NEWPORT BEACH –  The long-awaited groundbreaking for the Newport Beach Temple of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints will be held Friday, August 15, 2 p.m. at 2105 Bonita Canyon Road in Newport Beach, California.

Although the nearly 50,000 members of the Church in Orange County attend one of the 110 wards (congregations) locally, the Newport Beach Temple will serve faithful members throughout the county.

“The Newport Beach Temple, one of the Church’s smaller, one-level designs, will be slightly more than 17,000 square feet,” says ecclesiastical leader Weatherford Clayton, president of the Newport Beach Stake (similar to a diocese).

The temple will be built directly east of the existing 28,500 square-foot Newport Beach Stake Center on a lot of approximately seven useable acres of land that the Church acquired in 1992.  In addition, the Church dedicated more than seven acres to Irvine in 1994 to help preserve the wildlife ecology on two sides of the site.  

“Temples serve a different purpose from meetinghouses in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints,” says President Clayton.  “They’re considered ‘houses of the Lord,’ where Christ’s teachings are reaffirmed through marriage, baptism, and other sacred ordinances that unite families for eternity.”

Sunday worship services and other activities take place at meetinghouses open to all members of the community.  Temples are closed on Sundays and Mondays.

When the temple is completed, the community will be invited to an open house to tour the temple.  After the temple is dedicated, only faithful members of the Church may attend the temple.

California’s population of more than 33 million inhabitants includes nearly 800,000 members of the Church, or 2.2 percent of the state’s population.  Presently, four temples serve the Church members in California – those in Los Angeles, Oakland, San Diego, and Fresno. 

The temple in Redlands, California, will be the Church’s 116th operating temple. Built in the San Bernardino Valley, it will be the second inland temple built in California after the temple in Fresno.

The open house will continue until September 6, with the exception of Sundays (10 August, 17 August, 24 August, 31 August). At the conclusion of the open house, the temple will be closed to the public. The temple will be dedicated Sunday, 14 September 2004, in four dedicatory sessions.

With the projected Newport Beach and Sacramento temples, seven temples will eventually be serving our members in California.

Presently, 115 temples worldwide serve the nearly 12 million members of the Church in 162 countries and territories, with 13 additional temples either announced or under construction.