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Building begins in July for Oklahoma City temple

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) -- Construction will begin next month on a $4.5 million temple for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

The temple being built in the Surrey Hills neighborhood in northwest Oklahoma City will serve about 32,000 Mormons from Oklahoma and portions of Texas, Kansas, Arkansas and Missouri.The temple will include about 10,000 square feet and will serve 15 stakes, including Tulsa, Lawton, Stillwater and Oklahoma City as well as members of stakes in Amarillo, Texas; Salina and Wichita, Kan.; Joplin and Springfield, Mo.; and Fort Smith, Ark.

The temple is part of a 1997 plan to build smaller temples to serve those in areas removed from existing temples.

Gary Newman, immediate past president of the denomination's Oklahoma City stake, said temple construction should be completed by May.

The formal groundbreaking is Saturday.

Mormons use temples to perform rites such as eternal marriages and baptisms for the dead.