Video: President Nelson talks about the ‘painful’ decision to close temples amid COVID-19

Four months after closing all 168 temples worldwide in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints resumed limited operations in 127 temples.

President Russell M. Nelson and his counselors in the First Presidency — President Dallin H. Oaks and President Henry B. Eyring — said the move was part of “a carefully coordinated, cautious and phased reopening of temples” impacted by the pandemic.

President Nelson spoke about the painful decision to close the temples in March in a new Church News video released July 27.

President Russell M. Nelson of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and his wife Sister Wendy Nelson speak about the decision to close temples amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
President Russell M. Nelson of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and his wife Sister Wendy Nelson speak about the decision to close temples amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Credit: Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News

He said the power of God is manifest in temple ordinances.

Temple updates: 12 temples now open to perform all living ordinances, 2 more announced for Phase 1 reopening

“The purpose of the Church is to bring the blessings of God to His children on both sides of the veil,” he said. “So, only in our temples do we receive the highest blessings that God has in store for His faithful children. So, how difficult was it to make the decision to close the temples? That was painful; it was wracked with worry.

“I found myself asking, ‘What would I say to the Prophet Joseph Smith? What would I say to Brigham Young, Wilford Woodruff and the other presidents, on up to President Thomas S. Monson? I’m going to meet them soon.’ To close the temples would deny all for which all those Brethren gave everything, but we really had no other alternative.”

President Russell M. Nelson, of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and his wife Sister Wendy Nelson are interviewed in Salt Lake City on Friday May 29, 2020.
President Russell M. Nelson, of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and his wife Sister Wendy Nelson are interviewed in Salt Lake City on Friday May 29, 2020. Credit: Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News

Temple closures are temporary, emphasized President Nelson.

“Temples will be opened again, cautiously and carefully, in stages. Even though temples have been closed, family history research and work has taken a huge leap forward; more names are being added. And remarkably, through all of this, the voluntary fast offerings of our members have increased.

“I’ve learned that even through clouds of sorrow, there can be silver linings found.”