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President Nelson unveils plans for the church to build 20 new temples

SHARE President Nelson unveils plans for the church to build 20 new temples

President Russell M. Nelson speaks during the Sunday morning session of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints’ 191st Annual General Conference on April 4, 2021. In the Sunday afternoon session, President Nelson announced plans to build 20 new temples, the most ever announced at one time.

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

Robert Funk and family members were at his daughter’s home in Kennewick, Washington, watching the end of general conference when the unexpected news came that a new temple was coming to his hometown of Smithfield, Utah.

Funk, a longtime area resident who also serves as president of the Smithfield Utah Young Single Adult Stake, used words like “excited” and “thrilled” to describe his feelings about a second temple coming to Cache Valley.

“It warms my heart as a native of Smithfield to have a temple in our community. It’s just going to be a really cool thing for us,” Funk said. “I’m not exactly sure where they will draw the lines for the temple district, but a lot of people are very happy right now with his wonderful announcement today.”

Smithfield was the final city mentioned on a list of 20 new temple locations unveiled by President Russell M. Nelson during his concluding remarks of the 191st Annual General Conference of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints on Sunday.

“We want to bring the house of the Lord even closer to our members, that they may have the sacred privilege of attending the temple as often as their circumstances allow,” President Nelson said.

The 20 new temples will be built in the following locations:

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

There are 41 temples currently under construction or renovation, and despite the pandemic, ground was broken for 21 new temples in 2020. The church is “building now for the future,” the church president said.

“I pray that your desire to worship and serve in the temple burns more brightly than ever,” President Nelson said. “Temples are a vital part of the Restoration of the gospel of Jesus Christ in its fulness. Ordinances of the temple fill our lives with power and strength — available in no other way. We thank God for those blessings.”

This is the most temple locations ever announced at one time. The previous record was 12 temples by President Nelson on Oct. 7, 2018, according to ChurchofJesusChrist.org.

President Gordon B. Hinckley announced plans to construct as many as 32 new temples at the April 1998 general conference but did not list specific locations.

Sunday’s news of 20 new temples brings the total number of temples announced by President Nelson to 69 since becoming the president of the church in 2018. He announced 19 new temples that year, 16 temples in 2019 and 14 in 2020, including eight temples last April and six in October.

The Church of Jesus Christ now has 251 temples announced, under construction or operating.

Reopening temples

In addition to the temple announcement, President Nelson outlined the four phases for reopening temples during the ongoing pandemic. He thanked Latter-day Saints for their patience and said the temples would resume operations as local government regulations allow it.

“Now, you may be wondering when you will be able to return to the temple. When the incidence of COVID-19 in your area is within safe limits, your temple will reopen,” he said. “Do all you can to bring COVID-19 numbers down in your area so that your temple opportunities can increase. Meanwhile, keep your temple covenants and blessings foremost in your minds and hearts. Stay true to the covenants you have made.”

President Nelson also spoke of temples during the conference leadership session earlier this week.

“Names of ancestors are being prepared for the day when temples will again be open for vicarious work to be done,” he said on April 1.

Reaction to temple news

Smithfield Mayor Jeffrey Barnes initially missed the big news because he out of the range of cell phone service, hiking in southern Utah. When he drove into Hanksville this afternoon, his phone “went crazy” with messages.

“I’m still in shock,” Barnes said. “I am totally surprised at this announcement. It’s hard to believe.”

The mayor said city officials were aware that the church had purchased a piece of property that was larger than what a normal meetinghouse would require, but didn’t know why. Smithfield has a population of nearly 14,000 people.

“I think it will be a wonderful addition to the city,” Barnes said. “I think the residents will be delighted to have a temple in their town, make it more convenient to attend the temple, being right in their neighborhood. It’s exciting.”

Along with emphasizing the spiritual strength a new temple will bring to Latter-day Saints in the area, the addition of a second temple in Cache Valley could not be more timely, Funk said.

Continual area growth over the last two decades has resulted in a waiting list several months long for youth to get into the Logan Temple baptistry. Other parts of the temple have been busy as well.

“There have been times when the Logan temple has been extraordinarily busy and difficult to get into,” Funk said. “Because of the demand, before the pandemic, many of our young people were going to the temple at 5 a.m. to do baptisms for the dead before they went to school, which was pretty amazing to see. ... To have another temple in Cache Valley will be a great blessing for people here.”

Jordan Falslev, 27, is a returned missionary who attends a ward in the YSA stake in Smithfield. He served as an ordinance worker in the Logan temple from 2015-2017. In recent years he has felt a spiritual impression that a second temple was coming to the Logan area. He looks forward to serving in the new temple.

“We are super excited ... and it’s really needed,” Falslev said. “I think it shows that Latter-day Saints here continue to be devoted and love the Lord. It’s hard to find the words to show how thankful we are.”

