Look at the Church’s rapid temple growth — as measured against President Nelson’s life and service

As proof of prolific temple building in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saint, one can use the life and service of President Russell M. Nelson as a measuring stick for rapid temple growth.

Elder David A. Bednar of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles did just that in his recent April 2020 general conference address.

“As members of the Lord’s restored Church, we stand all amazed at the ever-accelerating pace of His work in the latter days,” Elder Bednar said. “And more temples are coming.”

The latter statement came true later that same April 5 day. Speaking in the Sunday morning session, Elder Bednar acknowledged the Church’s 168 operating temples, adding that “49 additional temples are under construction or have been announced.”

In his concluding remarks later Sunday afternoon, President Nelson announced eight new temple locations, bringing the total of temples under construction or announced to 57.

Elder Bednar also noted that the endowment ceremony is currently presented in 88 languages, with that number likely to double over the next 15 years. And he added that the Church is expecting to break ground for and start construction on 18 new temples in 2020 — by contrast, the Church needed 150 years from its organization in 1830 to dedicate its 18th operating temple.

“Consider the hastening of temple work that has occurred just during the lifetime of President Russell M. Nelson,” Elder Bednar continued. “When President Nelson was born on Sept. 9, 1924, the Church had six operating temples.

“When he was ordained an apostle on April 7, 1984, 60 years later, 26 temples were operating, an increase of 20 temples in 60 years.

“When President Nelson was sustained as president of the Church, 159 temples were operating, an increase of 133 temples in the 34 years during which he served as a member of the Quorum of the Twelve.

“Since becoming the President of the Church on Jan. 14, 2018, President Nelson has announced 35 new temples.

Map of temples in President Nelson’s lifetime. Credit: Graphic by Mary Archbold, Deseret News

“Ninety-six percent of the existing temples have been dedicated during President Nelson’s lifetime; 84 percent have been dedicated since he was ordained an apostle.”

The announcement of each new temple is a source of great joy, Elder Bednar said. However, one’s primary focus should not be on the location or the beauty of the building, but rather “on the covenants and ordinances that can change our hearts and deepen our devotion to the Savior.”

Following are maps showing temple locations worldwide mapped according to the timeline of President Nelson’s life and service — the six temples operating at his birth, the 20 temples dedicated in the next six decades before his ordination as an apostle, and the 133 temples added during the 34 years he was a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles.

The maps also show by location and name the 14 temples currently under construction or in planning that were announced prior to his becoming Church president on Jan. 14, 2018, the nine temples dedicated during his tenure, and the 43 temples that President Nelson has announced in his first 27 months as the Church’s leader.

Temples in the United States during the life and service of President Nelson. Key applies to entire map, not just this section.
Temples in the United States during the life and service of President Nelson. Key applies to entire map, not just this section. Credit: Graphic by Mary Archbold, Deseret News
Utah temples during the life and service of President Nelson. Key applies to entire map, not just this section.
Utah temples during the life and service of President Nelson. Key applies to entire map, not just this section. Credit: Graphic by Mary Archbold, Deseret News
Temples in South America during the life and service of President Nelson. Key applies to entire map, not just this section.
Temples in South America during the life and service of President Nelson. Key applies to entire map, not just this section. Credit: Graphic by Mary Archbold, Deseret News
Temples in Africa during the life and service of President Nelson. Key applies to entire map, not just this section.
Temples in Africa during the life and service of President Nelson. Key applies to entire map, not just this section. Credit: Graphic by Mary Archbold, Deseret News
Temples in Europe during the life and service of President Nelson. Key applies to entire map, not just this section.
Temples in Europe during the life and service of President Nelson. Key applies to entire map, not just this section. Credit: Graphic by Mary Archbold, Deseret News
Temples in the Pacific during the life and service of President Nelson. Key applies to entire map, not just this section.
Temples in the Pacific during the life and service of President Nelson. Key applies to entire map, not just this section. Credit: Graphic by Mary Archbold, Deseret News
Temples in Asia during the life and service of President Nelson. Key applies to entire map, not just this section.
Temples in Asia during the life and service of President Nelson. Key applies to entire map, not just this section. Credit: Graphic by Mary Archbold, Deseret News