit on the back deck of my home just a few blocks away and watch this mag­nif­i­cent ed­i­fice rise from a beau­ti­ful site known as Payson’s South Mead­ows. The tem­ple site con­sists of 10.63 beau­ti­fully land­scaped acres. It echoes won­der­fully the theme of so many of our tem­ples by the fact that can be seen from so far away. The Payson tem­ple is the fif­teenth in Utah, the third in Utah County and num­ber 152 for the Church in th­ese lat­ter days. It is also one of the larger ones, con­sist­ing of 96,630 square feet. On Oc­to­ber 10, 2013, two years after the ground­break­ing cer­e­mony, hun­dreds of cam­eras were click­ing away, sound­ing like crick­ets on a warm sum­mer evening, as a golden replica of the An­gel Moroni was hoisted more than 200 feet to the top of the tem­ple. There, its stately pres­ence wel­comes vis­i­tors from all around the val­ley and beyond. 78,000 mem­bers of the Church in the Payson Tem­ple Dis­trict will now have ac­cess to a new tem­ple closer to home. The ex­te­rior of the tem­ple was com­pleted in Septem­ber. Work con­tin­ues on the in­te­rior of the tem­ple and on land­scap­ing, fenc­ing and other site work. e pho­to­graph you see here was made in late Oc­to­ber, while the bright au­tumn maple leaves were still on the trees. is beau­ti­fully pho­to­graph is avail­able as a framed print from De­seret Book in Span­ish Fork and from Seag­ull Book in Span­ish Fork and in Springville. Now, Church mem­bers and vis­i­tors are anx­iously await­ing the open house and ded­i­ca­tion which are ex­pected to oc­cur some­time in the rst half of 2015.

(Await o cial word from the Church for ac­tual dates)

John Parkin­son

The Payson Utah Tem­ple adds beauty to south Utah Val­ley.

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