Learn more about the new temples

The following information is provided by the church’s Newsroom site:

Oslo, Norway

This will be the first temple for Norway which is home to about 5,000 Latter-day Saints. Oslo, Norway’s capital, sits on the country’s southern coast. The Book of Mormon was translated into Danish in 1850 — the first language other than English. The first missionaries arrived in Norway in 1851 and the first two congregations were organized in July 1852. In Scandinavia, the Church also has temples in Helsinki, Finland; Copenhagen, Denmark; and Stockholm, Sweden.

Brussels, Belgium

About 7,000 Latter-day Saints in a dozen congregations reside in Belgium. The Brussels Belgium Temple will be the Church’s first temple in Belgium. Brussels, a major international center, is the European country’s capital. A convert from Turkey was the first member to arrive in Belgium in 1888. Missionaries laboring in Switzerland and Germany were also sent to Belgium. The first chapels built for French-speaking members in Europe were all completed in the 1930s. There are more than a dozen temples in Europe.

Vienna, Austria

Vienna is the capital and most populous city in Austria and home to about 5,000 Latter-day Saints. This will be the Church’s first temple in Austria, considered one of Central Europe’s cultural and economic centers. Orson Hyde, a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles visited Austria in 1841. More than 20 years later, Elder Hyde and missionary William W. Ritter arrived in Austria to begin missionary work. Austria granted official government recognition to the Church in September 1955. More than a dozen temples are in Europe.

Kumasi, Ghana

There are nearly 90,000 Latter-day Saints spread throughout 300 congregations in Ghana. With its beautiful variety of flowers and plants, Kumasi is known as the Garden City and is in the southern rain forest region of Ghana. The Kumasi Ghana Temple will be the second temple in the country; the first is the Accra Ghana Temple, dedicated in 2004. Missionary work began in the country in May 2002.

Beira, Mozambique

This will be the first temple in Mozambique. The country has more than 15,000 Latter-day Saints and more than 40 congregations. Beira, a city of more than one-half million people, is a central Mozambique coastal city adjacent to the Indian Ocean. Missionary work began in the country in early 1999.

Cape Town, South Africa

About 69,000 Latter-day Saints worship in around 195 congregations in South Africa. Cape Town is located on the shore of Table Bay. This will be the third temple in the country. The other temples in South Africa are the Johannesburg South Africa Temple and the Durban South Africa Temple. The first missionaries arrived in South Africa in 1853, and the first meetinghouse was built in Mowbray in 1916.

Singapore, Republic of Singapore

This will be the first temple in Singapore, which is home to 3,000 Latter-day Saints and seven congregations. Singapore is the capital of the Republic of Singapore and is in the southern part of the country. Missionary work began in Singapore in 1968.

Belo Horizonte, Brazil

Brazil is home to over 1.4 million Latter-day Saints spread throughout more than 2,100 congregations. Belo Horizonte, the sixth-largest city in Brazil, is considered the economic hub of the country. The first known member of the Church to live in Brazil emigrated from Germany in 1913. In 1986, Brazil became the third country outside the United States to have 50 organized stakes (a group of congregations). The temple in Belo Horizonte will be the 13th announced temple for Brazil, with dedicated temples located in Campinas, Curitiba, Fortaleza, Manaus, Porto Alegre, Recife and São Paulo. There is also a temple completed and prepared to be dedicated in Rio de Janeiro; temples under construction in Belem and Brasilia; and temples announced in Salvador and East São Paulo.

Cali, Colombia

The Cali Colombia Temple will be the country’s third temple. Colombia is home to around 210,000 Latter-day Saints in nearly 250 congregations. The Bogotá Colombia Temple was dedicated in 1999. The Barranquilla Colombia Temple was dedicated in 2018. Missionary work began in Colombia in 1966. The first members of the Church lived in Cali and Bogotá. Cali is the second-largest city in Colombia.

Querétaro, Mexico

This will be Mexico’s 15th temple. Queretaro (officially known as Santiago de Queretaro) is a city about 135 miles northwest of Mexico City in the state of Queretaro in central Mexico. Queretaro has a population of about 1 million residents. The other temples in Mexico include the Ciudad Juárez, Colonia Juárez Chihuahua, Guadalajara, Hermosillo Sonora, Mérida, Mexico City, Monterrey, Oaxaca, Puebla, Tampico, Tijuana, Tuxtla Gutiérrez, Torreón, Veracruz and Villahermosa temples. The country is home to approximately 1.5 million Latter-day Saints, more than any other country outside the United States, and 1,800 congregations. Missionary work began in Mexico in 1875.

Torreón, Mexico

This will be Mexico’s 16th temple. Torreon is a City in the Mexican state of Coahuila, with a population of about 635,000 people. The other temples in Mexico include the Ciudad Juárez, Colonia Juárez Chihuahua, Guadalajara, Hermosillo Sonora, Mérida, Mexico City, Monterrey, Oaxaca, Puebla, Querétaro, Tampico, Tijuana, Tuxtla Gutiérrez, Veracruz and Villahermosa temples. The country is home to approximately 1.5 million Latter-day Saints, more than any other country outside the United States, and 1,800 congregations. Missionary work began in Mexico in 1875.

