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‘Temples closer to the people’

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Elder Adilson de Paula Parrella speaks at the media open house for the Orem Utah Temple on Oct. 23, 2023.

Elder Adilson de Paula Parrella, General Authority Seventy and assistant executive director of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints Temple Department, speaks at a media briefing at a meetinhouse next to the Orem Utah Temple in Orem on Monday, Oct. 23, 2023.

Megan Nielsen, Deseret News

This article was first published in the ChurchBeat newsletter. Sign up to receive the newsletter in your inbox each Wednesday night.

In less than six years as its prophet, President Russell M. Nelson has announced 153 new temples for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

The global nature of those announcements was driven home for me again at the Orem Utah Temple media day. (The temple open house remains underway through Dec. 16.)

There I interviewed a Brazilian General Authority Seventy I’d met last year at the Rio de Janeiro Brazil Temple media day. Brazil now has 10 dedicated temples. A dozen more are planned or under construction.

“President Nelson’s vision as a prophet is to bring temples closer to the people,” Elder Adilson de Paula Parrella said then. “It’s a prophetic vision coming to pass all over the world, and it’s reached Rio.”

At the time, he was the Brazil Area president. Now Elder Parrella is assigned to church headquarters in Salt Lake City as assistant executive director of the Temple Department. The media event for the Orem temple, which will be the church’s 188th, was an opportunity to revisit the subject of President Nelson’s prophetic vision for the church.

“I can’t help but just feel joy because we see the First Presidency really giving us the vision about what The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is all about,” Elder Parrella said, “and it is about receiving ordinances, making covenants, keeping those covenants, coming to the temple and making the temple a centerpiece of worship in our lives.”

The Orem Utah Temple is the 22nd in Utah, which has another six under construction or planned.

“God is sharing everything with us,” Elder Parrella added, “and he’s doing that by giving revelations to the president of the church, so that the houses of the Lord can be there closer to everyone, so that we can come to his house and enjoy his presence and be comforted and receive what we need to receive in the temple.”

President Nelson’s temple announcements bring the total of temples now operating, under construction or announced, to 335.

Sister Elaine Finholdt Parrella, Elder Parrella’s wife, sat on a couch with her husband as we spoke in the gym of the new meetinghouse on the Orem temple site, and she also addressed the prophet’s vision.

“President Nelson tells us that the most important work is to gather Israel,” she said. “I feel that the prophet is doing what is the most important thing, to bring temples closer to the members so we can do prepare everything for the Second Coming of Jesus Christ.”

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I don’t know much about the Canadian rock band Rush, but I really enjoyed learning about the baseball memorabilia obsession of one member of the band, Geddy Lee. One, he owns a baseball with the signature of every member of the 3,000-hit club. Since he obtained it, he’s had it signed by each new member — Ichiro Suzuki, Miguel Cabrera and Albert Pujols. He has a great philosophy about collectible baseballs: “Baseballs, nobody owns them. They’re like houses. You take care of them for a while, and then they move on to the next person, the next custodian.” Read more here (paywall).

Behind the Scenes

Sister Elaine Finholdt Parrella hugs a young single adult woman at the media open house for the Orem Utah Temple in 2023.

Sister Elaine Finholdt Parrella, right, wife of Elder Adilson de Paula Parrella, General Authority Seventy and assistant executive director of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints Temple Department, hugs Rebekah Carrasco, who attended a media briefing and tour at the Orem Utah Temple in Orem, Utah, on Monday, Oct. 23, 2023.

Megan Nielsen, Deseret News