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A Look at Temple Growth in President Nelson's Lifetime, Shared by Elder Bednar

by | Apr. 05, 2020

In his Sunday morning address, Elder David A. Bednar of the Quroum of the Twelve Apostles shared interesting numbers regarding temples, including how the number of temples has grown during President Russell M. Nelson's lifetime.

He first referenced the original dedication of the Kirtland Ohio Temple: 

The first temple of this dispensation was constructed in Kirtland, Ohio and dedicated on March the 27th, 1836.

In a revelation to the Prophet Joseph Smith one week after the dedication, the Lord declared, “Let the hearts of all my people rejoice, who have, with their might, built this house to my name.

Yea the hearts of thousands and tens of thousands shall greatly rejoice in consequence of the blessings which shall be poured out, and the endowment with which my servants have been endowed in this house.

And the fame of this house shall spread to foreign lands; and this is the beginning of the blessing which shall be poured out upon the heads of my people” (D&C 110:6; 9-10).

Please note the phrases, the hearts of thousands and tens of thousands shall greatly rejoice, and the fame of this house shall spread to foreign lands. These were stunning declarations in April of 1836 when the Church had only a relative handful of members and one temple.

Some of the numbers shared by Elder Bednar include: 

  1. "Today in 2020, we have 168 operating temples. "
  2. "Forty-nine additional temples are under construction or have been announced." 
  3. "Houses of the Lord are being constructed on the 'isles of the sea' and in countries and locations previously considered by many unlikely to warrant a temple."
  4. "The endowment ceremony currently is presented in 88 languages and will become available in many additional languages as temples are built to bless more of God’s children." 
  5. "In the next 15 years, the number of languages in which temple ordinances will be available likely will double."
  6. "This year we will break ground and start construction on 18 temples." 
  7. "In contrast, it took 150 years to build the first 18 temples, from the organization of the Church in 1830 to the dedication of the Tokyo Japan Temple by President Spencer W. Kimball in 1980."

He then highlighted the growth of temples during President Nelson's life. 

"When President Nelson was born on September the 9th, 1924, the Church had six operating temples."

"When he was ordained an Apostle on April 7, 1984, 60 years later, 26 temples were operating, an increase of 20 temples in 60 years."

"When President Nelson was sustained as President of the Church, 159 temples were operating, an increase of 133 temples in the 34 years during which he served as a member of the Quorum of the Twelve."

"Since becoming the President of the Church on January 14, 2018, President Nelson has announced 35 new temples."

"Ninety-six percent of the existing temples have been dedicated during President Nelson’s lifetime; eighty-four percent have been dedicated since he was ordained an Apostle."

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Lindsey Williams

Lindsey Williams joined the LDS Living team with a passion to find the stories that matter most. Previous stops in her career include BYU-Pathway Worldwide, the Special Projects Department of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and Utah Valley Magazine. When she's not searching for stories to write, the Colorado Springs native is most likely on a hiking trail. Follow her on Twitter with the handle @lindsey5brooke.

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