Helena, Montana

Montana, located in North Central United States and bordering Canada, is home to more than 50,000 Latter-day Saints and around 125 congregations. The Helena Montana Temple will be the second temple for the state. The first is the Billings Montana Temple, which was dedicated in November 1999.

Casper, Wyoming

One in every nine residents of Wyoming, or approximately 68,000 people, claim membership in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. This will be the state’s second temple. The Star Valley Wyoming Temple was dedicated in 2016. Wyoming has a significant place in the history of the Church, as pioneers traveled across the state in their westward migration to Utah, primarily from the 1840s to the 1860s. Casper is in east-central Wyoming.

Grand Junction, Colorado

Colorado, in the Intermountain West of the United States, is home to over 150,000 Latter-day Saints and around 310 congregations. The first mission of the Church in Colorado was established in 1896. The first official congregation was formed only a year later, in January 1897. The Grand Junction Colorado Temple will be the third for the state. Temples in operation in Colorado are the Denver Colorado Temple and the Fort Collins Colorado Temple.

Farmington, New Mexico

New Mexico, a state in the southwestern United States, is home to approximately 70,000 members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in some 138 congregations. The first roots of the Church were established in New Mexico in the 1860s. Many Church settlements in New Mexico absorbed refugees from the Latter-day Saint colonies in Mexico during the Mexican Revolution in 1912. The Farmington New Mexico Temple will be the state’s second temple. The first temple, the Albuquerque New Mexico Temple, was dedicated March 5, 2000.

Burley, Idaho

The Burley Idaho Temple will be the seventh temple in Idaho. Idaho is home to over 460,000 members of the Church in around 1,200 congregations. Burley is in the southern part of the state. Early Church pioneers settled in Idaho in 1855. Several Church presidents are natives of Idaho, including Presidents Harold B. Lee, Ezra Taft Benson and Howard W. Hunter. Other temples in the state include the nearby Twin Fall Idaho Temple, Boise Idaho Temple, Idaho Falls Temple, Meridian Idaho Temple, Pocatello Idaho Temple (under construction) and Rexburg Idaho Temple.

Eugene, Oregon, United States

Oregon, a state in the western United States, is home to nearly 154,000 members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Latter-day Saint settlement largely began with the arrival of Latter-day Saint businessmen in 1887. They built a lumber mill on North Powder River and persuaded several hundred Latter-day Saint families to migrate to Oregon. Today, there are approximately 300 congregations across the state. The Eugene Oregon Temple will be the third in the state, with other temples in Portland and Medford.

Elko, Nevada

Nevada borders California in the Western United States and is home to more than 184,000 Latter-day Saints and roughly 350 congregations. The first mission of the Church in Nevada was established in 1855; 30 men were called to establish it at the Meadows in southern Nevada. Although Nevada was part of Utah Territory until it became a state in 1864, it was not until 1942 that The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints organized a stake (a group of congregations) based in Elko County. The Elko Nevada Temple will be the state’s third temple. Other temples in operation include the Reno Nevada Temple and the Las Vegas Nevada Temple.

Yorba Linda, California

Yorba Linda, California is a suburban city in the United States about 35 miles southeast of downtown Los Angeles, named after the Yorba family that owned a 63,000-acre ranch in the early 1800s. More than 750,000 members of the Church reside in California in nearly 1,230 congregations. Mormon pioneer setters first arrived in California in 1846 and the Mormon Battalion concluded their famous 2,080-mile march in San Diego in 1847. This will be the eighth temple in the Golden State with seven operating temples or temples under construction. Others include the Feather River California Temple (under construction); Fresno California Temple; Los Angeles California Temple; Newport Beach California Temple; Oakland California Temple; Redlands California Temple; Sacramento California Temple; and San Diego California Temple.

Smithfield, Utah, United States

The Smithfield Utah Temple will be the second temple in Cache County and the 25th in Utah. The Logan Utah Temple was the second pioneer-era temple to be dedicated (1884) in the history of the Church of Jesus Christ. As the Church’s world headquarters, Utah has 2.1 million Church members, which is roughly two-thirds of the state’s population of 3.3 million residents. There are 17 operating temples in the state, including the Bountiful, Brigham City, Cedar City, Draper, Logan, Jordan River, Manti, Monticello, Mount Timpanogos, Ogden, Oquirrh Mountain, Payson, Provo City Center, Provo, St. George, Salt Lake and Vernal Temples. The Salt Lake Temple and St. George Temple are currently under renovation. Temples announced or under construction in Utah include the Layton Utah Temple, Orem Utah Temple, Red Cliffs Utah Temple, Saratoga Springs Utah Temple, Syracuse Utah Temple, Taylorsville Utah Temple and Deseret Peak Utah Temple.