By JaNae Francis (Standard-Examiner staff)
ELK RIDGE — Lewis Feild, likely the most-recognized name of anyone in the Payson area, reacted with excitement Monday upon learning about a new temple of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints to be built near his hometown.
Feild was contacted by friends and the Standard-Examiner while he was driving a water truck for his oil field business.
A frequent performer and guest at the Ogden Pioneer Days rodeo, Feild is touted as one of the most distinguished rodeo competitors of all time.
His initial reaction was to say that a temple would change the lives of those who live near it.
“A temple has a way of affecting people who might not be members or might not even be that active,” he said.
Payson is where he and his wife were until about 16 years ago when his youngest son was baptized, and Feild’s wife, Veronica, was baptized along with him. A decade or so ago, the family was sealed in the Manti temple.
“We really have a close family,” Feild said. “We were close before. It just made us that much closer.”
Veronica had just returned from her Monday morning service as a worker in the Provo temple when she heard about the announcement. She said she has had a feeling that a new temple would be built in Payson.
“We’ve had record-breaking numbers in Provo. It’s been really, really fun.”
Veronica said the Provo and Salt Lake City temples are the only Utah temples open Mondays. Last Monday, she said, was exceptionally busy.
“We broke all records for a Monday (at the Provo temple). We did 1,004 endowments. Our record was 999.”
She said she’d also heard about volunteers in the temple performing ordinances for 150,000 people in a single month.
Fellow rodeo competitor Lance Robinson has lived in nearby West Mountain for five years.
“There is a lot of growth on this end of the valley in Utah County,” he said. “I think it will be a well-used temple. … It will be a lot more convenient.”
Robinson, who is originally from West Bountiful, said he has watched the population near his home explode since he moved in.
“There’s not much room for it to grow in the north part of Utah County. It seems like, even though there is a tough economy now, you see new homes going up. They are still expanding.”
According to an LDS Church news release, the new temple will help meet the needs of a growing church membership in the area and will ease the heavy use of the Provo temple.
It will bring to 15 the number of announced and operating temples in Utah.
The property for the Payson temple is at about 930 West and 1550 South on the southwest side of Payson, a mile from the 800 South Interstate 15 interchange. The property offers easy access to the freeway, the release states.
The new temple will serve about 22 stakes from Spanish Fork to Nephi, comprising about 78,000 church members.