Pocatello Temple groundbreaking set for Saturday; process has included several ‘firsts’ for LDS church
POCATELLO — Officials with The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints say they’ve made several decisions believed to be “firsts” involving the Saturday morning groundbreaking ceremony for their forthcoming local temple.
The temple will be located off of Satterfield Drive and will be the church’s sixth temple in Idaho. Though it’s one of more than 200 temples that have been announced, are under construction or are operating throughout the world, its building process is proving to be rather unique.
For example, the local groundbreaking committee has invited eight individuals from other faiths to help turn the soil as part of the ceremony, said Larry Fisher, the church’s regional public affairs director.
“Members of the Portneuf Valley Interfaith Fellowship have developed cherished relationships between them, and everyone goes out of their way to support each other regardless of their faith,” Fisher said, adding that the committee felt it was important to include some of those individuals in the groundbreaking.
The church also recently invited those living in the Satterfield Drive neighborhood to a special open house, where they were able to meet with the architect and those spearheading the construction of the 67,000-square-foot building. In addition, the residents got a sneak peak of interior and exterior drawings of the temple.
“Even though the temple is built for members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints to do temple service, we feel like this is a jewel for the community as a whole and will be a blessing for everyone who lives here,” Fisher said.
Church officials don’t typically invite community members to see renderings prior to the groundbreaking but said they did so to address the concerns of those living in the neighborhood, especially those who aren’t members of the church.
Another first came when the groundbreaking committee invited youth between the ages of 11 and 18 to help clear brush from the future site of the temple earlier this month. More than 3,000 people from the Pocatello Temple District, which stretches from American Falls east to Soda Springs and from Malad north to Blackfoot, participated in the event.
“We wanted the youth to have an opportunity to be part of this historical experience,” Fisher said.
Wilford W. Andersen, the church’s Idaho/North American Central area president, and his counselors, S. Gifford Nielsen and Brian K. Taylor, are expected to attend Saturday’s groundbreaking. Idaho Gov. Brad Little and other state dignitaries are also planning to be there, Fisher said, as well as Pocatello Mayor Brian Blad and Chubbuck Mayor Kevin England.
While the groundbreaking is by invitation only, it will be broadcast live to church stakes from Malad to Blackfoot.
“The service starts at 11 a.m. and anyone is welcome to attend the broadcast,” Fisher said. “Sunday dress is encouraged.”
Fisher said it’s been wonderful and humbling to be involved in the upcoming groundbreaking.
“I knew that a lot of people would be excited about it, but I have been overwhelmed with how many people have stepped up and gone over and above to make this event the special experience that it should be,” Fisher said.
Troy Dye, the groundbreaking chairman, and others have done a wonderful job of putting everything together, Fisher said.
Construction on the temple will begin soon after the groundbreaking and will likely take two to three years to complete. In the meantime, Fisher said they appreciate the support and patience of the people living in the area.
“We realize that the youth project caused some traffic issues, and even though we will have a lot of people attending the groundbreaking this Saturday morning, we have gone to great lengths to help make the traffic flow as smooth as possible,” Fisher said.