Members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints revere the temple as the “House of the Lord”. Temples differ from meetinghouses where congregations meet for worship services on Sunday and participate in various activities throughout the week. Temples are open throughout the week, but are closed on Sundays. Also, whereas all are welcomed to attend services and activities which take place in meetinghouses, only worthy members who hold a valid temple recommend are permitted to enter the temple and participate in sacred ordinances performed there. In the temple families are connected forever through sacred ceremonies, God’s plan for His children is explained, and Latter-day Saints are strengthened as they strive to follow Jesus Christ. There are currently 144 operating temples worldwide, and 29 temples now announced or currently under construction.
Three New Temples Announced
During the Sunday Morning session of the 185th Annual General Conference of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, President Thomas S. Monson announced that new temples will be built in Abidjan, Ivory Coast (Côte d’Ivoire); Bangkok, Thailand; and Port-Au Prince, Haiti . The exact locations of these temples, the first in their respective countries, have not yet been determined, but will be announced at a later date. Members living in the areas where the new temples are to be built currently travel over 1,000 miles, with some traveling a day or more, to get to the nearest temple. During his remarks, President Monson commented, “For we desire that as many members as possible have an opportunity to attend the temple without great sacrifice of time and resources.”
The Church in Abidjan Ivory Coast (Côte d’Ivoire)
Approximately 20 million people call the Ivory Coast (Côte d’Ivoire) home. Of those 20 million people, it is reported that there are 27,052 members of The Church of Jesus Christ. Branches (small congregations) were organized in Abidjan in 1988 and in Bouak in 1989. Missionaries began to arrive in 1988 and the Church continued to grow with it being officially recognized in 1991.
In 1993, the Cameroon Yaounde Mission headquarters were moved to Ivory Coast and became the Ivory Coast Abidjan Mission. The mission concentrated its resources in the Abidjan area to establish a center of the Church for French-speaking Africa. The first meetinghouse in Ivory Coast was dedicated in 1997 with two more were completed in 1998. Today there are 2 missions, 94 congregations, and 9 family history centers in Ivory Coast. Church members in Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire’s second most populous city, currently attend the temple in Accra, Ghana, which is a 12-hour drive.
The Church in Bangkok Thailand
In the 1950s and before 1961, informal Church services were held intermittently when families lived in Bangkok. Regular worship services were authorized by the Church in 1961, and an English branch (a small congregation) has functioned continually since then. In 1966, the Thailand District was organized, and on 2 November 1966, President Gordon B. Hinckley dedicated Thailand for the preaching of the gospel officially opening the area for missionary service.
In 1973, Thailand became its own mission. In 1974, Elder David B. Haight dedicated the first meetinghouse. In 1987, three new meetinghouses were dedicated in Bangnaa, Thonburi, and Chiang Mai Branches. And, in 1995, the Bangkok Stake was created. Today it is reported that there are 19,665 members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Thailand. There is also 1 mission, 38 congregations, and 7 family history centers in Thailand.
The Bangkok Thailand Temple will serve Latter-day Saints in Thailand as well as all of Southeast Asia. Currently the nearest temple is in Hong Kong, over 1,000 miles away.
The Church in Port-au-Prince Haiti
There have been members of The Church of Jesus Christ in Haiti since 1977. The first member of the Church in Haiti was Alexandre Mourra. After reading the Book of Mormon he traveled to Florida from his home to be taught the gospel and was baptized by the missionaries on 30 June 1977.
On 2 July 1978, 22 Haitians were baptized in Hatte-Maree, near Port-au-Prince. In September 1978, J. Frederick Templeman of the Canadian embassy arrived. He and Alexandre Mourra helped organize the first branch which was created in October 1980 in Port-au-Prince.
Missionary work opened in Haiti in May 1980 under the direction of the West Indies Mission. In 1982, 12 missionaries were serving in Haiti. A branch was created in Petionville on 31 March 1981 with Alexandre Mourra as President. The branch was divided in 1982, and at that time, the Haiti District was created and four missionaries were sent to Cap Hatien.
Haiti is home to approximately 10 million people of which there are presently 20,414 members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. There are also 1 mission, 44 congregations, and 6 family history centers in Haiti. Church members in currently attend the temple in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, which is almost a day’s journey away.
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, sometimes inadvertently referred to as the Mormon Church, is the restored gospel of Jesus Christ. Mormons (Latter-day Saints) believe that everything we do in the Church was done in the gospel before, in both Old and New Testament times. The restoration of the gospel of Jesus Christ included everything He taught: faith, repentance, priesthood authority, and the temple are some of the restored principles. Latter-day Saints believe that the temple and the ordinances performed therein are part of the restored gospel of Jesus Christ.
The Old Testament records three temples: the Tabernacle in the wilderness, the Temple of Solomon, and the Temple of Zerubbabel. The main purpose of these temples was for the people to offer sacrifices, and for the Lord to communicate with His people. (See Exodus 29:42-43; 33:9-11). Even before Moses built the tabernacle, though, the Lord’s people were offering sacrifices, beginning with Adam.
In Genesis 4, Adam’s sons Cain and Abel both offer sacrifices to the Lord. Abel “brought of the firstlings of his flock and of the fat thereof. And the Lord had respect unto Abel and to his offering” (Genesis 4:4). Noah and Abraham both offered sacrifices to the Lord. (See Genesis 8:20; 22:13). Read more
In 2011 fire destroyed an iconic and historical building of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, (often mistakenly called the Mormon Church). In Provo, Utah, the Latter-day Saint Tabernacle was taken by a fire caused by a lighting technician who mistakenly set a 300-watt light fixture on a wooden speaker box in the attic of the tabernacle.
