LIMA, Peru — With the Lima Peru Temple having celebrated its 38th anniversary earlier this week and the Lima Peru Los Olivos Temple to be dedicated Sunday, Jan. 14, Lima becomes the first city outside of Utah to have two houses of the Lord.
The first city to have two dedicated temples of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints was South Jordan, Utah — although neither temple’s name contains the city’s full name. The Jordan River Utah Temple was dedicated in 1981 and the Oquirrh Mountain Utah Temple in 2009, with a little more than 3 miles separating those two houses of the Lord in the Salt Lake Valley.
The next city with two temples is Provo, Utah — and there is no doubt of either’s location, given their names. The Provo Utah Temple was dedicated in 1972 and the Provo City Center Temple in 2016. And the 2.4 miles between the two is the Church’s shortest distance between temples.
The Provo Utah Temple will close next month, with a redesigned and reconstructed house of the Lord to be built on the site.
And now, add Lima at No. 3 on the list of cities with two dedicated temples, after Elder D. Todd Christofferson of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles dedicates the Lima Peru Los Olivos Temple in two sessions Sunday, Jan. 14, 2024.
The Los Olivos temple joins the first Lima temple, which was dedicated Jan. 10, 1986, by President Gordon B. Hinckley, then a counselor in the First Presidency. It was the Church’s third temple in South America, following the São Paulo Brazil Temple (dedicated in 1978) and the Santiago Chile Temple (1983).
Each of those older houses of the Lord in South America will have a companion temple in its city within coming years.
Lima temple dedications in 1986, 2024
In 1986, Carlos Virrueta was a young full-time missionary from Cusco, Peru, serving in Lima near the city’s La Molina district where the Lima Peru Temple is located. He and other missionaries received permission to attend one of the 11 dedicatory sessions held Jan. 10-12.
“It was so impressive for me,” he said Thursday, Jan. 10, 2024, outside the temple’s entrance, speaking on the anniversary date of the dedication. “I never thought we could have this kind of a session — yes, we had President Hinckley there, but the Spirit was so strong, many people were crying. It was an amazing experience.”
Virrueta today is the supervisor of support services at the nearby Peru Missionary Training Center, helping to arrange temple sessions for the elders and sisters to regularly attend and participate in temple ordinances — some for the first time.
When the first house of the Lord in Lima was dedicated, the temple district included the 119,000 Latter-day Saints living in Peru and 45,000 residing in Bolivia. Today, Peru is home to more than 630,000 Latter-day Saints comprising nearly 780 congregations and 112 stakes, including 48 just in Lima, which boasts a metro-area population of more than 11 million people according to most estimates.
And with the Los Olivos temple beginning sessions next week after the dedication, the nation that rises from its Pacific Ocean beaches to its towering Andes peaks will have four operating temples, including those in Trujillo (dedicated in 2014) and Arequipa (2019).
Five more are in planning and design — for Cusco, Chiclayo, Huancayo, Iquitos and Piura — with all five new temples announced within the past two years by President Russell M. Nelson. His predecessor, President Thomas S. Monson, announced the second Lima temple in the April 2016 general conference.
“The Church in Peru is growing so fast,” said Virrueta, mindful of those who will be attending a temple dedication like he did nearly 40 years ago. “The people who are going to be in the temple, they’re going to have the best experience of their lives.”
Karen Surichaqui recently sat with her husband, Michael, outside the Los Olivos temple three nights before its dedication, waiting to attend training sessions — one to help facilitate the dedicatory sessions and assist attendees, and another in preparation to serve as temple workers after its dedication. The Surichaquis are in the Huandoy Ward of the Lima Peru Naranjal Stake.
“It is a great blessing — the Lord has responded to our prayers, because the members wanted more opportunities to attend and to serve more in the temple,” said Karen Surichaqui of Lima’s two houses of the Lord.
“And it was difficult at times to get to the temple there,” she said, explaining that while their travel to the Lima temple could take an hour and a half or more through the city’s traffic-choked avenues and streets, they are now within 15 minutes of the new temple. “I feel that the Lord recognized the prayers of everyone here.”
