SALT LAKE CITY, Utah — Plans to build two new temples in Gila Valley and Gilbert, Arizona, were announced today by Thomas S. Monson, president of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.  This will bring the total number of temples to 134 already in operation or in the planning and construction phases.

“It is my personal priority to make sure members of the Church have access to the blessings of the temple,” said President Monson.  “It is here where members learn of their divine origin and destiny; where they are strengthened spiritually as individuals and as families.  Temples are sanctuaries from the storms of life.”

To members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, temples are the house of the Lord, the most sacred place on earth. Temple services bind families together forever, teach the purpose of life and explain God’s plan of salvation. Temple attendance strengthens Latter-day Saints’ commitment to living Christian principles, emphasizes personal spiritual growth and increases devotion to family.

There are currently two temples in Arizona: one in Mesa and another in Snowflake.  Gila Valley and Gilbert will bring the total number to four.

Latter-day Saint temples differ from the tens of thousands of local meetinghouses where members typically meet for Sunday worship services and midweek social activities, and where visitors are always welcome. Temples are used solely for the performance of sacred ordinances and religious instruction aimed at strengthening members’ relationships with God and their fellowman.