On the morning of June 20, nearly one hundred Church leaders and families gathered near what has been called Florida’s most beautiful location for the ground breaking and temple site dedication of the Orlando Temple.
Elder James E. Faust of the Quorum of the Twelve presided, spoke, and offered the dedicatory prayer at the meeting. Others speaking included Elder Alexander B. Morrison, president of the North America Southeast Area; his counselors, Elder Ben B. Banks and Elder Stephen D. Nadauld; Alvie R. Evans, regional representative; and Evan D. Porter, Jr., president of the Orlando Florida Stake.
The temple site, which overlooks a chain of lakes, is located on the edge of the Orlando suburb of Windermere. Construction of the temple is scheduled to begin in September.
In his address, Elder Faust reminded listeners that the temple is the house of the Lord.
“We rejoice in the wonderful and great privilege and blessing it is to participate in these exercises,” he said, encouraging members of the temple district to make sacrifices for the building and operation of the future temple.
“I hope that every man, woman, and child in this district will make a sacrifice for the building of this house. … Not through assessments, but from the center of our soul, which is our hearts.”
In his remarks, Elder Morrison said the ground breaking for this temple is the fruition of the efforts of many Florida Saints.
“This is a historic day in the odyssey of the Church in the South. I am confident that corridors of celestial halls ring with anthems of praise this morning, and that among those in the heavenly chorus are stalwart pioneers of the Church in this corner of the vineyard.
“They are humble men and women who put their hands in the hand of the Almighty, to walk each day to the edge of their faith, and found the path opening up before them.”
Elder Banks emphasized the importance of the temple by explaining the significance of the Kirtland Temple, the first temple in this dispensation.
He recalled that after the dedicatory prayer was offered, the Savior appeared in the temple. Other heavenly messengers also came to the Kirtland Temple to restore important keys of the gospel.
“A holy sanctuary such as that is going to be erected here,” he added. “And certainly it will be a dawning of a brighter day in this part of the Lord’s vineyard, where the Saints can come and receive their endowments that will allow them one day to return to our Father in Heaven’s presence.”
Elder Nadauld spoke of the strengthening influence of the temple. “Faithful Saints in the sanctuaries of their homes will point to … this temple,” he remarked. “And the temple and the covenants that are made here will be a source of blessings to the stakes and to the homes.”
Elder Evans, in his address, said, “No other structure that will ever be built in this community will bring greater blessings to the inhabitants and to the great state of Florida than this structure.”
In his remarks, President Porter recounted the ten-year effort to find and purchase the temple site and to gain approval to build the temple. “We cannot ignore the wonderful sacrifice and faith and dedication of so many for so many years that has led to this wonderful gift,” he said.