Thomas S. Monson, president of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, announced plans to build four new temples, located in Harare, Zimbabwe; Quito, Ecuador; Belém, Brazil; and Lima, Peru (the Church’s second temple in that city). The announcement came during his remarks at the Sunday morning session of the Church’s 186th annual general conference.
Earlier this month, the Church reached the milestone of 150 operating temples with the dedication of the Provo City Center Temple on March 22, 2016. The four temples announced Sunday will increase the total number of new temples announced or under construction to 27. An additional four existing temples are being renovated.
Zimbabwe is home to approximately 14.2 million people and over 26,000 members of the Church. The temple planned for Harare, Zimbabwe’s capital and most populous city, will be the first in the country. The Church has three operating temples in Africa (Aba, Nigeria; Accra, Ghana; and Johannesburg, South Africa), one under construction (Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of the Congo) and three more announced (Abidjan, Ivory Coast; Durban South Africa; and Harare, Zimbabwe). The closest temple to Harare is in Johannesburg, a 13-hour drive.
Ecuador is home to approximately 15.8 million people and more than 230,000 members of the Church. The temple in Quito, Ecuador’s capitol and second most populous city, will be the country’s second Mormon temple. Ecuador’s first temple, in Guayaquil, was dedicated in 1999.
Nearly 1.3 million of Brazil’s 204 million people are members of the Church. Six operating temples (Campinas, Curitiba, Manaus, Porto Alegre, Recife and São Paulo) currently dot the country. Another temple is under construction in Fortaleza and two others are announced for Rio de Janeiro and now Belém.
Peru is home to approximately 30 million people and 557,000 members of the Church. The country has two operating temples (Lima and Trujillo) and two temples that have been announced (Arequipa and the new temple announced in Lima). The first temple in Lima was dedicated in 1986.
Latter-day Saints consider temples to be the “house of the Lord,” the most sacred places on earth. Unlike meetinghouses, where Sabbath worship and weekly activities take place, temples are open throughout the week and closed on Sundays.