Construction is underway for the Tallahassee Florida Temple of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, which will be the third temple in the state after the Orlando, Florida and Fort Lauderdale, Florida temples.
Florida is home to more than 160,000 Latter-day Saints in 267 congregations.
The temple in Florida’s capital city was announced in April 2020 by Church President Russell M. Nelson.
The single-story structure of approximately 29,000 square feet is being built on a 4.97-acre site adjacent to a Church meetinghouse off Thomasville Road (2440 Papillion Way) in northeast Tallahassee. The project is expected to be completed in late 2023 to early 2024
Elder James B. Martino, North America Southeast Area President, presided at the groundbreaking ceremony which was held Saturday June 5th. He was assisted by local Church leader Elder Victor P. Patrick.
“This temple will bless the entire land around it and the entire community. It will be a beacon of holiness and a place of peace for all to both see and feel. Here we will seek to draw closer to God, to hear His voice, and seek to follow His teachings,” said Elder Martino. “This edifice that will be built right here is called the House of the Lord, because truly it is His house for us to learn of Him.”
In addition to the two existing Florida temples, the Tallahassee Florida Temple will join temples in Birmingham, Alabama; Atlanta, Georgia; and Columbia, South Carolina in the southeastern United States.
Temples of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints differ from meetinghouses or chapels where members meet for Sunday worship services. They are considered “houses of the Lord” where Jesus Christ’s teachings are reaffirmed through baptism and other ordinances that unite families for eternity. In the temple, Church members learn more about the purpose of life and promise to follow Jesus Christ and serve their fellow man.
In more recent times, members would travel to Washington, D.C., then Atlanta, and then Orlando for temple blessings.
In his dedicatory prayer, Elder Martino prayed for the individual lives of those living in the region and that Saturday’s milestone would be a spiritual groundbreaking in the lives of the members of the Church.
In his opening remarks, Elder Martino talked about the significance of the word “groundbreaking.”
“Groundbreaking was considered a representation of breaking the earth, to make a sacred deposit that would endorse a firm foundation. How appropriate of a description. Truly, this is the symbolic act to begin a foundation for a most sacred building,” he said.
Several community leaders attended the ceremony, including Ron Cave with the Leon County Sheriff’s office, Courtney Thomas with the Tallahassee Mayor’s office, and Enrique Yañez, a member of the Hispanic faith community.