How the Saratoga Springs temple dedication begins a wave of temple growth in Utah over the next several years

That growth is representative of the Church’s rapid increase in temples worldwide.

SARATOGA SPRINGS, Utah — The Sunday, Aug. 13, dedication of the Saratoga Springs Utah Temple serves as the first splash of a wave of new-temple growth for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints across the state of Utah.

When it opens for temple worship and ordinance work later this week, the new house of the Lord in Saratoga Springs will be the 14th operating temple in Utah, with 14 more under construction, under renovation or awaiting dedication or rededication.

Barring anything unforeseen, all 14 should be completed and dedicated or rededicated within the next five years — most in less than half that time — giving Utah 28 operating temples.

That rapid growth of late of temples is not just limited to the state of Utah. Rather, it is representative both of what is going on worldwide as well as what has happened during President Russell M. Nelson’s tenure as President of the Church in less than six years.

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President Russell M. Nelson turns the first soil at the groundbreaking ceremony for the Ephraim Utah Temple in Ephraim on Saturday, Aug. 27, 2022. With President Nelson are his wife, Sister Wendy Nelson, third from left, Gov. Spencer Cox, left, and his wife Abby Cox, second from left. Second from right is Elder Walter F. González, General Authority Seventy, and his wife, Zulma González. | Spenser Heaps, Deseret News

When President Thomas S. Monson announced a temple for Saratoga Springs on April 2, 2017, the Church had 154 dedicated temples, 12 under construction and 11 announced.

Today, the Church currently has 315 total temples — dedicated, under construction or announced and in planning. The Saratoga Springs temple will be the 179th dedicated house of the Lord, with 59 more under construction or awaiting dedication or groundbreaking, and the remaining 77 in planning and design.

In his five and a half years as President of the Church since early 2018, President Nelson has announced 133 new temples, or 42 percent of the 315 total temples. Of those 133 temples announced, five are already dedicated, another five are scheduled for dedication, 44 are under construction and two are scheduled for pre-construction groundbreaking. And the Church’s 77 still in planning and design are all locations announced by President Nelson.

As of August 2023, the status of the 28 temples of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in the state of Utah — including dedicated, under-construction and under-renovation temples. | Church News graphic

Sunday’s dedication of the Saratoga Springs temple — to be done by President Henry B. Eyring, second counselor in the Church’s First Presidency — is the first in Utah in nearly six years, since the Cedar City Utah Temple was dedicated in December 2017. That’s the longest period of time between Utah temple dedications since the 11-year span between the 1998 dedication of the Monticello Utah Temple and the 2009 dedications for the south Salt Lake Valley pair of the Draper Utah and Oquirrh Mountain Utah temples.

Utah’s houses of the Lord hold historic places among Latter-day Saint temples — with the state understandably home to the highest number of temples because Salt Lake City has been the site of the Church’s headquarters since the mid-1800s and some 2.17 million members live in Utah.

The St. George Utah Temple is the Church’s oldest and longest-operating, the Salt Lake Temple is the iconic landmark, the Ogden Utah Temple was the first to undergo not just a renovation but an extensive reconstruction (with the same planned for the Provo Utah Temple beginning early next year), and South Jordan became the first city to be home to a pair of temples — the Jordan River Utah and Oquirrh Mountain temples.

Construction continues on the Layton Utah Temple of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints on Tuesday, March 21, 2023. | Spenser Heaps, Deseret News

Utah temples under construction

The 10 Utah temples currently under construction were all announced by President Nelson. They are:

Concrete is poured at the Salt Lake Temple in Salt Lake City on Tuesday, April 11, 2023, during an all-night pour. | Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News

Utah temples under renovation or announced for renovation

Three pioneer-era temples in Utah are under renovation, including the St. George temple that will be rededicated before the end of this year. A fourth temple — the first Provo temple — will undergo reconstruction after the first of next year.

The four are:

  • Salt Lake Templerenovation project announced April 19, 2019; temple closed Dec. 29, 2019; project completion date amended earlier this year for a projected 2026 finish.
  • St. George Utah Temple — renovation project announced May 22, 2019; temple closed Nov. 4, 2019; a Dec. 10, 2023, rededication has been scheduled, with a public open house running Sept. 15 through Nov. 11.
  • Manti Utah Temple — renovation announced May 1, 2021; temple closed Oct. 1, 2021; the renovations were projected to take at least two years to complete.
  • Provo Utah Temple — reconstruction announced Oct. 3, 2021; temple scheduled to close Feb. 24, 2024.
Rendering of the reconstructed Provo Utah Temple
Exterior rendering of the reconstructed Provo Utah Temple. | The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

A historical perspective for Utah temples

After the Church moved west from Ohio, Missouri and Illinois, the first temple dedicated was the St. George Temple in 1877, followed by the Logan (1884), Manti (1888) and Salt Lake Temple (1893), all before Utah statehood. Nearly 80 years would pass until two more temples were added in Utah — in 1972 in Ogden and Provo.

With the 10 temples currently under construction in Utah and all expected to be completed and dedicated within the next several years, the Church didn’t have 10 temples total in Utah until 1997, with the dedication of the tabernacle-turned-temple in Vernal. Getting from the first house of the Lord to the 10th in the Beehive State took 120 years.

Only 25 years will have passed from No. 11 to No. 18 — the Monticello temple in 1998 to the Saratoga Springs temple.

The St. George Utah Temple is shown with the spire of the new Red Cliffs Utah Temple seen rising over the roof of a house on the hill beyond.
The St. George Utah Temple of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is shown Friday, March 24, 2023 in St. George, Utah. Renovation work that began in 2020 is nearing completion. The spire of the new Red Cliffs Utah Temple can be seen rising over the roof of a house on the hill beyond. | Nick Adams, for the Deseret News
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