The loss was felt keenly by the community:
“We’re all really devastated,” said Provo Mayor John R. Curtis. “Everyone in Provo has significant memories of concerts, plays, church meetings. It’s an extremely vital part of my community. It’s really a fabric of the community.”
Scott Trotter, a spokesman for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, called the fire “tragic.”
The building not only serves our members and the community, but is a reminder of the pioneering spirit that built Utah. The damage appears severe, and until we make a structural assessment, we won’t know whether this historic treasure can be saved.
Tabernacles are larger than the tens of thousands of regular Mormon meetinghouses (or chapels) where Latter-day Saints meet weekly for Sunday services. They also differ from temples, which are sacred buildings reserved for faithful Latter-day Saints to worship and perform sacred ordinances. Tabernacles are typically used today for meetings with several congregations combined. Read more
Elizabeth Smart married her Scottish fiancé, Matthew Gilmour, last Saturday (February 18, 2012) in a private ceremony in the Laie, Hawaii temple of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (sometimes misnamed the “Mormon Church” by the media). Elizabeth and Matthew, who are both Mormons, chose the Hawaii Mormon Temple because of the time Elizabeth spent on Oahu with her family recovering from her 9-month kidnapping ordeal as a young teen. Elizabeth, who was only 14 years old at the time, was abducted from her home at knife-point and forced into a polygamous “marriage” by Brian David Mitchell, a deranged man who raped Elizabeth repeatedly during the time he held her prisoner. After being rescued and reunited with her family, Elizabeth spent several months in Hawaii with them, and it has become a special place to her that she wanted to share with her new husband.
A Wedding for Time and for All Eternity
It is a wonderful thing to see Elizabeth’s amazing recovery from her horrifying ordeal crowned by such a beautiful moment as her wedding. Elizabeth and Matthew met while they were both Mormon missionaries in Paris, France. Although missionaries do not date, after their missions the two of them began seeing each other and fell in love. Because of their Mormon faith, Elizabeth and Matthew wanted to be married in the temple. In Mormon temples, faithful members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints who have qualified by keeping God’s commandments make covenants, or promises, with God. One of the blessings they receive in return is that a couple who remain faithful to each other and to God can be married not just for this life, but for time and for all eternity. Their marriage will endure forever. Read more
At the 181st semi-annual general conference of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, held in October 2011, Prophet Thomas S. Monson announced the construction of a new Mormon temple in Star Valley, Wyoming. The prophet joked that he would personally dedicate the new temple, because the fishing is good nearby. This will be the first temple to be built in Wyoming.
Mormons in Wyoming had previously attended the temple in Rexburg, Idaho. The journey was considerably more difficult during the winter.
Mormon pioneers in the first westward party in 1847 made their way through Wyoming, stopping at Fort Laramie to repair their wagons. They followed the Oregon Trail along the Platte River to Fort Bridger Read more
In October 2011 at the General Conference of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Prophet Thomas S. Monson announced the construction of a second temple in Colombia. The first is in Bogota. The new temple will be in Barranquilla, Colombia, which is located in northern Colombia, near the Caribbean Sea. Located on the delta of the Magdalena River, the city serves as a port for river and maritime transportation within Colombia.
The first LDS Missionaries arrived in Colombia in 1966. Five years later, 27 congregations were established in 10 cities. Today, Church membership is nearly nineteen times that of 20 years ago. Colombia has 172,534 members of the Church in 272 congregations, and four missions. Read more
At the 181st general conference of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Prophet Thomas S. Monson announced the construction of a new temple in Fort Collins, Colorado. This will be Colorado’s second temple. Fort Collins is about 57 miles north of Denver. There are approximately 140,000 Mormons in Colorado.
The Fort Collins Colorado Temple is expected to serve members living in northern Colorado, southern Wyoming, and western Nebraska who currently travel to attend the Denver Colorado Temple and the Billings Montana Temple.
The temple is expected to be about 24,000 to 28,000 square feet and similar to the Newport Beach California Temple. On July 8, 2011, the location for the future temple was announced as the southeast corner of the intersection at Trilby Road and Timberline Road. A large LDS chapel is across the street from this location. Read more
A new temple for Meridian, Idaho, was announced at the 181st Annual General Conference of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints by President Thomas S. Monson on 2 April 2011. It will be the fifth temple to be built in the state of Idaho (the other four are in Boise, Twin Falls, Idaho Falls and Rexburg). Meridian is the third largest city in the state and is located about eleven miles west of Boise. There are more than 400,000 Latter-day Saints in Idaho.
The new temple in Meridian will decrease the load on the Boise Temple, which is filled to overflowing at some times. The Meridian-Nampa area is experiencing fast growth and the creation of new wards and stakes. Read more
The Mormon Temple is a holy place set apart from the outside world, whereas the Mormon meeting houses are utilized for weekday activities and Sunday worship services. In the Temple, sacred ordinances of the Gospel of Jesus Christ are performed.
Because the Mormon Temple is a unique place, only the finest materials and craftsmanship are used in its construction. After the temple is dedicated, Church members wear white clothing while inside to symbolize purity, cleanliness, and the setting aside of the things of the world.
In the Mormon Temple, families can be united in the most sacred of all human relationships; as husband and wife and as children and parents. Through priesthood authority from God, marriages are performed that can endure throughout this life and for all eternity. To share these blessings with our ancestors, Mormons perform temple ordinances in their behalf. This is why members of the Mormon Church are so interested in genealogical research. Members research to seek and identify ancestors so that the temple ordinances are performed in their behalf, and so that families can be together forever. Read more