For only the second time in the eight months since The Church of Jesus Christ began reopening its temples that had halted operations because of the global COVID-19 pandemic, no temples are entering new phases in the Church’s careful and cautious four-phased process.
The latest changes involve four temples and the pausing of operations after reopenings because of local COVID-19 conditions and restrictions.
The Halifax Nova Scotia Temple, which previously had paused its operations, is returning to Phase 2 operations.
Meanwhile, three others temples — the Bogotá Colombia, Mexico City Mexico and Montreal Canada temples — are pausing because of local COVID-19 conditions. The Montreal temples had been operating in Phase 2 and the Mexico City Temple in Phase 1. The Bogotá temple was to start Phase 2 operations on Jan. 11, the Church announced last week.
Phase 1 allows for limited living husband-and-wife sealings by appointment, while Phase 2 allows for those sealing as well as all other living ordinances, also by appointment. Phase 3 includes everything from the first two phases and the performance of temple ordinances for deceased individuals, with Phase 3 temple adjustments introduced by Church leaders on Dec. 7, 2020.
Of the 17 temples which currently have “paused” operations because of local COVID-19 conditions and restrictions, 13 had reached Phase 2 operations and the other four Phase 1.
With the latest changes announced Monday, Jan. 11, the Church will have — as of Jan. 18 — the following breakdown of its 168 dedicated temples:
- 4 operating in Phase 3
- 121 operating in Phase 2
- 17 operating in Phase 1
- 17 “paused”
- 1 still closed
- 8 closed for major renovations
On Dec. 7, 2020, the First Presidency identified those four temples as the first to advance to Phase 3 in the Church’s four-phase reopening plan.
Patrons in the districts of temples in Phase 3 can begin scheduling ordinance reservations online via the temple’s information page at temples.ChurchofJesusChrist.org a week before the reopening date.
The Church’s sole temple still closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic is the Kyiv Ukraine Temple.
Closures and reopenings
On Feb. 21 and 22, 2020, four temples in the Church’s Asia and Asia North areas closed because of the developing pandemic. By the end of that month, 24 temples had closed.
By March 24, 2020, a month after the first closures, the number of pandemic-closed temples had reached 111. A day later, the First Presidency announced the closure of all operating temples worldwide.
Temples remained closed for six weeks, until the First Presidency announced “a carefully coordinated, cautious and phased reopening of temples” on May 7, 2020. Less than a week later, on May 11, a group of 17 temples became the first to open in Phase 1, offering limited living husband-and-wife sealings by appointment.
In a July 20, 2020 letter, the First Presidency announced both changes to the temple endowment ceremony and the start of reopened temples to move to Phase 2. Seven days later, on July 27, the first 12 temples being upgraded to Phase 2 began performing once again all living temple ordinances, by appointment.
On Dec. 7, 2020, the First Presidency identified four temples as the first to advance to Phase 3 of the Church’s four-phase reopening plan as early as Dec. 21, 2020. On that Dec. 21 date, the Taipei Taiwan Temple was the first to have proxy ordinances joining living ordinances as being performed on a limited basis.
Four phases of reopening
The four phases of the Church’s reopening plan are:
- Phase 1: Open for restricted living sealings only. Temple workers will perform living sealings only for previously endowed members, with the ordinances done under strict guidelines and safety precautions.
- Phase 2: Open for all living ordinances only. Temple workers will perform all temple ordinances for living individuals, but temples will maintain closure of patron housing, clothing, and cafeteria operations.
- Phase 3: Open for all ordinances with restrictions. Temple workers will continue providing ordinances for living individuals and provide proxy ordinances for ancestors in a restricted manner. The Church may open patron housing, clothing, and cafeteria operations as needed.
- Phase 4: Open for full operations. The Church will resume regular temple operations.