RENO - As construction advances on the temple of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, members are hopeful that it will be a positive influence on the community.
"It's totally visible all the time. It testifies that Jesus is the Christ," said Elder Singleton, a missionary who was called with his wife to oversee temple construction. "That can't help but be an influence for good."
The temple ground breaking was in July and the expected completion date is set for the end of March.
According to an official release by the church, "Temples are sacred buildings in which Latter-day Saints receive instruction about the purpose of life and their relationship to God."
Sister Singleton, wife of Elder Singleton, is in charge of compiling a history of the construction. While serving as missionaries, the two are referred to as Elder and Sister.
"This has been really fun," Sister Singleton said. "I've never been on a construction site before. I just sit at the window and watch."
She has a photographic record of the site from the first day and will continue the record until the site is completed.
Until the opening of the Reno temple, the closest temple is in Oakland, about 300 miles away.
"The members are so excited. They've had to travel such a long way to Oakland," Sister Singleton said. "It's hard to go over the Sierras in the winter time."
Molly Reil, a member of the church in Dayton, said she is anxious for the temple to be open.
"It's going to be a real blessing," she said. "It will be a real positive point for the whole area, not just the members."
The Singletons said they have seen the influence of the temple already with the construction crew who are under contract to work in a no-smoking and no-swearing environment.
"We've had the best subcontractors here," said Elder Singleton. They've been great."
Sister Singleton said that at first, the crew would throw their trash on the ground and leave it there at the end of the day.
She said that one day, Elder Singleton began cleaning up after them. They wanted to know why.
"I told them that on July 24 this land was dedicated to the Lord and if they wanted to leave that (the trash) as their offering ...." Elder Singleton said. They changed after that.
"They realize now they're working on a temple," he said.
Julie Matthews, also a Dayton member, said the temple will help members improve their lives.
"You're able to be a better Christ-like person when you can go more often," she said. "It's such a spiritual experience."
Elder Singleton, who has about 50 years experience in the construction business, supervises the work and keeps in touch with church headquarters in Salt Lake City.
He said he takes between eight and 30 pictures a day on a digital camera to send to the architect in Salt Lake City.