A new temple in Brigham City was announced Saturday morning by President Thomas S. Monson, president of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
The announcement was made during the Saturday morning session of the church's 179th Semiannual General Conference.
Historical accounts suggest a temple in that northern Utah community had been talked about — and even a potential site identified — more than a century ago by two of President Monson's predecessors.
The Brigham City Temple was one of five announced by President Monson at the Saturday morning session of general conference, along with temples planned for Fort Lauderdale, Fla.; Concepcion, Chile; Fortaleza, Brazil; and Sapporo, Japan.
Actual sites for the proposed temples have yet to be identified by the LDS Church, which currently has 130 temples in operation worldwide. Saturday's announcement brings the total of additional temples either announced or under construction to 21.
"We continue to build temples," President Monson said, noting that 83 percent of church members live within 200 miles of a temple. "We desire that as many members as possible have an opportunity to attend the temple without having to travel inordinate distances."
Brigham City was founded in 1851 by Lorenzo Snow — at the time an LDS Church apostle and later president of the church — by assignment from then-President Brigham Young.
Originally, the community was named Box Elder, with the name changed to Youngsville several years later and renamed Brigham City in 1867. Brigham Young gave his final public sermon there in 1877 before his death.
Frederick M. Huchel has authored several local histories on Box Elder County and the Box Elder Tabernacle, citing Brigham Young as telling Lorenzo Snow that a temple would someday be built in Brigham City, specifically on the gravel eminence just east of the city cemetery.
A temple in Brigham City will be the 14th in Utah, where two temples — the Draper Utah Temple and South Jordan's Oquirrh Mountain Temple — were dedicated earlier this year.
"I was completely startled," said Ronald L. Frandsen, president of the Box Elder Stake in Brigham City. "I just can't express the surprise. In fact, I still have waves of emotion coming over me as I think about that, what it's going to mean to our community and stake."
LDS Church members in Brigham City are split between two temple districts — the northern stakes go to Logan and the southern to Ogden. The proximity of two temples made the announcement even more of a welcome surprise.
"The thing that impresses me is how many people in our community are now going to have the opportunity to work in the temple, to serve in the temple, to have that blessing in the lives," Frandsen said.
The temple in Fort Lauderdale will serve members living throughout south Florida as well as the Bahamas. The Orlando Florida Temple — dedicated in 1994 — was the first in that state, where nearly 132,000 members live. Fort Lauderdale is a principal city of the south Florida metro area, home to more than 5.4 million residents.
"We were so happy when we heard it that we started crying," said Margaret Bartholomew of Weston, Fla.
Bartholomew said her family of eight is originally from California and previously hadn't lived so far from a temple. The Bartholomews and other church members in their area face nearly a four-hour drive one way to attend the Orlando Florida Temple.
"There are a lot of families where the husband and wife have never gone to the temple together — one stays with the kids while the other one goes," she said.
Of Saturday's announcement, Bartholomew added: "It's wonderful. You should have seen all the text messaging and telephone calls that were going on."
The Concepcion Temple will be the second in Chile, where nearly 555,000 LDS Church members reside. The first there was the Santiago Chile Temple, dedicated in 1983 and rededicated in 2006.
Located along the Pacific Coast in central Chile and south of the capital city of Santiago, Concepcion boasts a metro population of 1.3 million.
The Fortaleza Temple will be the seventh in Brazil, home to 1.06 million LDS Church members. Five are currently in operation — Sao Paulo (dedicated in 1978), Porto Alegre (2000), Recife (2000), Campinas (2002) and Curitiba (2008) — with a sixth, in Manaus, announced in 2007.
Fortaleza — meaning "fortress" in Portuguese — boasts a metropolitan population of more than 3.4 million situated on Brazil's northeastern coast.
The Sapporo Temple will become the sixth in Asia and the third in Japan, home to 123,000 church members. The Tokyo Japan Temple — the Asian continent's first — was dedicated in 1980, with the Fukuoka Japan Temple following in 2000.
Sapporo is Japan's fifth-largest city by population, with its total of 1.89 million residents skyrocketing after the village had just seven residents 150 years ago. The capital of Hokkaido prefecture, Sapporo is best known outside Japan for hosting the 1972 Winter Olympics, the first held in Asia.
Contributing: Jamshid Askar