A groundbreaking ceremony was held on November 7, 2020, for the new Red Cliffs Temple of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Washington County. Elder Jeffrey R. Holland, a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles and native of St. George, Utah, presided at the temple groundbreaking and offered the dedicatory prayer. Elder Holland was joined by his wife, Patricia, his son, Elder Matthew S. Holland, General Authority Seventy, Elder Craig C. Christensen, Utah Area President, and other local guests.

The Red Cliffs Temple will be St. George’s second temple. The St. George Utah Temple was dedicated in 1877, it was the first completed temple in Utah and is currently under extensive restoration and is expected to reopen in 2022.

The new temple was announced in October 2018, by Church President Russell M. Nelson. On June 19, 2020, the First Presidency announced the official name of this future house of worship – the Red Cliffs Utah Temple.

Braxton Bateman, Bishop of the Kanab First Ward, served on the groundbreaking committee and was tasked to get 48 shovels prepared for the ceremony. Shovels were prepared by Chance Cox on a Computer Numerical Control (CNC) engraving machine. He had to design the engravings to go on to the shovel handles using the Church’s official logo and the date of the groundbreaking, along with the name of the new temple. He also created special designs, including the names of Elder Holland and Elder Christensen for their shovels. Youth members of the Kanab First Ward met at the Rancho’s park pavilion and painted the engravings, sanded them and then applied a new finish for the handles.

Temples are the most sacred buildings for members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. They are unique in their function for sealing for time and eternity couples and families both living and the dead who were not able to receive the covenants and blessing of the temple in their life on this earth. The youth that participated in this event will have a special connection to this new temple and their opportunities to serve there in the future.