SALT LAKE CITY — The possibility of another temple coming to Utah County seemed like a long shot as David Rutter and his family watched the final minutes of general conference Sunday afternoon.
Then President Russell M. Nelson announced a new temple for Lindon, home to the Rutter family for more than 25 years and where David was recently called as president of the Lindon Utah Stake.
“When he said Lindon we were blown away,” said Rutter, “especially because we just had the announcement for the Orem Utah Temple last year, which is the district we were told we would be in. So yes, we were very humbled and grateful.”
The Lindon Utah Temple, the eighth to be constructed in Utah County, was one of six temples announced by President Nelson at the conclusion of the 190th Semiannual General Conference of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints Sunday afternoon.
The other five locations are:
- Tarawa, Kiribati.
- Port Vila, Vanuatu.
- Greater Guatemala City, Guatemala.
- Sao Paulo East, Brazil.
- Santa Cruz, Bolivia.
The church now has 230 temples announced, under construction or operating, according to a church statement. Latter-day Saint temples are sacred buildings used for the faith’s highest and most sacred ordinances.
Rutter said there was one stake when his family moved to Lindon over two decades ago and now there are three.
“In our first four or five years, we were part of three or four ward boundary changes. The growth has definitely been constant,” he said. “It’s been an amazing weekend and (the temple announcement) really capped it off.”
Utah currently has 17 operating temples and seven more announced or under construction.
The Santa Cruz temple will be the second in Bolivia. Alan Christensen, of Tremonton, choked up when he heard about a new temple in Santa Cruz. He served there as a missionary 45 years ago when the country only had one mission and the church consisted of several branches and districts. For years members have been required to travel long distances to attend the country’s first temple in Cochabamba, he said.
“There’s a lot of faithful members of the church there,” Christensen said. “I’m actually a little surprised that it’s taken 45 years to get to this point, but what a blessing this will be for them.”
The São Paulo East temple is the 12th temple announced in Brazil, a country home to about 1.5 million Latter-day Saints.
The Greater Guatemala City temple will be the fourth in Guatemala, a country with nearly 300,000 church members.
The temples in Tarawa, Kiribati, and Port Vila, Vanuatu, will be the first in those respective areas of the world. There are nearly 21,000 Latter-day Saints in the Pacific island nation of Kiribati and more than 10,000 members in Vanuatu.
Tessa Thornley-Blackham, of Logan, served in the Vanuatu Port Vila Mission from September 2017 to February 2019. When she heard the temple announcement Sunday, tears flowed because she knew how much a temple would mean to members there. Most families save up to travel once a year to New Zealand, but others simply don’t have the financial resources, she said.
“I know how much the people in the Pacific need this temple,” she said. “This is going to bless so many lives.”
Sunday’s news of six new temples brings the total number of temples announced by President Nelson to 49 since becoming the president of the church in 2018. He announced 19 new temples that year, 16 temples in 2019 and eight temples last April.
During his opening remarks in the Saturday morning session, President Nelson noted that although temples were closed for a time and some construction projects were briefly delayed, the church has continued to move forward and will break ground on 20 new temples by the end of the 2020.