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A brief history of Latter-day Saint temple announcements

See how many temples each Latter-day Saint prophet has announced and where most of those announced by President Nelson will be built

Colorful flowers greet visits outside the Pocatello Idaho Temple.
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints’ Pocatello Idaho Temple in Pocatello, Idaho, is pictured on Monday, Sept. 13, 2021. Ground was broken for the temple in the spring of 2019.
Scott G Winterton, Deseret News

This article was first published as the ChurchBeat newsletter. Sign up to receive the newsletter in your inbox weekly.

When President Russell M. Nelson announced 13 temples on Sunday, it marked a new era in the history of temple building for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Fewer than four years into his administration, President Nelson now has announced plans to construct 83 new temples. That is noteworthy for several reasons:

  • President Gordon B. Hinckley announced 78 temples during his administration, which spanned nearly 13 years. Until Sunday, that had been the most temples announced during one church president’s administration.
  • The 83 temples President Nelson has announced are more than half of the 159 temples the church had in operation when he became the church’s president in January 2018.
  • The church now has a staggering 97 temples under construction (44) or announced (53).

The goal of all this temple building, President Nelson has said, is to bring temple ordinances and covenants and blessings closer to each of the 16.5 million members of the church.

One way to measure that is how many temples there are per church member. The lowest number of members per temple was reached in 1893 when the Salt Lake Temple was opened. At the time, the church had four temples and 53,500 members per temple, said Brandon Plewe, editor-in-chief of the 2012 book “Mapping Mormonism: An Atlas of Latter-day Saint History.”

“That’s amazing to think, four temples covered us well then,” he said. The church continued to grow but did not complete another temple until 1919 in Laie, Hawaii.

Today, the church has 98,601 members per temple, but this construction boom could bring that number as low at it has been since before 1900, Plewe said.

Based on church membership growth rates, Plewe estimated that if all the announced temples were completed three-and-a-half years from now, bringing the church’s total to 265, there would be about 66,000 members per temple.

“The last time the church had as few as 66,000 members per temple was 1898,” he said.

Where will most of the temples announced by President Nelson be built?

Most of the temples announced by President Nelson will be built outside of the United States.

He has announced 54 temples outside of the United States and its territories, including four each for Brazil, Mexico and the Philippines, three in Argentina and two each in Bolivia, Chile, the Democratic Republic of Congo and Nigeria.

He has announced 10 new temples in Utah and 19 in other states and the U.S. territory of Puerto Rico.

How many temples did each Latter-day Saint prophet announce?

  • President Russell M. Nelson — 83.
  • President Gordon B. Hinckley — 78.
  • President Thomas S. Monson — 45.
  • President Spencer W. Kimball — 31.
  • President Ezra Taft Benson — 9.
  • President David O. McKay — 7.
  • President Joseph Smith — 5 (Due to persecution, two were built).
  • President Brigham Young — 4.
  • President Howard W. Hunter — 3.
  • President Heber J. Grant — 3.
  • President Joseph F. Smith — 2.

Presidents John Taylor, Wilford Woodruff, Lorenzo Snow, George Albert Smith, Joseph Fielding Smith and Harold B. Lee did not announce new temples during their administrations.

Find the full list of all 83 temples President Nelson has announced at the bottom of this newsletter.

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Behind the Scenes

Taking Utah’s FrontRunner train from my home in Provo to Salt Lake City on Saturday to cover general conference at the Conference Center was odd because the normal crowds were missing.

Here’s what that the FrontRunner platforms looked like two years ago and on Saturday:

All 83 temples announced by President Russell M. Nelson

April 2018 general conference — 7

  • Salta Argentina Temple — currently under construction.
  • Bengaluru India Temple — currently under construction.
  • Managua, Nicaragua.
  • Cagayan de Oro, Philippines.
  • Layton Utah Temple — currently under construction.
  • Richmond Virginia Temple — currently under construction.
  • A major city yet to be determined in Russia.

