After last year’s pandemic-caused temple closures, all operating temples of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints will reopen in some phase of operation in the next two weeks.
On July 5, the Kyiv Ukraine Temple will become the last temple to reopen, offering living husband-and-wife sealings in what has been known as Phase 1 operations.
In late March 2020, the First Presidency closed all 168 of its operating temples worldwide because of the COVID-19 pandemic. In early May 2020, the Church began reopening temples and resuming limited operations in a careful and cautious four-phase plan.
The Kyiv temple reopening means that nearly 14 months after the first temples reopened in limited operations, all dedicated temples not currently being renovated will be providing at least living ordinances.
The Phase 1 announcement for the Kyiv Ukraine Temple was one part of weekly temple reopening updates published Tuesday, June 22, by the Church. In all, 57 temples across 24 states and 14 countries were identified in the latest weekly announcement as moving to one of three new levels of operations.
Latest temple updates: 57 temples across 24 states and 14 countries advancing to 1 of 3 new levels of operation
As presently projected through the end of July, at least 148 of the Church’s 168 dedicated temples worldwide — or 87.5% — will be designated for proxy temple work. That includes 75.6% offering all living and proxy ordinances in Phase 3, with the other 11.9% in Phase 2-B providing proxy baptisms along with all living ordinances.
Phase 1 allows for limited living husband-and-wife sealings by appointment, while Phase 2 allows for those sealings as well as all other living ordinances, also by appointment. Phase 2-B offers all living ordinances and proxy baptisms, by appointment. Phase 3 includes everything from the first two phases and the performance of temple ordinances for deceased individuals.
Temples and temple worship have been an integral focus of President Russell M. Nelson in his three-and-a-half year tenure as President of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Announcing 70 new temples, he has focused on temple ordinances and the covenant path.
In a Church News video, the Prophet spoke about the painful decision to close the temples.
“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.”
Temple closures are temporary, emphasized President Nelson more than one year ago in the interview.
“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.”
Tuesday’s weekly temple updates included the following:
- 16 temples in the United States — six in California, five in Utah, four in Idaho and one in Montana — are the latest to have resumed offering all proxy ordinances in Phase 3, as part of the previously announced 60 temples to begin offering all proxy ordinances in June or July. So far, 41 temples have moved to that level of operations.
- Similar to late May’s announcement of the 60 moving to Phase 3, an additional 36 temples — in 20 states and nine countries — were identified this week to move to the same level of operations in July at yet-undisclosed dates.
- And four temples in as many nations — Canada, France, Mexico and the Netherlands — will begin performing proxy baptisms in Phase 2-B early next month.
Patrons in the districts of temples moving to Phases 3 or 2-B are notified of the change and the starting date, and they can begin scheduling ordinance reservations online via the temple’s information page at temples.ChurchofJesusChrist.org a week before the reopening date.
An area-by-area listing of the current status of each of the Church’s 168 dedicated temples is available online with the Church News’ temple reopening status tracker at TheChurchNews.com. Clicking on a temple name in the temple status tracker takes the user to that temple’s information page at temples.ChurchofJesusChrist.org where proxy ordinance work can be scheduled online.
With the latest changes, the Church will have — as of June 28 — the following breakdown of its 168 dedicated:
- 69 operating in Phase 3
- 62 operating in Phase 2-B
- 18 operating in Phase 2
- 2 operating in Phase 1
- 8 “paused” — three in Phase 3, two in Phase 2-B, three in Phase 2
- 1 still closed
- 8 closed for major renovations — two temple districts designated as Phase 3 and four as Phase 2-B
Temples that are “paused” have stopped operations temporarily because of local COVID-19 conditions and precautions.
Six of the eight temples closed for renovations have been given phase designations, allowing members who reside in those temple districts to use the online scheduling system for appointments at the nearest operating temples.
When including the projected operational upgrades announced so far through July 2021, the breakdown looks like this if including the currently paused temples and the temple districts given phase status:
- 127 Phase 3 temples and temple districts
- 20 Phase 2-B temples
- 16 Phase 2 temples
- 3 Phase 1 temples
- 2 closed-for-renovation temples without phase designation for their districts
The latest and most detailed information on the weekly temple reopening and phase-upgrade announcements and a brief summary of reopening highlights over the past 14 months are available online at TheChurchNews.com.