Ground broken for Auckland New Zealand, Alabang Philippines temples

Church and community leaders recently broke ground on the Auckland New Zealand Temple and Alabang Philippines Temple of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Auckland New Zealand Temple groundbreaking

Elder Ian S. Ardern, Pacific Area president, presided over the groundbreaking service of the Auckland New Zealand Temple on Saturday, June 13. His wife, Sister Paula Ardern, and his counselors and their wives — Elder K. Brett Nattress and Sister Shawna Nattress; Elder Kazuhiko Yamashita and Sister Tazuko Yamashita — also attended and participated.

“This is an historic day as we dedicate the ground for the Auckland New Zealand Temple,” said Elder Ardern in the Church’s Newsroom release. “The temple will be a beautiful, bright light in the city of Auckland, inviting all to come unto Christ.”

The Pacific Area presidency and other Church and community leaders break ground on the Auckland New Zealand Temple on June 13, 2020.
The Pacific Area presidency and other Church and community leaders break ground on the Auckland New Zealand Temple on June 13, 2020. Credit: Intellectual Reserve, Inc.

Inviting Latter-day Saints in the area to spiritually prepare for the opening of the temple in approximately three years, he said: “We fervently and desperately encourage all to become and remain worthy to enter the temple.”

Government leaders including Hon Aupito William Sio, Minister for Pacific Peoples, and Mayor Phil Goff of Auckland attended the service.

“It’s really good to come together,” said Goff, adding his acknowledgement of the diversity of faiths and cultures in Auckland. “We are free to worship as we choose. Together, we must defeat prejudice, intolerance and bigotry. We stand together against these things.”

Goff quoted Doctrine and Covenants 88:119: “Establish a house, even a house of prayer, a house of fasting, a house of faith, a house of learning, a house of glory, a house of order, a house of God.” 

President Russell M. Nelson announced the Auckland New Zealand Temple during the October 2018 general conference. He later announced location of the temple (Redoubt Road in Manukau City) while visiting Auckland during his Pacific Ministry in May 2019.

The groundbreaking proceedings will be available to view online at Pacific.ChurchofJesusChrist.org on Sunday, June 14, at 6 p.m. NZST.

Alabang Philippines Temple groundbreaking

A small-scale groundbreaking for the Alabang Philippines Temple was held on Thursday, June 4, following general community quarantine rules, according to the Church’s Newsroom. Construction will proceed when metro Manila falls under a modified general community classification.

Elder Evan A. Schmutz, Philippines Area president, speaks during the groundbreaking of the Alabang Philippines Temple on June 4, 2020.
Elder Evan A. Schmutz, Philippines Area president, speaks during the groundbreaking of the Alabang Philippines Temple on June 4, 2020. Credit: Intellectual Reserve, Inc.

“This is a beautiful place that the Lord has chosen,” said Elder Evan A. Schmutz, Philippines Area president, who presided over the service. “Through revelation and guidance, it has been found and is now being dedicated to the building of a temple.”

Elder Taniela Wakolo, first counselor in the Philippines Area presidency, highlighted the timeline of the previous three Philippines temple groundbreakings. The Manila temple groundbreaking was held in 1982, and 25 years later, the Cebu temple groundbreaking occurred. Twelve years later, in 2019, Church leaders broke ground on the Urdaneta temple.

Now, 18 months later, the Alabang temple ground is broken. “The decrease in the number of years in each of the four temple groundbreaking dates and the increase in the number of temples announced are clear evidence that the Lord is hastening His work in the Philippines,” Elder Wakolo said.

The Philippines Area presidency, right, and Church members pose for a photo with the rendering of the Alabang Philippines Temple during the groundbreaking service on June 4, 2020.
The Philippines Area presidency, right, and Church members pose for a photo with the rendering of the Alabang Philippines Temple during the groundbreaking service on June 4, 2020. Credit: Intellectual Reserve, Inc.

Located in Greater Manila, the Alabang Philippines Temple was announced in the April 2017 general conference.

A video recording of the proceedings will be available next week.