LDS temple will become a reality after years of rumors
REXBURG — Just two years after the Mormon church opened a Brigham Young University campus here, church leaders have told local stake officials that a temple will soon follow.
“This is a wonderful day for our entire community,” said Greg Moeller, president of the church´s Rexburg East Stake.
“The announcement validates the sacred efforts of so many, both living and dead, who have strived to build the kingdom here. It also gives each of us a reason to strive harder to be worthy of this great blessing,” he said.
Brad Egbert, bishop of the Salem First Ward in Rexburg, said local church officials received a letter from Gordon B. Hinckley, president of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and other leaders saying they were “pleased to announce a temple will be constructed in Rexburg, Idaho.”
The revelation has surprised the city of more than 17,000 people.
No dates for construction or completion have been announced.
“It came as a shock to me personally,” said Mayor-elect Shawn Larsen, who is set to take office in January.
There was no pre-notice of the announcement, Moeller said Friday. “There have been rumors, probably floating around for 10 years, but nobody took them very seriously until today.”
The temple will be one of three in Idaho. The other two are in Boise and Idaho Falls, which is 30 miles south of Rexburg. There are 128 temples existing or slated for construction worldwide, the church reports.
Donna Benfield, executive director of the Rexburg Chamber of Commerce and city council member, believes the temple will be a boon to the tourist trade.
“Temples are great draws,” she said. “I can´t see anything but positive coming from a temple being built here.”
Ricks College, formerly a two-year institution with an enrollment of nearly 9,000 students, became BYU-Idaho two years ago. More than 11,100 students enrolled this fall, university spokesman Don Sparhawk said.
The growth that BYU-Idaho has brought into the Rexburg area probably has played a factor, Moeller said.
“I don´t know if that´s the exclusive reason for the temple, but I´m certain it has played a role,” he said. “With the university´s growth in student body, we´ve had a lot of growth throughout the community.”
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