Even a worldwide pandemic didn't stop the construction of temples. Five recent announcements regarding temples—from the name of a temple to groundbreakings to open houses—are especially exciting for those in the temple districts where these sacred houses of worship will be located.
Pocatello Idaho Temple
The Pocatello Idaho Temple will open its doors this week as the first temple open house since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. Temple open houses have long provided a unique opportunity for Latter-day Saints and community members.
“This is an opportunity for all of the Saints here to be great neighbors in normal and natural ways to just reach out and love those around them and invite them to help them understand what the temple is all about,” said Elder S. Gifford Nielsen, who is serving as the president of the North America Central Area.
According to Newsroom, the temple open house runs through Saturday, October 23, except for Sundays, including September 19, 26, October 2–3 (general conference), 10, and 17.
Sister Camille N. Johnson, Primary General President, grew up in Pocatello and was able to participate in a media day for the temple on her birthday.
“This is really a special opportunity for me to come home to my birthplace, on my birthday, and to celebrate this beautiful new temple in these majestic foothills of Pocatello,” she said. “I’m delighted for the dear Saints here that will have the blessing of the temple here on their hillside.”
Reservations are available online for complimentary tickets to the open house.
The Pocatello temple will be dedicated on Sunday, November 7, 2021, in three sessions, by President M. Russell Ballard, acting president of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles. The dedicatory sessions will be held at 9 a.m., noon, and 3 p.m.
Read more from Newsroom here.
Willamette Valley Oregon Temple
If the name of this temple doesn’t sound familiar, it’s because this temple just got its name. Announced as a temple to be built in Eugene, Oregon during the April 2021 general conference, it wasn’t until September 2, 2021, that the temple’s formal name was announced. The Willamette Valley Oregon Temple will become the third temple in the state, joining the Medford Oregon Temple and the Portland Oregon Temple.
Read more from Newsroom here.
Groundbreaking ceremonies were held for two temples on September 11, 2021—one for the Neiafu Tonga Temple and the other for the Nairobi Kenya Temple. At both groundbreakings, Church and community leaders highlighted the great blessing of having a temple in the area.
In Tonga, Elder Inoke Kupu, an Area Seventy, presided and conducted. In a prayer, he said, “Bless the Saints of Vava'u and the Niua's (northern islands of Tonga) that they may live worthily to receive the blessings of the temple.”
Later, during his remarks, Elder Kupu said, “Temples are houses of the Lord and to have one on this beautiful Island of Vava'u is a blessing sent of God and a reflection of the goodness and faithfulness of citizens and members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints who live here and in the surrounding area."
Meanwhile, in Kenya, a message written by the Right Honorable Raila Odinga, former Prime Minister of Kenya, was read.
“The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has continued the tradition of not only providing for our spiritual needs but also for our physical ones,” Mr. Odinga, a member of the Anglican faith, wrote. “I therefore wholly welcome the decision to put up a dwelling place for God in Nairobi.”
Odinga expressed gratitude for the Church “most sincerely, for the work you have done this past year and over the years to sustain the faith, hope, and physical well-being of our people. At a very difficult time, members of the Church have been in the forefront, giving us reason to hope.”
Another Groundbreaking To Come
Ground will be broken for the Casper Wyoming Temple on Saturday, October 9, 2021. Elder S. Gifford Nielsen will preside at the event.
The temple will be Wyoming's second following the Star Valley Wyoming Temple's dedication in October 2016.