The First Presidency has announced a Nov. 12 dedication date for the Okinawa Japan Temple, making it the ninth temple of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints scheduled to be dedicated between now and the end of 2023.
Elder Gary E. Stevenson of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles will dedicate the temple — the Church’s fourth in Japan — in two sessions on that day, at 10 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. The dedicatory sessions will be broadcast to all congregations in the new Okinawa temple district.
In addition to the dedication, dates were released for the public open house, with general tours running from Saturday, Sept. 23, through Saturday, Oct. 7, excluding Sundays. A media day will be conducted on Thursday, Sept. 21, with Friday, Sept. 22, set aside for tours by invited guests.
The dates were published Monday, April 17, on ChurchofJesusChrist.org.
The Okinawa Japan Temple is located on a half-acre site at 7-11, Matsumoto, Okinawa Shi, in Okinawa-ken, Japan, with the Okinawa Islands about 600 miles southwest of the Fukuoka Japan Temple. The other two are the Sapporo Japan Temple and the Tokyo Japan Temple.
The latter — dedicated in 1980 not only as the Church’s first house of the Lord in Japan but its first in all of Asia — was rededicated on July 5, 2022, by President Henry B. Eyring, second counselor in the First Presidency, following a nearly five-year renovation of the temple. Elder Stevenson, who joined President Eyring for the rededication, served as a young full-time missionary in the Japan Fukuoka Mission and later as president of the Japan Nagoya Mission as counselor and president of the Church’s Tokyo-based Asia North Area.
Temple announced in 2019 for Okinawa
Announced in the April 2019 general conference by President Russell M. Nelson, the Okinawa Japan Temple is a two-story, 10,000-square-foot temple. A temple-patron waiting area was part of the temple-construction projection; it is located next to an adjacent existing meetinghouse that was completed in 2013.
Construction began following the Dec. 5, 2020, groundbreaking ceremony, with Elder Takashi Wada, a General Authority Seventy and then Asia North Area president, presiding and offering the dedicatory prayer on the site and construction process.
In the dedicatory prayer, Elder Wada asked that the Lord watch over the people on the island and that all may “recognize the eternal significance of this sacred project.”
“We pray that we, and all those who pass near this site, will feel thy presence,” he prayed. “May the inspiring vista bless the entire community, including those not of our faith, and become a cherished landmark for all who live or visit here.”
More than 130,000 Latter-day Saints comprising 25 stakes and over 260 congregations reside in Japan, with the Church’s first missionaries arriving to the East Asian nation in 1901.
10 temple dedications, rededications through 2023
Over the final eight months of 2023, the Church has scheduled to date nine dedications of new temples and one rededication of a recently renovated temple. They are:
- Richmond Virginia Temple, to be dedicated May 7 by President Dallin H. Oaks, first counselor in the First Presidency
- Columbus Ohio Temple, to be rededicated June 4 by President M. Russell Ballard, Acting President of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles
- Helena Montana Temple, to be dedicated June 18 by Elder Stevenson
- Saratoga Springs Utah Temple, to be dedicated Aug. 13 by President Eyring
- Brasília Brazil Temple, to be dedicated Sept. 17 by Elder Neil L. Andersen of the Twelve
- Bentonville Arkansas Temple, to be dedicated Sept. 17 by Elder David A. Bednar of the Twelve
- Moses Lake Washington Temple, to be dedicated Sept. 17, by Elder Quentin L. Cook of the Twelve
- Feather River California Temple, to be dedicated Oct. 8, by Elder Ulisses Soares of the Twelve
- Bangkok Thailand Temple, to be dedicated Oct. 22, by Elder Ronald A. Rasband of the Twelve
- Okinawa Japan Temple, to be dedicated Nov. 12, by Elder Stevenson
Earlier this year, the San Juan Puerto Rico Temple was dedicated as the Church’s 176th house of the Lord. Based on the above schedule, the Okinawa temple will be the Church’s 185th dedicated temple. The Church has announced plans for a total of 315 temples, including those dedicated and operating, under renovation, under construction or in planning and design.