by Jenniffer WARDELL
LAYTON – Davis County is getting a new temple.
In the closing session of LDS General Conference last Sunday, President Russell M. Nelson of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints announced that the church will build a temple in Layton City. Once it’s completed, it will be the church’s 19th temple in Utah.
Though audiences at the Salt Lake Conference Center were audibly surprised by the news, not everyone watching from home was.
“We found out last week, when a church representative came up and talked to a couple of us,” said Layton City Mayor Bob Stevenson. “They swore us to secrecy.”
He said that he doesn’t feel comfortable offering any insight as to where the temple might be located or any idea of the specific timeline for construction.
“It’s not our place to be able to (announce things like) that,” said Stevenson, though he was willing to offer up one small clue. “They told us they’ve already acquired the ground.”
In Layton, however, that’s not as telling as it might be in other cities. The LDS church has a real-estate arm in Layton City that deals with various properties, including the Layton Mission, the Layton Family History Center, and some farms.
“There’s a lot of church property in Layton,” he said.
Stevenson added that representatives regularly request meetings with the city to discuss the buying and selling of property.
“When they first requested this meeting, we didn’t think it was any different,” he said. “When they told us what it was about, it brought a fairly quick smile to my face. And before he left, I did give him a hug.”
Looking at the timeline for some recent Utah temples, however, it seems likely that it’ll be a few years before Layton sees any concrete sign of the temple. The Saratoga Springs Temple was announced in April 2017, and there hasn’t yet been an announcement of the temple site. The Cedar City Temple, which was announced in April 2013, had its groundbreaking in August 2015. It was dedicated and open for use in December 2017.
Despite the wait, Stevenson said that time won’t dim the community’s enthusiasm over the temple’s arrival.
“I told (the representative), ‘You can’t believe how excited the entire city will be,’” he said. “Realistically, I think this will be good for the entire county.”
He also said that it’s an acknowledgement of how good the city and county have been to the state as a whole.
“I think (the temple) is an indication of how Davis County is growing up, especially Layton,” said Stevenson. “Layton is one of the most respected communities in the state, and we’ve become an integral part of the state of Utah.”