Less than 15 hours after announcing the groundbreaking dates for three temples in Asia and Africa, the First Presidency of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints announced groundbreaking dates for two additional South American temples — the Antofagasta Chile Temple and the Mendoza Argentina Temple.
As posted on Newsroom Friday morning, Oct. 2, both temple groundbreakings are planned for November 2020. The announcement also included an exterior rendering and site location for the Antofagasta temple.
Similar to other groundbreakings announced during the COVID-19 pandemic, the invitation-only events are without a specific date and will adhere to local government’s social-distancing guidelines, according to the Newsroom report.
Detailed design plans for both temples are being developed, with more information to be made public later.
Antofagasta Chile Temple
Elder Juan Pablo Villar, a counselor in the South America South Area presidency, will preside at the November groundbreaking of the Antofagasta Chile Temple.
Accompanying the groundbreaking announcement were release of the exterior rendering of the temple and its site location.
Planned to be approximately 23,000 square feet, the temple will be built on a 2.2-acre site near Avenida de Las Palmeras 44 in Antofagasta.
President Russell M. Nelson announced the Antofagasta Chile Temple during the April 2019 general conference. It will be the country’s third, with dedicated and operating temples in Santiago and Concepción.
Latter-day Saints currently have to travel 1,335 kilometers (830 miles) from Antofagasta to the Santiago Chile Temple — more than 15 hours by car.
Chile is home to 602,373 members in 74 stakes and 568 congregations, with 10 missions located in the country.
Mendoza Argentina Temple
In a ceremony also scheduled for November, Elder Allen D. Haynie, a counselor in the South America South presidency, will preside at the groundbreaking of the Mendoza Argentina Temple.
On June 23, the Church released the exterior rendering and site location for the Mendoza Argentina Temple.
Plans call for a temple of approximately 21,000 square feet with a single spire. An adjacent meetinghouse and temple patron housing will also be built on the temple site, located along Avenida Champagnat between Calle Dr. Pose and Calle Dr. Coni E., on the western edge of Mendoza’s northern suburb of Las Heras.
President Nelson announced a temple for Mendoza on Oct. 7, 2018, one of 12 temples announced during the October 2018 general conference. The country has two dedicated and operating temples — in Buenos Aires and Córdoba — and the Mendoza temple is expected to be the country’s fourth, with a fifth in Bahia Blanca announced earlier this year.
The Salta Argentina Temple was announced six months before its Mendoza counterpart. Expected to be Argentina’s third temple, it is scheduled for a November groundbreaking after COVID-19 concerns postponed previously scheduled groundbreaking dates in August and early October.
Latter-day Saints in Argentina total 470,843 in 78 stakes and 734 congregations, with 13 missions in the country. Church members in Mendoza are part of the Córdoba Argentina Temple district, with that temple more than 400 miles away to the northeast. The Santiago Chile Temple is only some 120 miles to the west, but the route by car or bus is double the distance and involves time-consuming travel over the rugged Andes Mountains.