The First Presidency of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has announced groundbreaking dates for the Belo Horizonte Brazil Temple and the Port Moresby Papua New Guinea Temple and a rescheduled groundbreaking date for the Port Vila Vanuatu Temple, which was postponed after a pair of cyclones hit and damaged the Pacific island nation earlier this month.
The announcements was published Monday, March 27, on ChurchofJesusChrist.org. The First Presidency also announced the dedication and open house dates for the Bangkok Thailand Temple and released the rendering for the Cody Wyoming Temple.
Belo Horizonte Brazil Temple
The groundbreaking services for the Belo Horizonte Brazil Temple — one of the Church’s 18 total in South America’s largest nation — will be held Saturday, June 17, at the temple site. Elder Juan A. Uceda, a General Authority Seventy and second counselor in the Brazil Area presidency, will preside at the event.
Attendance will be by invitation only, with additional details to be released later.
The Belo Horizonte temple — a single-story edifice of approximately 27,000 square feet — will be constructed on an 11.8-acre site on Rua Professor Jose Vieira de Mendonça in Belo Horizonte. The site location and an exterior rendering were released Sept. 23, 2021.
Nearly 1.5 million Latter-day Saints reside in Brazil, comprising more than 2,100 congregations. Missionary work first began in Brazil in 1928; 50 years later, the country’s first temple — the São Paulo Brazil Temple — was dedicated.
Brazil is home to nine dedicated and operating temples, which are located in Belém, Campinas, Curitiba, Fortaleza, Manaus, Porto Alegre, Recife, Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo. The Brasília Brazil Temple is completed and has been scheduled for its open house and dedication later this year.
The Belo Horizonte temple will join another in Salvador already under construction. Six more temples have been announced and are in planning and development stages — in Londrina, Maceió, Ribeirão Preto, Santos and São Paulo East and Vitória.
Port Moresby Papua New Guinea Temple
Groundbreaking services for the Port Moresby Papua New Guinea Temple will be held Saturday, April 22. Elder Peter F. Meurs, a General Authority Seventy and first counselor in the Church’s Pacific Area, will preside at the event, with on-site attendance by invitation only.
President Russell M. Nelson announced a temple for Port Moresby in October 2019 general conference, one of eight new temple locations identified then. It will be the first temple for Papua New Guinea, home to more than 35,000 Latter-day Saints in two stakes and nearly 90 congregations.
The closest dedicated operating temple for Church members in Papua New Guinea is the Brisbane Australia Temple, some 1,300 miles away. Latter-day Saints also travel to other temples in the South Pacific, such as the Nuku’alofa Tonga Temple, to perform sacred temple ordinances for themselves and for their deceased ancestors.
The Church released an exterior rendering, general building dimensions and site location for the temple in mid-September 2020.
Plans call for a single-story temple of 9,550 square feet on the site at Muniogo Crescent, Badili, Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea. The site will also host missionary and temple patron housing, a temple president’s residence and a distribution center, while an existing meetinghouse on site will be removed.
Port Vila Vanuatu Temple
Elder K. Brett Nattress, a General Authority Seventy and president of the Pacific Area, will preside at the Saturday, April 8, invitation-only event in Port Vila, the capital city of the archipelago west of Fiji consisting of 13 principal islands and some 70 smaller ones.
The previously scheduled March 4 groundbreaking services for the Port Vila Vanuatu Temple had been postponed earlier this month due to Cyclones Judy and Kevin and the resulting extensive damages and a state of emergency. News reports said the damages from Judy, a Category 4 cyclone that struck first, affected an estimated 160,000 people, with no deaths initially reported.
On May 19, 2021, the Church announced the temple’s site location and exterior rendering. A single-story, 10,000-square-foot building with a center spire will be built on the 1.62-acre site at Port Vila’s Blacksands Crossroads, where a Church meetinghouse is located. Plans call for the construction of an ancillary building, which will include an arrival center, patron housing and distribution center.
Vanuatu — the archipelago west of Fiji consisting of 13 principal islands and some 70 smaller ones — is home to more than 11,000 Latter-day Saints, one stake, three districts and 37 congregations. With a national population of a little more than 300,000, one out of every 28 island residents is a member of the Church of Jesus Christ.
The island nation is currently part of the Suva Fiji Temple district. But that temple is more than 660 miles away (more than 1,070 kilometers), due east across the Pacific Ocean.