October 2018 general conference — 12

  • Mendoza Argentina Temple — currently under construction
  • Salvador Brazil Temple — currently under construction.
  • Yuba City, California — named Feather River California Temple, currently under construction.
  • Phnom Penh Cambodia Temple — currently under construction.
  • Praia Cape Verde Temple — currently under construction.
  • Yigo Guam Temple — currently under construction.
  • Puebla Mexico Temple — currently under construction.
  • Auckland New Zealand Temple — currently under construction.
  • Lagos, Nigeria.
  • Davao Philippines Temple — currently under construction.
  • San Juan Puerto Rico Temple — currently under construction.
  • Red Cliffs Utah Temple in St. George — currently under construction.

April 2019 general conference — 8

  • Pago Pago American Samoa Temple — groundbreaking set for Oct. 30.
  • Okinawa City Japan Temple — currently under construction.
  • Neiafu Tonga Temple — currently under construction.
  • Tooele Valley, Utah — named Deseret Peak Utah Temple, currently under construction.
  • Moses Lake Washington Temple — currently under construction.
  • San Pedro Sula Honduras Temple — currently under construction.
  • Antofagasta Chile Temple — currently under construction.
  • Budapest, Hungary.

October 2019 general conference — 8

  • Freetown, Sierra Leone.
  • Orem Utah Temple — currently under construction.
  • Port Moresby Papua New Guinea Temple — site announced and exterior rendering released.
  • Bentonville Arkansas Temple — currently under construction.
  • Bacolod, Philippines — scheduled for groundbreaking in December.
  • McAllen Texas Temple — currently under construction.
  • Cobán Guatemala Temple — currently under construction.
  • Taylorsville Utah Temple — currently under construction.

April 2020 general conference — 8

  • Bahía Blanca, Argentina.
  • Tallahassee Florida Temple — currently under construction.
  • Lubumbashi, Democratic Republic of Congo.
  • Pittsburgh Pennsylvania Temple — currently under construction.
  • Benin City, Nigeria.
  • Syracuse Utah Temple — currently under construction.
  • Dubai, United Arab Emirates.
  • Shanghai, People’s Republic of China.

October 2020 general conference — 6

  • Tarawa Kiribati Temple — site announced and exterior rendering released.
  • Port Vila Vanuatu Temple — site announced and exterior rendering released.
  • Lindon Utah Temple — site announced and exterior rendering released.
  • Greater Guatemala City Guatemala Temple — site announced and exterior rendering released.
  • São Paulo East, Brazil.
  • Santa Cruz, Bolivia.

April 2021 general conference — 20

  • Oslo, Norway.
  • Brussels, Belgium.
  • Vienna, Austria.
  • Kumasi, Ghana.
  • Beira, Mozambique.
  • Cape Town, South Africa.
  • Singapore, Republic of Singapore.
  • Belo Horizonte, Brazil.
  • Cali, Colombia.
  • Querétaro, Mexico.
  • Torreón, Mexico.
  • Helena, Montana.
  • Casper, Wyoming — groundbreaking scheduled for Saturday.
  • Grand Junction, Colorado.
  • Farmington, New Mexico.
  • Burley, Idaho.
  • Eugene, Oregon.
  • Elko, Nevada.
  • Yorba Linda, California.
  • Smithfield, Utah.

May 1, 2021 — 1

  • Ephraim, Utah.

October 2021 general conference — 13

  • Kaohsiung, Taiwan.
  • Tacloban City, Philippines.
  • Monrovia, Liberia.
  • Kananga, Democratic Republic of Congo.
  • Antananarivo, Madagascar.
  • Culiacán, México.
  • Vitória, Brazil.
  • La Paz, Bolivia.
  • Santiago West, Chile.
  • Fort Worth, Texas.
  • Cody, Wyoming.
  • Rexburg North, Idaho.
  • Heber Valley, Utah.