Five new temples were announced today by President Thomas S. Monson, leader of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, during the Church’s 178th Semiannual General Conference in Salt Lake City.  With 128 temples currently operating and with another 17 in some phase of planning or construction, these five temples bring the worldwide total to 145.

The additional temples will be built in the greater Kansas City area; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Calgary Alberta, Canada; Córdoba, Argentina; and Rome, Italy. The exact location of these temples will be announced at a later date. Not since April of 2000 have so many temples been announced at one time.

The placement of temples in Philadelphia and the greater Kansas City area reflects steady Church growth throughout the United States, where there are now several dozen temples. 

The Calgary temple will be the eighth temple in Canada .  There are currently temples operating from Halifax, Nova Scotia, to Edmonton, with another under construction in Vancouver. Latter-day Saints began settling parts of the Alberta province within a few decades of their exodus to the great basin of the Rocky Mountains in the mid-1800s.  The Cardston Alberta Temple was the sixth temple completed after the pioneers’ arrival in Salt Lake City .

The temple in Córdoba will be the second in Argentina, the Buenos Aires temple being the first. Today’s announcement will bring the total number of temples in Latin America to 34.

The Rome Italy Temple will be the first in the Mediterranean region and the twelfth in Europe.  It will serve Church members from a variety of countries and greatly reduce travel time and expense to the Latter-day Saints living in the area.

Latter-day Saint temples differ from ordinary church buildings where members typically meet for Sunday worship services, midweek classes, and activities. There are thousands of such chapels throughout the world, all open to visitors.

For members of the Church, temples are the most sacred places on earth.  They are used solely for the performance of sacred ceremonies such as marriage, and religious instruction aimed at strengthening members’ relationships with God and their fellowman.  The temples provide a place of holiness and peace, separate from the preoccupations of the world, where Church members make formal promises and commitments to God. 

Construction of temples has been a part of Latter-day Saint history since the earliest days of the Church.  Church founder Joseph Smith built temples in Kirtland Ohio, Jackson County Missouri, and Nauvoo Illinois . 

Within days of the Mormon pioneers’ arrival in the Salt Lake Valley, Joseph Smith’s successor, Brigham Young, announced the location for the Salt Lake Temple and construction began shortly thereafter.  While the Salt Lake Temple took 40 years to complete, most temples today are finished within three to five years.

Last week the Church also announced the open house and dedication dates for the next temple to be completed.  The Draper Utah Temple, the 129th worldwide, will be open for public tours from January 15 through March 14, 2009.  It will then be dedicated in twelve separate dedicatory sessions from March 20 to March 22. 

Article prepared by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints Newsroom at www.lds.org and is used by permission.