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SALT LAKE CITY — Speaking at the Sunday afternoon session of the 190th Annual General Conference of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, President Russell M. Nelson announced plans for eight more temples around the world — including one in Utah.
The 95-year-old church leader announced the church’s intention to build temples in the following locations:
- Bahia Blanca, Argentina
- Tallahassee, Florida
- Lubumbashi, Democratic Republic of the Congo
- Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
- Benin City, Nigeria
- Syracuse, Utah
- Dubai, United Arab Emirates
- Shanghai, People’s Republic of China
The Syracuse temple would be the 24th temple in Utah, and the third in Davis County.
The Bountiful Utah Temple was dedicated in 1995, and was followed by a temple in Layton that was announced during the April 2018 general conference of the church. That temple will be built at Oak Hills Drive and Rosewood Lane, and will add to the 17 operating temples in the state, as well as announced temples in Orem, Saratoga Springs, Taylorsville, the Tooele Valley and Washington County.
“It may seem odd to announce new temples when all of our temples are closed for a while,” said President Nelson, before reading former church president Wilford Woodruff’s prayer at the dedication of the Salt Lake Temple more than 100 years ago. He then added his own words of comfort to those listening.
“During times of our distress, when temples are closed, you can still draw upon the power of your temple covenants and endowment as you honor your covenants. Please use this time when temples are closed to continue to live a temple-worthy life or to become temple-worthy.”
The church temporarily closed all temples back on March 25 to help combat the spread of COVID-19, or the novel coronavirus. All previously scheduled temple ordinances have been canceled, and will need to be rescheduled upon reopening.
The Dubai temple, President Nelson said, was made possible "in response to their gracious invitation, which we gratefully acknowledge." It will be the first Latter-day Saint temple constructed in the Middle East. The site will include a meetinghouse and a temple.
President Nelson said the following in his announcement about the temple in Shanghai, China.
"Context for the plan for Shanghai is very important. For more than two decades, temple worthy members in the People’s Republic of China have attended the Hong Kong China Temple. But in July 2019, that temple was closed for long planned and much needed renovation," he said. "In Shanghai, a modest multipurpose meeting place will provide a way for Chinese members to continue to participate in ordinances of the temple — in the People’s Republic of China — for them and their ancestors."
He continued: "“In every country, this church teaches its members to honor, obey and sustain the law. We teach the importance of the family, of being good parents, and exemplary citizens. Because we respect the laws and regulations of the People’s Republic of China, the church does not send proselyting missionaries there; nor will we do so now."
He added, "Expatriate and Chinese congregations will continue to meet separately. The Church’s legal status there remains unchanged. In an initial phase of facility use, entry will be by appointment only. The Shanghai Temple will not be a temple for tourists from other countries.”
Bahia Blanca will be the church's fifth temple announced in Argentina, though only two are in operation.
The Lubumbashi temple is the second announced in the Congo, joining the Kinshasa Democratic Republic of the Congo Temple, which was dedicated April 14, 2019.
The Pittsburgh temple is the second in Pennsylvania, announced four years after a temple in Philadelphia was dedicated. The Tallahassee temple will be the third in Florida.
The Aba Nigeria Temple was dedicated in 2005, and a temple in Lagos, Nigeria has also been announced, making the temple in Benin City the third announced in the country.
Prior to the announcement, Elder David A. Bednar, a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, noted during the Sunday morning general conference session that the church has 168 operating temples; 49 more temples were either under construction or announced prior to Sunday.
Contributing: Graham Dudley and Xoel Cardenas, KSL.com