President Thomas S. Monson’s announcement Sunday to build five temples in four distinct regions of the world reflects the Church’s vast worldwide growth and development.
Temples will be built in Latter-day Saint strongholds such as Utah, Idaho, Brazil and the Philippines. Meanwhile, a new temple is planned for Africa — a continent still writing its maiden chapters of Church history.
The five announced temples — Brasilia, Brazil; greater Manila area, Philippines; Nairobi, Kenya; Pocatello, Idaho; and Saratoga Springs, Utah — bring the total number of operating temples (155) and temples announced or under construction (27) to 182 worldwide.
President Monson continues to play a pivotal, presiding role in the building of modern-day temples. Fifty-eight temples have been dedicated or announced since he became president of the Church in 2008.
Brazil has long been associated with temples.
South America’s first temple — the Sao Paulo Brazil Temple — was dedicated in 1978. Since then, five more temples in Brazil are operating (in Campinas, Curitiba, Manaus, Porto Alegre and Recife) while three others are announced or under construction (in Fortaleza, Rio de Janeiro and Belem.)
Home to more than 1.3 million members, Brazil has experienced political and economic challenges in recent years. But after visiting Brazil last month, Elder D. Todd Christofferson of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles told the Church News he is hopeful for the country’s future.
“My strong impression is that despite all of the past and present difficulties, the Lord’s hand is over things in Brazil,” he said.
The greater Manila region is home to millions of people, including hundreds of thousands of Latter-day Saints. The future Philippines temple will be the second in the Manila area.
The Manila Philippines Temple — the country’s first — was dedicated in 1984. A second temple is in operation in the Philippines in Cebu City, with another temple in the planning stages for Urdaneta.
Home to nearly 750,000 members, the Philippines remains one of the true powers of the Church. Twenty-one missions are in operation in the Pacific island nation.
The Filipino people, said Elder David A. Bednar of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles last month, “are filled with a simple faith — an uncluttered, uncomplicated faith.”
Once dedicated, the Pocatello Idaho Temple will be the Gem State’s sixth temple. Idaho has three operating temples (Boise, Rexburg and Twin Falls) and a fourth (the venerable Idaho Falls Temple) is being renovated and scheduled to reopen in June.
Meanwhile, the Meridian Idaho Temple is scheduled to be dedicated on Nov. 19.
Home to approximately 450,000 members, Idaho has more than one in four residents who are Latter-day Saints. The state enjoys a rich Church history and is home to Brigham Young University-Idaho.
Saratoga Springs, Utah
Located in northwest Utah County, the city of Saratoga Springs has experienced dramatic growth over the past two decades. A large community of Latter-day Saints calls the region home.
Once dedicated, the Saratoga Springs Utah Temple will be the fifth temple in Utah County (Mount Timpanogos, Payson, Provo City Center and Provo) and the 18th temple in the Beehive State (including Bountiful, Brigham City, Draper, Logan, Jordan River, Manti, Monticello, Ogden, Oquirrh Mountain, St. George, Salt Lake, Vernal, and the soon-to-be dedicated temple in Cedar City.)
Utah has 2.1 million members.
President Monson’s announcement of a future temple in Kenya signals both a historic period of temple building in Africa — and an evolving Church maturity on the continent.
President Gordon B. Hinckley dedicated Africa’s first temple — the Johannesburg South Africa Temple — in 1985. Subsequent temples were opened in Accra, Ghana, and Aba, Nigeria. Meanwhile, future African temples are under construction or announced in Kinshasha, Democratic Republic of the Congo; Durban, South Africa; Abidjan, Ivory Coast and Harare, Zimbabwe.
While 13,000 Latter-day Saints call Kenya home, the future Nairobi temple is expected to serve more than 30,000 members living in nations across East Africa.
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