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How Many Mormon Temples Are There?

By Mormon.org

As of August 2017, there are 157 operating Mormon temples around the world. There are also 12 new temples under construction and another 13 temples that have been announced.

The first Mormon temple built was in Kirtland, Ohio, and it was dedicated in 1836. However, it isn’t an operating Mormon temple anymore. The Community of Christ, which restored the building, owns and maintains the building as a historic site. The oldest operating Mormon temple is the St. George Utah Temple, which was dedicated in April 1877.

Purpose of Temples

Since ancient times, temples have been sacred places where people make covenants with God and participate in holy ordinances, or rites. In His holy temples, God can teach, guide, and bless people, and people grow closer to Heavenly Father and Jesus.

The word temple comes from the Latin word templum, which refers to a sacred space, and temples are considered the holiest places on earth.

History of Ancient Temples

God has commanded His people to build temples since Old Testament times. In the Bible, God told Moses and the Israelites to build a portable tabernacle during their exodus from Egypt so they could have the blessings of a temple while traveling through the wilderness (Exodus 26–27).

The first recorded permanent structure was Solomon’s temple (see 2 Chronicles 5). This temple was erected in Israel, and its construction was completed in 1005 BC after more than seven years of work. Celebrated as one of the most splendid buildings of its time, Solomon’s temple was famed throughout the region, and its dedicatory services lasted for seven days. Unfortunately, this beautiful building didn’t last. It went through a period of desecration until it was ultimately destroyed by King Nebuchadnezzar.

While Jesus was alive, even at a young age, He was often found at the temple of Herod talking, listening, asking questions, teaching, praying, and healing others (see Luke 2:40–49).

The Book of Mormon recorded that temples were also built in ancient America. Nephi built and constructed one modeled after the temple of Solomon (see 2 Nephi 5:16). King Benjamin taught at a temple (see Mosiah 1:18). And the resurrected Christ showed himself to the Nephites while they were at the temple (see 3 Nephi 11:1–10).

Mormon Temples Today

Today’s Mormon temples follow a similar pattern of construction and use as ancient temples.

In temples, Mormons learn about God’s Creation of the earth and His plan for His children. They participate in sacred ordinances such as baptisms, endowments, and marriages in which husbands and wives are sealed together for eternity. These ordinances and covenants are made in every Mormon temple throughout the world.

Mormons welcome the public to enjoy the temple grounds, and anyone may visit an open house to see inside a temple before it is dedicated. However, only faithful and worthy Mormons may enter operating temples to worship God and make covenants with Him.