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Cover image: Nearly completed Paris France Temple.
From Paris and Rome in Europe to Winnipeg and Cedar City in North America to Rio de Janeiro and Arequipa in South America, it has been an active year for Mormon temple construction and completion.
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has broken ground on three new temples and several others were dedicated since general conference was held in October 2016. Four other temples will be dedicated and another rededicated by the end of the year. There are currently more than 150 operating temples worldwide.
An open house for the Paris France Temple will be held from April 22 until May 13, 2017. The temple, located in Le Chesnay in the western suburbs of Paris, will be dedicated on Sunday, May 21, in three sessions. It will be the first temple in France.
As the Rome Italy Temple and visitors’ center advance toward completion, a major benchmark has occurred within the visitors’ center — the installation of the marble statue of the resurrected Christ. It is an exact replica of the original Christus statue produced by Bertel Thorvaldsen in Italy before its placement in Denmark in the early 1800s. In fact, the marble came from the same quarry from which the first Christus was sculpted.
“One of the things that was important to us was to do something that would make this part of the country, but more importantly for recognizing the Savior Jesus Christ. What more perfect symbol of the Savior and our belief in Him could we do than to bring that here to this place,” said Mark Lusvardi, director of public programs in the Church’s Temple Department.
Also included in the Rome Temple Visitors’ Center are marble statue replicas of the original Twelve Apostles. The statues were digitally measured and fashioned to be precisely the same as the originals, and the marble was taken from the original Michelangelo cave in Carrera, Italy, before arriving in Rome.
Lusvardi added, “That’s also part of the message of the whole visitors’ center here. We’ll learn not only about Christ and the calling of the original Twelve, but we know that we have prophets and apostles today.”
The gold-leaf statue of angel Moroni that often sits at the top of Latter-day Saint temples around the world was hoisted and installed on the temple in Rome on March 25.
In southern Europe, foundation work is underway on a new temple in Lisbon, Portugal.
Ground was broken December 3, 2016, on the Winnipeg Manitoba Temple. Elder Larry Y. Wilson of the Seventy, executive director of the Church’s Temple Department, presided at the ceremony. The temple in Winnipeg will be the ninth in Canada and the first in the province of Manitoba.
“The Savior Himself is the cornerstone of this work and of the Church, and so there’s a symbolism here that’s a wonderful thing,” said President Eyring.
The Hartford Connecticut Temple will serve nearly 27,000 Latter-day Saints in Connecticut, western Rhode Island, western Massachusetts and eastern New York.
In the American Rockies, the Fort Collins Colorado Temple was dedicated on October 16. President Dieter F. Uchtdorf, second counselor in the First Presidency, dedicated the temple in three sessions and conducted the cornerstone ceremony attended by members of the community and the Church.
President Uchtdorf said, “It’s a wonderful celebration and praise to the Lord when you see those majestic mountains, the Rocky Mountains, to the west and the plains to the east, and here, right at this wonderful intersection of both, is the house of the Lord. So we thank all those that made this possible.”
In the American West, the first temple to be built in the state of Wyoming was dedicated by Elder David A. Bednar of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles in picturesque Star Valley on October 30. The Star Valley Wyoming Temple dedication was a special event for Elder Bednar’s wife, Susan, who grew up in Star Valley.
Elder Bednar conducted the cornerstone ceremony. “Well, we’ve done our best and we’re glad someone will come and do it more effectively than we have, but we participated hopefully in the right spirit of this cornerstone ceremony. We love you. Thank you for being here bundled up on this beautiful morning,” he said.
Also in the intermountain western United States, there will be three temple dedications and one rededication before the end of the year. The Idaho Falls Idaho Temple, first dedicated in 1945, has been closed for more than two years for extensive interior renovations. It will be rededicated on June 4.
The Tucson Arizona Temple will be dedicated on August 13 following an open house June 3–24.
The Meridian Idaho Temple, west of Boise, will be dedicated on November 19.
Finally, the Cedar City Utah Temple will be dedicated on December 10.
South of the equator, groundbreaking ceremonies were held on March 4 for the Arequipa Peru Temple and the Rio de Janeiro Brazil Temple. Elder Carlos A. Godoy of the Seventy presided over the groundbreaking services of the Arequipa Temple; there are four announced temples in the nation of Peru. Elder Claudio R. M. Costa of the Seventy and Brazil Area president presided at the groundbreaking for the Rio de Janeiro Temple. There will be nine temples in Brazil, with two others announced or under construction.
Latter-day Saint temples are also under construction in the South American cities of Fortaleza, Brazil; Concepcion, Chile; and Barranquilla, Colombia.
Announcements of new temples are made by the First Presidency, and in recent years when this has occurred, they have been announced by President Thomas S. Monson in general conference.