Africa Gets One New Temple As Latter-day Saints Announce Plans For 8 More

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President Russell M. Nelson of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints says the church is planning to build eight new temples throughout the world. Nelson’s announcement brings the total number of operating temples (166) and temples announced or under construction (51) to 217 worldwide.

The new temples will be in the following locations:

Freetown, Sierra Leone

There are more than 21,000 Latter-day Saints and approximately 70 congregations in Sierra Leone. This will be the first temple in Sierra Leone. There are presently nine temples in Africa in operation, under construction or announced including: Accra, Ghana; Democratic Republic of the Congo; Abidjan, Ivory Coast; Aba, Nigeria; Nairobi, Kenya; Durban, South Africa; Johannesburg, South Africa; Harare, Zimbabwe; and Lagos, Nigeria.

Orem, Utah

The new temple in Orem, located about 40 miles south of Salt Lake City, will be Utah’s 22nd house of the Lord. As the Church’s world headquarters, Utah has 2.1 million Church members, which is more than 65% of the state’s population of 3.2 million residents.

There are 17 operating temples in the state, including the BountifulBrigham CityCedar CityDraperLoganJordan RiverMantiMonticelloMount TimpanogosOgdenOquirrh MountainPaysonProvo City CenterProvoSt. GeorgeSalt Lake and Vernal Temples. Announced temples in Utah include the Saratoga Springs TempleLayton Utah Temple, a temple in Washington CountyTooele Valley Utah Temple, and the Taylorsville Utah Temple.

Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea

More than 28,000 Latter-day Saints in 80 congregations live in Papua New Guinea. Port Moresby is the capital and largest city of Papua New Guinea. Members of the church currently attend the temple in Suva, Fiji. The Port Moresby Branch (a small congregation) was organised October 10, 1979. The Papua New Guinea Port Moresby Mission was created February 13, 1992.

Bentonville, Arkansas

This will be this state’s first temple. There are more than 31,000 Latter-day Saints in Arkansas with approximately 70 congregations. The first meeting of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Arkansas was in 1835, led by missionaries Wilford Woodruff and Henry Brown.

Bacolod, Philippines

This temple will be the seventh house of the Lord in the Republic of the Philippines. The country, made up of more than 7,107 islands, is home to over 800,000 Latter-day Saints. The first temple constructed was in Manila and dedicated in 1984.

The second temple is in Cebu City and was dedicated in 2010. The Urdaneta temple is currently under construction while three others will be constructed in Cagayan de Oro, Davao and the Greater Manila Area. Today, there are more than 1,200 congregations and 22 missions in the region.

McAllen, Texas

This will be the fifth temple in the state of Texas. The others are in Dallas, Houston, Lubbock and San Antonio. In 1990, there were more than 154,000 Latter-day Saints; today, there are over 350,000 members in nearly 700 wards and branches.

Cobán, Guatemala

The temple in Cobán, located in the highlands of central Guatemala, will be the country’s third temple. Nearly 278,000 Latter-day Saints in approximately 450 congregations reside in Guatemala. Missionaries first arrived in the Central American country in 1947. There are now seven missions. Two temples are operating in Guatemala, including the Guatemala City Guatemala Temple and the Quetzaltenango Guatemala Temple.

Taylorsville, Utah

The new temple in Taylorsville, located in metropolitan Salt Lake City, will be Utah’s 23nd house of the Lord. As the Church’s world headquarters, Utah has 2.1 million Church members, which is more than 65% of the state’s population of 3.2 million residents.

There are 17 operating temples in the state, including the BountifulBrigham CityCedar CityDraperLoganJordan RiverMantiMonticelloMount TimpanogosOgdenOquirrh MountainPaysonProvo City CenterProvoSt. GeorgeSalt Lake and Vernal Temples. Announced temples in Utah include the Saratoga Springs TempleLayton Utah Temple, a temple in Washington CountyTooele Valley Utah Temple, and the Orem Utah Temple.

“As the church grows, more temples will be built so that more families can have access to that greatest of all blessings, that of eternal life,” said President Nelson, who was the final speaker of the session. “We regard a temple as the most sacred structure in the Church. Whenever plans are announced to construct a new temple, it becomes an important part of our history.”

Since becoming church president in January 2018, Nelson has announced 35 new temples. Last April, he announced eight new temples. Aside from when former church President Gordon B. Hinckley announced some 30 new smaller temples in 1998, no other Church president has announced more temples in such a short period of time.

Fourteen temples are currently under construction. Ground will be broken this fall on the Saratoga Springs Temple in Utah and the Puebla Mexico Temple.

The Kinshasa Democratic Republic of the CongoFortaleza BrazilPort-au-Prince Haiti and Lisbon Portugal Temples were dedicated this year. Following renovation, the Memphis TennesseeOklahoma City Oklahoma and Oakland California Temples were rededicated.

Nine temples are being renovated, including the Raleigh North Carolina (rededication Oct. 13), Frankfurt Germany (rededication Oct. 20), Asunción Paraguay (rededication Nov. 3) and Baton Rouge Louisiana (rededication Nov. 17).

Other temples under renovation include the Hamilton New ZealandHong Kong China TempleMesa Arizona, Tokyo Japan and Washington D.C. Temples. The St. George and Salt Lake pioneer-era temples will close for renovation before the end of the year. Temples undergoing renovation are included in the number of operating temples.

About Temples

Latter-day Saints consider temples to be the “house of the Lord” and the most sacred places of worship on the earth. Temples differ from the Church’s meetinghouses (chapels). All are welcome to attend Sunday worship services and other weekday activities at local meetinghouses.

The primary purpose of temples, however, is for faithful members of the Church to participate in sacred ceremonies such as marriages that unite families forever and proxy baptisms on behalf of deceased ancestors who did not have the opportunity while living. Find out more about temples.

Nelson has also shared a new church policy related to the witnessing of ordinances, including baptisms performed in chapels and temples.

Any baptised member of the church may serve as a witness of the baptism of a living person. This change pertains to all baptisms outside the temple.

A proxy baptism for a deceased person may be witnessed by anyone holding a current temple recommend, including a limited-use temple recommend.

Any endowed member with a current temple recommend may serve as a witness to sealing ordinances, living and proxy.

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