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SALT LAKE CITY — At the close of the 189th Annual General Conference of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, President Russell M. Nelson announced eight new temples for the faith.
The new temples will be built in Pago Pago, American Samoa; Okinawa City, Japan; Tooele Valley, Utah; Moses Lake, Washington; San Pedro Sula, Honduras; Antofagosta, Chile; Budapest, Hungary; and Neiafu, Tonga.
The new temples will bring the total number worldwide to 209, with 162 in operation and 47 more under construction or announced.
"We regard the temple as the most sacred structure of the church," President Nelson said. "As we announce plans to construct a new temple, it becomes part of our sacred history."
The Tooele Valley temple will provide service to several communities in Tooele County, including Tooele, Stansbury Park, Grantsville and Wendover, among others. It’s the second-largest county in Utah. The state counts 2.1 million church members among its 3.2 million residents.
The church has at least a dozen stakes, or geographical areas that encompass several congregations, in Tooele, according to the Tooele Transcript Bulletin, up from as few as two in 1972.
The new temple in Tooele will be the state’s 21st temple, joining Bountiful, Brigham City, Cedar City, Draper, Logan, Jordan River, Manti, Monticello, Mount Timpanogos, Ogden, Oquirrh Mountain, Payson, Provo City Center, Provo, St. George, Salt Lake and Vernal. Additional temples have been announced in Layton, Saratoga Springs and Washington County.
In addition, President Nelson announced plans to renovate and restore several "pioneer-era" temples of the church. The church had previously announced the St. George Utah Temple, which was the first in the modern era to be completed and dedicated, would be among those temples.
"The earliest ones stand as monuments to the faith and vision of our beloved pioneers," he said. "Each temple constructed by them resulted from their great personal sacrifice and effort.
"Ours is a sacred responsibility to care for them. Therefore, these pioneer temples will soon undergo a period of renewal and refreshing — and for some, a major restoration. Efforts will be made to preserve the unique historicity of each temple whenever possible, preserving the inspiring beauty and unique craftsmanship of generations long-since passed."
President Nelson added that the temples in Manti, Logan and Salt Lake, as well as the attached Temple Square and plaza next to the Church Office Building, will undergo significant renovations. Further details of the Salt Lake renovations will be provided Friday, April 19.
"This work will require that each temple be closed for a period of time," President Nelson said. "Church members may continue to enjoy temple worship and service in other temples nearby. When each project is completed, each historic temple will be rededicated."
American Samoa and Budapest will receive their first temples, while Tonga and Honduras will each receive a second temple in the country, Chile will receive its third, and Japan and Washington will each receive their fourth.
The Pago Pago temple will serve the U.S territory that currently houses 16,390 Latter-day Saints — or approximately 30 percent of the population in the area. The island nation is among the densest concentrations of Latter-day Saints in the world.
The church previously announced a temple in Pago Pago in 1977. But with a move toward smaller temples in 1980, the First Presidency moved the location to Apia in what was then-Western Samoa, according to lds.org.
Nearly 30 years later, members of the church in Pago Pago will get their own temple.
The temple in Budapest will be the first in Hungary and the 14th in Europe. Hungary is home to 5,250 Latter-day Saints spread out across 22 congregations, but the nearest operating temples prior to Sunday’s announcement were in Bern, Switzerland; Frankfurt, Germany; or Kyiv, Ukraine, depending on the direction of travel.
The country with the densest Latter-day Saint population, Tonga, will construct its second temple in Neiafu. The Polynesian kingdom has more than 65,000 members, or approximately 60 percent of the population, but has only had one temple since the dedication of the Nuku’alofa temple in 1983.
The church has been in Tonga since 1891.
San Pedro Sula will be the second temple in Honduras and seventh in Central America. The church currently has 178,200 members in Honduras, a jump from 6,300 as recently as 1980.
Antofagasta will be the third temple in Chile, and first since the temple in Concepcion was dedicated in October 2018. More than 595,000 Latter-day Saints live in Chile, where the church has been recognized since the 1950s.
Temples are not regular places of Sunday worship for members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. They are different from the thousands of regular chapels and meetinghouses used all over the world for regular Sunday services.