SALT LAKE CITY — For nearly 137 years, the Logan temple of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has stood as the lone most-sacred edifice for members of the church in Cache Valley.
It will soon have company.
Speaking at the Sunday afternoon session at the 191st Annual General Conference of the church, President Russell M. Nelson announced plans for 20 more temples around the world — including one in Smithfield, Utah.
The 96-year-old church leader announced the church's intention to build temples in the following locations:
- Oslo, Norway
- Brussels, Belgium
- Vienna, Austria
- Kumasi, Ghana
- Beira, Mozambique
- Cape Town, South Africa
- Singapore, Republic of Singapore
- Belo Horizonte, Brazil
- Cali, Colombia
- Queretaro, Mexico
- Torreon, Mexico
- Helena, Montana
- Casper, Wyoming
- Grand Junction, Colorado
- Farmington, New Mexico
- Burley, Idaho
- Eugene, Oregon
- Elko, Nevada
- Yorba Linda, California
- Smithfield, Utah
The 20 new temples is the second-most announced at one time in the history of the church, and the most since then-president Gordon B. Hinckley announced 32 temples during the 1998 general conference. President Hinckley did not list specific locations at the time, as he began plans to unveil a "smaller temple" that would bring temple work to areas of the world previously unforeseen.
The Smithfield temple will be the 26th temple announced or under construction in Utah.
Since becoming the leader of the church in 2018, President Nelson has announced the construction of 69 new temples. The Church of Jesus Christ now has 251 temples announced, under construction or operating.
The second temple dedicated in the modern history of the church, the Logan temple has been the only such edifice in Cache Valley since then-president John Taylor offered the dedicatory prayer over the establishment in 1884.
Renovations followed a fire that destroyed much of the southeast stairway of the temple in 1917; the temple also received significant updates and renovations in 1949 and 1977. President Spencer W. Kimball presided over the rededication of the temple in 1979, four years after the building was placed on the National Register of Historic Places.
As such, reports and rumors of the temple's soon-to-be remodeling have swelled as the church has begun renovations of its "pioneer-era temples," beginning with Salt Lake City, St. George and Manti — two of which are younger than the nine-acre Logan temple. However, no such renovations have been announced.
Latter-day Saint temples have been closed for all or part of the past year due to COVID-19, but temple planning, construction and dedications have continued. Elder David A. Bednar of the church's Quorum of 12 Apostles told the Church News last week that ground was broken for 21 temples worldwide in 2020, including temples in the Beehive State in Layton, Orem, Taylorsville and a second temple in St. George. Two more temples — the Deseret Peak Temple in Tooele and the Syracuse, Utah Temple — will break ground for construction this summer.
"Obviously, there were construction disruptions because of the pandemic," Elder Bednar said. "But relatively few of those temples are behind schedule. And I find that to be just absolutely miraculous. That all over the world, with all of the varied construction circumstances that we're in, that the construction of the temples has moved forward in such a remarkable way."
President Nelson also thanked church members Sunday for their "patience and devoted service during this changing and challenging period" of COVID-19.
"I pray that your desire to worship and serve in the temple burns more brightly than ever," he said.
As far as returning to temples following the pandemic, and with vaccination rates rising across much of the United States (and Utah), President Nelson said reopening dates are still to be determined.
"Your temple will open when local government regulations allow it," he said. "When the incidence of COVID-19 in your area is within safe limits, your temple will be reopened. Do all you can to bring COVID numbers down in your area so that your temple opportunities can increase.
"Meanwhile, keep your temple covenants and blessings foremost in your minds and hearts. Stay true to the covenants you have made."
Temples are unique edifices for Latter-day Saints, different from meetinghouses where members typically meet weekly for meetings and midweek for various activities. Instead, temples are reserved for recommend-holding members of the church to access for sacred rites such as weddings for eternity, known as temple sealings, both for individuals and on behalf of deceased family members.
"Temples are a vital part of the restoration of the gospel of Jesus Christ in its fullness," President Nelson said. "Ordinances of the temple fill our lives with power and strength — available in no other way. We thank God for these blessings."