October 9, 2008
Five new temples for a 181-years-old religion
SALT LAKE CITY =======( Mormon Church president Thomas S. Monson said on Saturday October 4 the church has plans to build five new temples worldwide, three abroad and two in the United States.
The temples are planned for Calgary, Canada; Cordoba, Argentina; Rome, Italy; Philadelphia and in the greater Kansas City, Mo. area.
Monson's announcement came as The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints opened its two-day semiannual General Conference. The event draws more than 100,000 to the faith's downtown campus which includes the Salt Lake City Temple and the Salt Lake City Tabernacle, home of the renowned Tabernacle Choir.
Temples play an important role in the lives of Latter-day Saints. Only members in good standing may enter the towering white buildings, where members perform sacred religious ceremonies, including proxy baptisms and wedding ceremonies known as sealings.
Worldwide temple building is a legacy from 15th church president Gordon B. Hinckley, who began the effort so that members of church outside the US could more easily access the buildings to perform their religious rituals.
The locations selected for new temples reflect the growth of the church:
The Rome temple will be the Church's first in Italy and the twelfth in Europe. The Calgary temple will increase the number of temples in Canada to eight. The Cordoba temple will be the second Argentina and bring the total number of temples in Latin America to 34. There are 51 temples in the US, according to a data on a church Web site.
Architecturally, temples are towering white buildings with tall steeples. Many are topped with a trumpet-blowing golden angel draped in flowing robes. The figure represents the angel Moroni, whom Mormons believe led church founder Joseph Smith to a set of buried golden plates that, when translated, became known as the Book of Mormon, the faith's