Other cities with a 2nd temple coming
The next city with two dedicated temples will be St. George, Utah. The Church’s oldest operating house of the Lord is the St. George Utah Temple, which was dedicated in 1877 and rededicated just last month by President Jeffrey R. Holland, acting president of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, after extensive renovations. The Red Cliffs Utah Temple, located in southeastern St. George, will be dedicated on March 24 by President Henry B. Eyring, second counselor in the First Presidency.
A number of cities have one dedicated house of the Lord and a second either under construction or announced and in planning. Those temple pairs are:
- Guatemala City Guatemala (dedicated in 1984) and Miraflores Guatemala City Guatemala (under construction since its Dec. 3, 2022, groundbreaking)
- Rexburg Idaho (2008) and Teton River Idaho (site announced Sept. 19, 2022)
- São Paulo Brazil (1978) and São Paulo East (site announced Oct. 31, 2022)
- Mexico City Mexico (1983) and Mexico City Benemérito Mexico (site announced Oct. 31, 2022)
- Las Vegas Nevada (1989) and Lone Mountain Nevada (site announced Dec. 12, 2022)
- Santiago Chile (1983) and Santiago West Chile (site announced Dec. 19, 2022)
- Buenos Aires Argentina (1986) and Buenos Aires Argentina City Center (temple announced in the October 2022 general conference)
Going the distance
Eight miles separate the Lima Peru and the Lima Peru Los Olivos temples in the largest city and capital of the western South American nation.
However, more than a dozen pairs of temples worldwide — either with actual locations or announced sites — are situated in closer proximity than 8 miles, including a number where the two temples have street addresses in separate cities.
The distances under 8 miles and the pairs are:
- 2.4 miles — Provo Utah and Provo City Center
- 3.1 — Jordan River Utah and Oquirrh Mountain Utah
- 3.5 — St. George Utah and Red Cliffs Utah
- 3.5 — Rexburg Idaho and Teton River Idaho
- 4.2 — Orem Utah and Provo City Center
- 4.3 — Guatemala City Guatemala and Miraflores Guatemala City Guatemala
- 4.3 — Orem Utah and Provo Utah
- 4.8 — Orem Utah and Lindon Utah
- 5.5 — Mount Timpanogos Utah and Lindon Utah
- 5.9 — Provo Utah to Lindon Utah
- 6.3 — Mexico City Mexico and Mexico City Benemérito Mexico
- 6.8 — Jordan River Utah and Draper Utah
- 7.0 — Manti Utah and Ephraim Utah
- 7.0 — Jordan River Utah and Taylorsville Utah
- 7.4 — Logan Utah and Smithfield Utah
- 7.5 — Provo City Center and Lindon Utah
- 7.7 — Layton Utah and Syracuse Utah
- 7.9 — Salt Lake and Taylorsville Utah
Other pairs of the Church’s 335 total temples dedication, under construction or announced could be added in coming months or years, once temples in planning have a site announced. For example, the exact distance between the two temples in Buenos Aires, Argentina, is still unknown as the new City Center temple does not have an announced site yet.
Also, the Brazzaville Republic of the Congo Temple has yet to have a site released. But the city of Brazzaville is on the one side of the Congo River, with the Kinshasa Democratic Republic of the Congo Temple less than four miles away on the opposite side.
Temples and metropolitan areas
Temples in close proximity received attention a little more than a year ago when in the same October 2022 general conference, President Nelson announced 14 locations for new temples. Then he added: “We are also planning to build multiple temples in selected large metropolitan areas where travel time to an existing temple is a major challenge. Therefore, I am pleased to announce four additional locations near Mexico City where new temples will be built.”
The four locations are:
Having multiple temples in a metro area was nothing new for the Church, as evidenced by some of the aforementioned pairs. But announcing four new temples at once was something new — and they joined the Mexico City and Mexico City Benemérito temples, both of which are in the city proper.
Multiple temples in metro areas in the United States extend from Utah to Phoenix, Arizona, and from Southern California to Texas’ Dallas/Fort Worth area. And the under-construction Alabang Philippines Temple was first announced by President Monson in the April 2017 general conferences as a house of the Lord for “the greater Manila, Philippines, area.”
The Alabang Philippines Temple is located in the barangay of Alabang in the city of Muntinlupa in the Manila metro area, a little more than 13 miles from the Manila Philippines Temple.
Because the parameters of metropolitan areas — both in official and unofficial usages — vary considerably, it is difficult to compile an accurate list of the Church’s temples by metro area.