The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints broke ground for its first temple in Thailand on Saturday, January 26, 2019, in a much-anticipated event. Since the Bangkok Thailand Temple was announced in April 2015, Latter-day Saints around the world and especially in Asia have begun preparing for this new temple of the Lord.
In April 2016 general conference, Elder Quentin L. Cook told this memorable story of the missionaries' reaction in Thailand when they heard the news about the temple:
"Sister Shelly Senior, wife of the then-president of the Thailand Bangkok Mission, David Senior, emailed family and friends to say that after she and her husband had listened to President Monson announce that temple, there had been '12 sleepless hours and lots of tears of happiness.' They called their mission assistants at 11:30 p.m. and informed them. The assistants called all the missionaries. The report came back that the 'whole mission was awake in the middle of the night jumping on their beds.' Sister Senior humorously admonished family and friends, 'Please don’t tell the Missionary Department!' "The deep spiritual response of the members in Thailand was equally strong. I am confident there have been spiritual preparations in hearts and homes and manifestations from heaven preparing the Saints where these newly announced temples will be located."
Returned missionary Noah Purser says of that night, “We couldn’t believe it, and along with all the members, we were dancing and jumping with joy. It was electric, and all anyone could talk about for the next few months was the temple. Since then, there seems to have been a change in how members approach preparing themselves for temple worship.”
The groundbreaking ceremony of the Bangkok Thailand Temple. Image from Newsroom.
And now our Thai brothers and sisters have reached a new temple milestone as ground was broken for the new temple this January.
Elder Robert C. Gay of the Presidency of the Seventy presided in the ceremony with 700 members from the Church.
The groundbreaking took place at the temple site on 1645/6 New Phetchaburi Road, Makkasan in the Ratchathewi District, which is in the center of a residential and business area in Bangkok, according to the Church's newsroom.
The Bangkok Thailand Temple site. Image from Newsroom.
“My heart is filled with joy and gratitude to be here today,” Elder Gay said. “Because of the faithfulness of the saints in Thailand, a house of the Lord will soon be built in this country and many will have the opportunity to participate in temple worship with their family and partake of the eternal blessings that come with it.”
He was joined by Elder David F. Evans, President of the Asia Area, who also offered remarks and the dedicatory prayer. “Today was an historic day for the Church in Thailand,” Elder Evans said. “For more than 50 years, the faithful saints in Thailand have waited and prayed for this day. The construction and ultimate completion of the temple will become a blessing for not only the members of the Church, but also for all who see the beauty of the temple and feel of the peace that will be found on this sacred ground.”
Also in attendance were former Thailand Ambassador to the United States His Excellency Sakthip Krairikshand, his wife M.R. (Lady) Benchapa, former Mayor of Bangkok Dr. Bhichit Rattakul, and other dignitaries, according to the Church's newsroom.
People gathered for the groundbreaking of the Bangkok Thailand Temple. Image from Newsroom.
The Church will build a majestic 44,405-square-foot, six-story temple with multiple spires reaching heavenward. It will be a place of beauty and peace where all can come.
In addition to the temple, a 91,370-square-foot building will feature two religious meetinghouses, seminary and institute facilities, Church offices, and housing, according to the Church's newsroom.
Sister Wipharat Uanphoklang also offered remarks at the groundbreaking ceremony. She and her husband live faithfully as they raise their three sons in the gospel. Like many other Thai members of the Church, they look forward to receiving temple blessings in their own country.
Sister Wipharat Uanphoklang speaking at the Thailand temple groundbreaking ceremony. Image from Newsroom.
“We have long prayed for a temple in Thailand,” Sister Uanphoklang said. “We are grateful that each of our children will have the blessing of receiving their temple ordinances and being sealed when they go on missions and marry. The temple gives us joy and hope as we seek to teach our children and help them feel of God’s love for them.”
Today, there are more than 22,000 Latter-day Saints in Thailand, organized in 42 congregations. This temple will serve Church members in Thailand and other nearby countries.
There are currently 201 temples throughout the world either in operation, under construction, or announced.
Lead image from Newsroom