Farmington, Connecticut will be the home of the state’s first Mormon temple. Mormon is a nickname sometimes applied to members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The temple is expected to be completed in about two years. It will be 25,000 square feet in a single story and be built of white granite. The design is a traditional New England style that enhances the character of the town and is similar to a historic Farmington church already existing. The property will also house a home for the mission president and a utility building, but the total of space used for buildings will be less than the amount allowed by the city code. Mormon temples are always perfectly maintained with attractive landscaping, which has the inevitable effect of raising property values in the neighborhood. The impact on traffic is far less than the school and office buildings previously approved for that location, since it is estimated the temple would attract only about 75 cars spread throughout the day. The temples are used by small groups, not large gatherings. They are also not missionary centers. The people who attend the temple are there to worship, not to convert others.
Because temples are sacred places, the people who come to them are quiet. They are not used as ordinary meetinghouses, so they do not host parties or other activities that would be a distraction to the area.
The church plans to put in a left-turn light and also to build an access road. The owner of the property behind the temple has agreed to build the other half of that road, so the road will go all the way through, creating a lessening of traffic on the main road for everyone. Peak travel occurs on Saturday, when the main road is less busy, and the temple is closed on Sundays and Mondays.
A website was created by the church to answer questions. There are several videos in which non-Mormons who live near temples were interviewed to find out how the temple impacted their neighborhood.
Visit the official website for the temple.
The temple was first announced in 1992 by Gordon B. Hinckley, who was then the president of the Church. At that time, it was scheduled to be built in Hartford. However, three years later President Hinckley announced that they were going to seek a new location due to church growth in neighboring areas. They needed a location that was as central as possible to the largest number of people. Instead, they announced two new temples in Boston, MA, and in White Plains, NY, which would serve that population. The White Plains temple was suspended in favor of the Manhattan temple. Connecticut was promised it would eventually get a temple of its own.
Eighteen years after the people of Connecticut were first promised a temple, Thomas S. Monson, the current Mormon prophet, announced the temple they were promised and the city council has recently approved it.
Mormon temples are open to the public for a brief time after they are built. Visitors may take a tour and learn what the temples look like inside and what they are used for. After that time, they are closed to those who are not eligible because they are not tourist attractions. They are places for Mormons to escape the secular world for a little while and focus only on the Savior. They leave behind conversation and thoughts of jobs, hobbies, and other worldly matters and for a few hours, they learn about Jesus Christ, make covenants with Him that they will live a Christ-like life, and perform spiritual service for ancestors. This renewal of the spirit is possible only because one must have a testimony and a high standard of gospel-living to enter and so each person has the same goals and focuses.
The temple is also a place to receive sacred ordinances. One ordinance is called the endowment, which means gift. During this portion, members learn more about the atonement of Jesus Christ and its saving power. Another is eternal marriage. Mormons believe marriage is not meant to end in divorce at death, but that God intended it to last forever. Children and siblings are also meant to be ours forever. After all, who wants to live forever without those they love most?
Terrie Lynn Bittner
The late Terrie Lynn Bittner—beloved wife, mother, grandmother, and friend—was the author of two homeschooling books and numerous articles, including several that appeared in Latter-day Saint magazines. She became a member of the Church at the age of 17 and began sharing her faith online in 1992.