Nicolas Carrasco, LDS Church News
FARMINGTON, Conn. — Twenty-one years ago, President Gordon B. Hinckley announced plans to build a temple in Hartford, Conn.
On a clear and very warm Saturday morning, Aug. 17, his successor, President Thomas S. Monson broke ground for the site on which the temple will be built.
The lapse in time from the original announcement until the groundbreaking came as plans for the edifice were set aside as temples were built in Boston and New York City.
Three years ago I had the privilege of announcing that a temple would now be built in this area, President Monson said as he spoke on the future temple site, which is actually in Farmington, Conn., a suburb west of Hartford. Today is a special and sacred day as we bring to fruition the hopes and dreams of the church members here and break ground for the Hartford Connecticut Temple.
Speaking of the rich LDS history in the area, President Monson noted that missionary work in Connecticut began in 1832 when Orson Hyde and Samuel H. Smith went to Litchfield and Hartford counties.
One of the early missionaries in the area was Wilford Woodruff, who was born in 1807 in what is now Avon, Conn. Baptized in 1833, he served 50 years in the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles. In 1889, he became the church's fourth president.
President Monson noted that, in addition to being one of the greatest LDS missionaries — having served six missions and baptizing more than 1,800 people, President Woodruff incorporated the Genealogical Society of Utah, which would later become the largest repository of family history research in the world.
"He left for us a legacy of missionary work and temple work which cannot be measured," President Monson said.
"I believe that our Heavenly Father will permit those early missionary pioneers, including President Wilford Woodruff and others who helped bring the church to this area and who have now gone beyond the veil, to be present on this sacred occasion, for temple work is truly not only for time; it is for eternity."
President Monson said that each of the church's temples "is an expression of our testimony that life beyond the grave is as real and as certain as is our life here on earth."
Elder William R. Walker of the Seventy and executive director of the Temple Department, who conducted the ceremony to dedicate the temple site, explained that proceedings were broadcast to chapels throughout the temple district. Attendance in person at the site was limited, he said, so that the neighborhood wouldn't be overwhelmed by traffic.
Elder Walker noted that Wilford Woodruff was born about four miles from the site of the future temple and then said, "President Woodruff declared, 'These temples that we have built ... stand as a monument before God, angels and men, to the faith and works of the Latter-day Saints'" (Deseret Weekly, Aug. 1892).
Also offering remarks at the ceremony were Elder Walker's wife, Vicki, and Wayne S. Taylor, coordinator of the temple groundbreaking committee.
During the groundbreaking ceremony, President Monson said he has a special love for Connecticut, where he and his wife, Sister Frances Monson, often visited their daughter, Ann, and her husband, Roger Dibb, when they lived in New Canaan from 1982-1994. Brother and Sister Dibb's daughter, Sarah, and son-in-law, Jim Steel, who live in Simsbury, and their three children, attended the groundbreaking ceremony. After he gave the dedicatory prayer, members of his family who were present joined President Monson in turning earth to symbolically break ground for the temple.
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