Getting a temple for the Saints in Hartford Connecticut was harder than anyone would have thought in the beginning of the process. President Gordon B. Hinckley announced a temple for Hartford but then looked in the area for three years for the perfect piece of land, and they just were not able to find the land that President Hinckley felt good about.
In an article written by Mary Jane Woodger and Richard O. Cowan called ”Building the One Hundredth Temple, a Test Case of Religios Freedom In New England” they go through exactly what happened for the Connecticut Temple to be postponed:
By 1995 a tentative site had been selected. While in the East for an area conference, President Hinckley visited this site, but he felt “uneasy about it.” Following a day of looking at other properties in New York and Connecticut, “he was still unsettled.” On Saturday, April 22, 1995, at a luncheon with stake presidents in the Boston area, President Hinckley frankly admitted: “Brethren, I am frustrated. We have looked high and low around the Hartford, Connecticut, area for property, and nothing has developed. Do any of you have any suggestions?” In response, Kenneth G. Hutchins, president of the Boston stake, indicated that “the Church owned a prime piece of property on a hill overlooking Boston that had never been developed.” President Hinckley promptly turned the meeting over to Elder Neal A. Maxwell and left to visit the site. “As I stood there,” he recorded later that evening, “I had an electric feeling that this is the place, that the Lord inspired its acquisition and its retention. Very few seemed to know anything about it. . . . I think I know why I have had such a very difficult time determining the situation concerning Hartford. I have prayed about it. I have come here three or four times. I have studied maps and tables of membership. With all of this I have not had a strong confirmation. I felt a confirmation as I stood in Belmont on this property this afternoon. This is the place for a House of the Lord in the New England area.””
Hartford Connecticut Temple Plans Replaced
Three years after the announcement, plans for the Hartford Connecticut Temple were replaced. President Gordon B. Hinckley explained in the priesthood session of General Conference, "After working for years to acquire a suitable site in the Hartford area, during which time the Church has grown appreciably in areas to the north and south, we have determined that we will not at this time build a temple in the immediate area of Hartford." Plans were then announced for temples in Boston, Massachusetts, and White Plains, New York. "In other words," he said, "there will be two [temples] to serve the needs of the people where originally it was planned that one would do. We have sites in both of these new locations."
“We apologize to our faithful Saints in the Hartford area. We know you will be disappointed in this announcement. You know that we, and your local officers, have spent countless hours searching for a suitable location that would handle the needs of the Saints in New York and New England. While we deeply regret disappointing the people in the Hartford area, we are satisfied that we have been led to the present decision, and that temples will be located in such areas that our Saints in the Hartford area will not have to drive unreasonable distances."
Hartford Connecticut Temple and Boston Massachusetts Temple
It must have been heartbreaking for the Saints in the Connecticut area to learn that the temple was not going to be built in Connecticut. It is interesting that even when President Hinckley felt so strongly about the Boston Massachusetts Temple being built and cancelled the Connecticut Temple building, but then the Boston Temple had problem after problem before it was finished. Sometimes when one receives revelation we think that all should be easy because we are on the Lords errand. When the Lord needs us to learn something sometimes we need to go through some pretty hard times. We have to remember that the Lord will come through with His promise, even if it is not in the timeframe we want. The Saints of Connecticut were able to get their temple, but it took a lot of years!
Completion of the Hartford Connecticut Temple
In October 2010 General Conference President Thomas S. Monson announced the building of the Hartford Connecticut Temple.
At the groundbreaking ceremony of the Connecticut Temple President Monson said:
“Today is a special and sacred day as we bring to fruition the hopes and dreams of the Church members here and break ground for the Hartford Connecticut Temple," President Monson told the gathered crowd of 500. "Each [temple] stands as a beacon to the world, an expression of our testimony that God our Eternal Father lives, that He desires to bless us and indeed bless His sons and daughters of all generations."
The groundbreaking ceremony took place in August 2013 and the Hartford Connecticut Temple was dedicated November 20, 2016. Now the Hartford Connecticut Temple serves members from 7 stakes headquartered in Connecticut, Eastern New York, and Western Massachusetts.
Elder Neil A. Maxwell said “The issue for us is trusting God enough to trust also His timing. If we can truly believe He has our welfare at heart, may we not let His plans unfold as He thinks best? The same is true with the second coming and with all those matters wherein our faith needs to include faith in the Lord’s timing for us personally, not just in His overall plans and purpose.”
God loves His children and He will make a way for all His purposes to come to be. Remembering to trust Gods timetable is a lesson we will need to learn again and again in this life.
“Timing” By Dallin H. Oaks Ensign 2003, From a talk given Jan 2002 at Brigham Young University