Others who wielded shovels alongside President Monson were: Elder Walker; Monsignor Gerard G. Schmidt of the Catholic Archdiocese of Hartford; Jeffrey J. Hogan, chairman of the Farmington city council; Phillip R. Dunn, a Farmington city planning and zoning commissioner; and local LDS leaders. After the ceremony, members of the audience were invited to take turns to symbolically break ground to mark the beginning of construction on the new temple.
President Monson called on a young boy. Leaning over, he instructed the child, "Hold the shovel. Push it in the dirt."
As he prepared to leave the site, the audience sang "Happy Birthday" to President Monson; he will turn 86 on Aug. 21.
The Hartford Connecticut Temple is actually located in Farmington, a suburb just west of Hartford, on the corner of Farmington Avenue and Melrose Drive. Because parking was limited on the temple site, attendance at the groundbreaking was by invitation only.
However, church officials said the proceedings were broadcast via satellite to LDS meetinghouses in the area.
Plans to build a temple in the Hartford area were originally announced in 1992. When a suitable location for the temple could not be acquired, the Connecticut plans were scrapped in favor of new temples in Boston and White Plains, New York.
The Boston Massachusetts Temple, the church's 100th operating temple, was completed in 2000. The temple planned for White Plains became the Harrison New York Temple, plans for which were eventually set aside following the completion of the Manhattan New York Temple.
In 2010 President Thomas S. Monson announced that the church was once again planning to build a temple in the Hartford area, much to the delight of Connecticut's 15,000-plus Latter-day Saints. The Hartford temple will be the second of its kind in New England and one of 171 LDS temples in use, under construction, or in the planning stages around the world.
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