Afton, Wyo., founded by Mormon pioneers and home to Olympic gold medal-winning wrestler Rulon Gardner and the world's largest elk horn arch, will soon be home to Wyoming's first temple of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, the Star Valley Wyoming Temple.
The church's First Presidency made the announcement Friday afternoon, indicating that a site has been selected for the new temple south of Afton, on the Haderlie Farm property east of U.S. Highway 89.
Latter-day Saints in the Afton area are "elated at the prospects of a temple in our valley," said Mayor Loni Hillyard, adding that she views the temple as "an asset" and that she is confident it will have a positive effect on the entire community.
"We look forward to working with the architect and church representatives as we move forward on this project," Hillyard said.
No plans were announced for the temple groundbreaking or start of construction. Once construction begins, the new temple should require about two years to complete.
Plans to build the Star Valley Wyoming Temple were revealed during LDS general conference last October. In making the announcement, LDS Church President Thomas S. Monson joked that he wanted to be the one to dedicate the temple because "there's good fishing there."
Located in western Wyoming, the Star Valley Temple will serve LDS Church members in that area who must now travel to Idaho Falls or Rexburg in Idaho in order to participate in temple services.
"We truly believe this new temple will be a great asset not only to members of the church but also to people of the surrounding community, who will benefit from the peace and beauty a temple brings," said Jerry Hansen, local spokesperson for the LDS Church. "Temples are where members participate in the highest sacraments of our faith — where we make and renew promises to God and to our families."
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