In the 80 weeks since The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints began to reopen its temples after closures of the COVID-19 pandemic, 164 of its 170 dedicated temples have been designated for offering all living and proxy temple ordinances.
After the late March 2020 closures, the Church began to reopen its temples seven weeks later, advancing their operations in a careful and cautious four-phase plan that has continued since.
The updates published Tuesday, Nov. 23, are the following changes:
- The Buenos Aires Argentina Temple, moving to Phase 3 from Phase 2-B as early as Nov. 30.
- The Hong Kong China and Tokyo Japan temples, being given Phase 3 status, which allows members living in the districts of those two temples — both closed while undergoing lengthy renovations — to participate in ordinances and instruction in other nearby temples.
Counting all the current and projected temples and districts operating in Phase 3, including several that have temporarily paused operations because of local COVID-19 conditions, 164 of the Church’s 170 temples — or 96.5% — are designated now to be offering all living and proxy ordinances.
Add in the additional temples operating or projected to be operating in Phase 2-B and offering proxy baptisms and confirmations, and that makes 168 of the Church’s 170 temples — or 98.8% — offering at least some proxy ordinances in addition to all living ordinances.
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 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 that are “paused” have stopped operations temporarily because of local COVID-19 conditions and precautions. Other temples may be temporarily closed for several weeks for routine maintenance and cleaning.
To date, just two temples are in Phases 1 or 2:
- Montevideo Uruguay Temple, in Phase 2
- San José Costa Rica Temple, in Phase 1
Four other temples are in Phase 2-B:
- Barranquilla Colombia Temple
- Cebu City Philippines Temple, which had been operating in Phase 3 earlier in the year but was paused
- Medford Oregon Temple, which had been projected to move to Phase 3 in August but still remains in Phase 2-B
- Seoul Korea Temple
With the latest changes, the Church will have — as of Nov. 30 — the following breakdown of its 170 dedicated temples (not including projected or unscheduled changes later):
- 153 operating in Phase 3
- 4 operating in Phase 2-B
- 1 operating in Phase 2
- 1 operating in Phase 1
- 2 “paused” in Phase 3
- 9 closed for major renovations, with all 9 districts designated as Phase 3
Patrons in the districts of temples moving to Phases 3 or 2-B will be notified of the changes and the starting dates, and they can begin scheduling ordinance reservations online via the temple’s information page at temples.ChurchofJesusChrist.org a week before the reopening date.
While Phase 3 temples are offering all living and proxy ordinances, they are not operating at full capacity, with temples requiring pre-scheduled online reservations because of pandemic-related precautions on size of gatherings.
An area-by-area listing of the current status of each of the Church’s 170 dedicated temples is available on the Church News’ temple reopening status tracker. 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.
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.
On March 15, 2021, the First Presidency announced the first 13 temples to move to Phase 2-B later that month. The new phase designation expands the Phase 2 allowance for all living ordinances with proxy baptisms, with the temple baptistry open for small groups — particularly for members with limited-use recommends.
As of July 2021, all of the Church’s operating temples have reopened after the pandemic closures, although attendance remains limited because of pandemic precautions. On July 5, the Kyiv Ukraine Temple was the final temple to reopen.
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 2-B: Open for all living ordinances and proxy baptisms. The temple baptistry is open for small groups — particularly for members with limited-use 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 may open patron housing, clothing and cafeteria operations as needed.
- Phase 4: Open for full operations. The Church will resume regular temple operations.