First Presidency announces some temple baptistries to open for small groups — including youth

The First Presidency announced Monday a new phase for reopening of temples of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints — allowing youth and other members with limited-use temple recommends to participate in proxy baptisms.

Phase 2-B allows for temple baptistries to open for small groups.

President Russell M. Nelson commented about the announcement in a social media post on Monday morning.

“We rejoice that youth, young adults, new members, and others who have not had the opportunity to participate in temple work for the past year will be able to do so again,” the post says.

“Our temples are the holiest places on earth. They not only unite us as families but connect us directly to our Father and His Son, Jesus Christ. I pray that each of us will soon have the opportunity to again fully participate in temple service.”

As the number of COVID-19 cases continue to decrease in some areas of the world, Church leaders continue a “a carefully coordinated, cautious and phased reopening” of the sacred buildings.

After carefully monitoring circumstances and learning from temples currently open in various phases, Church leaders announced the opportunity for opening temple baptistries in select temples.

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Kansas City Missouri Temple.
Kansas City Missouri Temple. Credit: Photo by Lori Garcia

The same careful safety protocols will be in place as for other phases, including health screenings, temperature checks, limited numbers of patrons and temple workers, and scheduled appointments. The same online scheduling process that members use for Phase 3 worship in temples will be in place for this phase. For safety purposes, members will only be able to schedule an appointment within their temple district. Those who come to the temple without an appointment may not be accommodated.

“We encourage small groups — including new members, families, Aaronic Priesthood quorums, Young Women classes and young adult groups — to schedule a time to be in the temple,” said Elder David A. Bednar of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles and chairman of the Church’s Temple and Family History Council. “We are thrilled at the ability to provide these sacred ordinances to our deceased ancestors again, and for members of the Church to again worship in the house of the Lord.”

The First Presidency also announced Monday that the following temples will begin operating in Phase 2-B as soon as March 29:

  • Asunción Paraguay Temple
  • Bern Switzerland Temple
  • Calgary Alberta Temple
  • Copenhagen Denmark Temple
  • Córdoba Argentina Temple
  • Edmonton Alberta Temple
  • Frankfurt Germany Temple
  • Guayaquil Ecuador Temple
  • Kansas City Missouri Temple
  • Manila Philippines Temple
  • Medford Oregon Temple
  • Portland Oregon Temple
  • Seattle Washington Temple
  • Twin Falls Idaho Temple

As these temple baptistries begin to open, Church leaders will apply what is learned and then open other temples in Phase 2-B as it is safe to do so, according to a Church press release. Announcements about further temples entering this phase will occur when possible.

Following is a summary of temple reopening phases, as designated by the First Presidency:

  • Phase 1: Open for restricted living sealings only. Temple workers will perform living sealings only for previously endowed members 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 will maintain closure of patron housing, clothing, and cafeteria operations.
  • Phase 2-B: All Phase 2 operations, with temple baptistries open for small groups and proxy baptisms. Temple workers will schedule time in the temple for small groups of those with limited-use temple recommends.
  • 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 will open patron housing, clothing, and cafeteria operations as needed.
  • Phase 4: Open for full operations. The Church will resume regular temple operations.
The stained-glass art treatment and "Holiness to the Lord / House of the Lord" inscription above the entrance to the Frankfurt Germany Temple at dusk on Oct. 18, 2019.
The stained-glass art treatment and “Holiness to the Lord / House of the Lord” inscription above the entrance to the Frankfurt Germany Temple at dusk on Oct. 18, 2019. Credit: Scott Taylor

Participation in baptistry ordinances may be limited compared to pre-COVID-19. Church leaders encouraged members to be considerate of others and to be patient as they try to schedule ordinance times in the baptistry.

“We look forward to this phase and every phase of temple reopening with great anticipation,” said Elder Bednar. “We also want to be sure that we continue to open temples in a careful, responsible way. For this reason, temple openings in some areas may continue to lag behind the opening of public or community facilities.”

As the COVID-19 pandemic began to accelerate across the globe, Church leaders announced on March 25, 2020, that all temples would close immediately. In a later Church News articlePresident NelsonPresident Dallin H. Oaks and President Henry B. Eyring said Church leaders saw what needed to be done and responded with “unprecedented action.” Six weeks after closing temples, the First Presidency announced a “phased reopening of temples” on May 7, 2020.

In a February interview this year, Elder Bednar spoke about the temple closures and phased reopenings. “We are in a season when we have experienced something that has never occurred before in this dispensation — all the temples had to be closed,” he said.  “But it was also an opportunity to learn remarkable lessons.”