The First Presidency of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has announced groundbreaking dates for three temples on two Eastern Hemisphere continents — the Bengaluru India, Davao Philippines and Harare Zimbabwe temples.
All three events are scheduled to occur before the end of the year. The Davao temple groundbreaking will be conducted in November, with the groundbreakings for the Bengaluru and Harare temples scheduled for December, according to Newsroom’s Oct. 1 report.
Besides the groundbreaking date for the Harare Zimbabwe Temple, the Church also released the exterior rendering and site location for the temple.
Similar to other groundbreakings announced during the COVID-19 pandemic, the groundbreaking ceremonies are invitation-only events without a specific date and will adhere to local government social-distancing guidelines.
The First Presidency’s letter announcing the three groundbreakings was dated Thursday, Oct. 1, and released publicly at 7 p.m. Utah time — but it was already Friday, Oct. 2, at all three locations.
Detailed design plans for all three temples are being developed, with more information to be made public later.
Bengaluru India Temple
Elder Robert K. William, an Area Seventy, will preside at the December groundbreaking of the Bengaluru temple. An exterior rendering of the temple, released Jan. 15, showcases the 38,670-square-foot temple with its central spire and surrounding four smaller spires.
Located at 2-B, Garudachar Palya in Bengaluru’s Whitefield neighborhood, the temple will be built on a 1.62-acre lot along with a new two-level meetinghouse, new Church offices, a distribution center and housing for temple patrons. Existing Church offices and the meetinghouse located at the site will be removed during construction.
President Russell M. Nelson announced the Bengaluru India Temple — the first in the Asian nation of 1.3 billion people — during the April 2018 general conference. He traveled to the city that same month as part of his first global ministry across four continents.
“The influence of the temple will be felt not only by the people here in this particular part of India,” President Nelson said, “but it will bless the people of the entire nation and neighboring nations.”
The country is home to 14,528 members in 46 congregations as well as two missions. India is currently part of the Hong Kong China Temple district, with that temple nearly 4,000 kilometers (almost 2,500 miles) away from Bengaluru.
Davao Philippines Temple
Elder Taniela B. Wakolo, Philippines Area President, will preside over the Davao temple groundbreaking in November. The Church released an exterior rendering and site location for the Davao Philippines Temple less than a month ago, on Sept. 8.
Plans call for a two-story, 18,450-square-foot temple on a 2.7-acre site at Ma-a Road and Anahaw Road, Bgy. Ma-a, Davao City 8000 in the Philippines, as announced Sept. 8 on Newsroom.
An existing meetinghouse on site will be removed and replaced with patron and temple presidency housing and a new meetinghouse.
President Nelson announced the temple during the October 2018 general conference, the sixth temple for the Philippines. It came just a half-year after the announcement of the Cagayan de Oro Philippines Temple in the April 2018 general conference.
The country has two dedicated and operating temples — in Manila and Cebu City — and two others under construction in Alabang of the greater Manila area and Urdaneta. A seventh temple was later announced for Bacolod, which like the temple in Cagayan de Oro is without a site and exterior rendering.
Some 805,000 Latter-day Saints in 115 stakes and 1,239 congregations reside in the Philippines, where the Church has 23 missions.
Harare Zimbabwe Temple
Elder Edward Dube, first counselor in the Africa South Area presidency and a native of Zimbabwe, will preside at the December groundbreaking of the Harare temple.
Accompanying the groundbreaking announcement were an exterior rendering and a site location for the 17,250-square-foot edifice and the 6.7-acre site located at 65 Enterprise Road Highlands in Harare.
President Thomas S. Monson announced the Harare Zimbabwe Temple in April 2016 general conference — it is currently the longest-waiting temple to have a groundbreaking date set. President Nelson visited the city and a prospective temple site during his world ministry in April 2018.
“You deserve a temple here in Harare because that’s where we get the highest of all the blessings that God can give to His faithful children,” President Nelson said. “I want to be here to see that happen.”
Latter-day Saints in Zimbabwe are looking forward to having a temple in close proximity, since they now travel some 14 hours by car to the Johannesburg South Africa Temple.
The temple will be the first in Zimbabwe, with its 34,330 members in 87 congregations and two missions. There are five dedicated and operating temples in Africa, with the Harare to become the third under-construction temple on the continent. Five more have been announced and are in the planning and development stages.