When I was in Florida I went to the groundbreaking. It was at 10 a.m. at Leslie and Alex' building. I had never been to a groundbreaking before, so I was especially excited to go. I kind of felt sorry for the people at the actual site because it was so hot that morning. Anyway, wanted to share a few factoids from the meeting.
Walter Gonzalez presided. He also had a couple of young (I would guess 2 and 4) darling grandchildren there. I won't list the speakers individually, just some of their thoughts. There are 134 operating temples, 26 under construction. This temple was announced in 2009. Groundbreaking is a symbolic beginning for the temple. The Orlando temple was dedicated in 1984. There are 136,000 members in Florida. 420,000 in Arizona. They believe the first member of the church to be baptized in Florida was in 1857. Florida was officially dedicated for missionary work in 1895. In 1930 Joseph Fielding Smith dedicated the first building in Florida, the Miami branch.
We go to the temple for revelation. We learn the laws of obedience and then obey them. We honor our pioneer forefathers as we stay faithful. We come to the temple because we love Him. The sunshine state will be brighter because of the temple. The temple is a reminder to focus our lives on the Savior. Elder Gonzalez said we should be men and women of our word. Then he referenced the scripture in 3 Nephi about let our communications be yea, yea and nay, nay. We should do what we say. As we keep covenants and help others we are working out our salvation. Of course, many mentioned the eternal nature of families.
We are all so blessed to have temples so close. This site is right by the freeway. It will be a light to the citizens of south Florida. Leslie heard they are going to call it the South Florida temple. I thought I saw somewhere that it said Ft. Lauderdale temple, but I am not so sure now. Anyway, it was a wonderful way to start the day.
I was talking to a lady from Leslie's ward before it started. She has lived in the area for 31 years. She said before Orlando was built, they traveled to the Atlanta Temple. It was a two day trip. They were so elated to have the Orlando Temple built, because it is only about 3 1/2 hours away. Now, she said, to think that it will be in our own backyard. If you hang around long enough, great blessings come. She is a temple officiator, and they get up at 3 to be at the temple. I think that is about when my mom and dad used to get up when they worked in the Idaho Falls Temple. We are so blessed to have temples again on the earth.
I love all of you.