Church Launches Worldwide Temple-Building Emphasis with Announcement of Seven New Temples
May 1980

“Church Launches Worldwide Temple-Building Emphasis with Announcement of Seven New Temples,” Ensign, May 1980, 102–3

Church Launches Worldwide Temple-Building Emphasis with Announcement of Seven New Temples

The Church begins an expanded worldwide temple-building effort with the April 2 announcement by the First Presidency of seven new temples.

The new temples, which are smaller than most built previously, may follow one of three basic designs. They are the first of what will be numerous smaller temples built throughout the world.

The seven temples will be built in Atlanta, Georgia, USA; Buenos Aires, Argentina; Santiago, Chile; Papeete, Tahiti; Nuku’alofa, Tonga; Apia, Western Samoa; and Sydney, Australia.

A temple had been announced previously for Pago Pago, American Samoa, but with the announcement of six new temples, the First Presidency said the Samoan temple site had been transferred from Pago Pago to Apia. Moving the Samoan Temple to Apia will better serve the needs of the Samoan Saints, since the majority live in Western Samoa rather than American Samoa. Members in other parts of the South Pacific will have temples on their own islands.

The seven temples will be patterned after one of three basic designs—an 8,500-square-foot edifice, a 12,500-square-foot edifice, or a 26,000-square-foot edifice.

Announcement of the temples and the new emphasis on temple-building was made by President Spencer W. Kimball at a news conference held in front of the replica of the Christus statue in the Visitors’ Center North on Temple Square.

The new temples bring to twenty-eight the number of temples either built, under construction, or planned. Seventeen are now functioning.

“It is with great joy that we approve construction of these new temples,” the First Presidency said in an official release. “They will bring the blessings of the temple ordinances to an ever-increasing number of faithful Latter-day Saints.

“We know that as our people meet the high moral standards required of those who would enter the temple, their marriages, family life, and individual life will be strengthened. Husbands and wives will live in harmony, children will be happier, and all lives will be enriched.

“As our families are the greatest source of joy in this life, so they may well be in the eternities.”

The new buildings, which will be smaller than previous temples are designed for efficiency. However, even the midsize 12,500-square-foot design temple will comfortably allow for 94,000 endowments to be performed each year.

The larger 26,000-square-foot temple will be built in Atlanta, Georgia. It will have four ordinance rooms seating forty persons each, and five sealing rooms. The Atlanta Temple District will include Florida, Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi, and South Carolina, and parts of North Carolina, Tennessee, Kentucky, Louisiana, and Arkansas.

The 12,500-square-foot temples will be built in Sydney, Apia, Nuku’alofa, Buenos Aires, and Santiago. They will have two endowment rooms seating thirty-two persons each. Capacity can be doubled in the future by the possible addition of two more ordinance rooms. The temples have two sealing rooms.

The 8,500-square-foot Tahiti Temple will have one sealing room and two endowment rooms with twenty seats each.

Construction on the temples is expected to begin early in 1981 and end later that year.

“We’ve entered a new era of temples,” says Derek Metcalfe, managing director of the Temple Department. “The emphasis now is on the locality. A different type of sacrifice will be required of people.” In the past, going to the temple has for many members of the Church been a once-in-a-life-time experience. Some members have saved money for years, at considerable sacrifice, to travel to the nearest temple. As more temples are built worldwide, the sacrifice will be one of time, as members attend local temples with far greater frequency.

President Victor Cave of the Papeete Tahiti Stake, explains that Tahitian members now have to pay at least $800 each for transportation and lodging to go to the nearest temple, the New Zealand Temple. Since average income of members might be around $500 per month, the sacrifice is great. “Our families are large”—an average of six children, perhaps—“and if they go, they spend a month and do as many ordinances as possible to get as much work done as they can. Some people who have been members for twenty or thirty years have gone only once.”

The story is similar in Australia, where members have had to fly to New Zealand to attend the temple. For some, this has meant driving thousands of miles across the Australian continent and flying to New Zealand. Members of the Church in Perth, Australia, will still have to cross the continent to reach the new temple in Sydney. Also, members in Brisbane, Australia, will have a drive of several hours. But without the flight to New Zealand, frequent trips to the temple will be more feasible. Local leaders anticipate that members will be able to travel in groups, thus further cutting transportation costs.

When Harvey L. Guy, patriarch in the Brisbane Australia Stake, heard of the new temple, he thought it was “tremendous. The size of the building led us to believe that there will be other temples in Australia.”

Brisbane Stake President John D. Jeffrey says that he expects members to use school vacation times—which will be more frequent with recently announced schedules—for temple trips. “The reaction I had to the concept was that it was within our financial reach, within our capacity to keep it working to capacity.”

In Samoa, the announcement of the changed temple sites was met with mixed emotions. A boat ride from American Samoa to Western Samoa is less demanding on members than the current trip to the Hawaii or New Zealand temple, says Stake President Eugene E. F. W. Reid of the Pago Pago Samoa Stake. And while members in American Samoa are disappointed that the temple will not be within walking distance, they are grateful for a chance to have one as near as Western Samoa—and with typical generosity they will contribute gladly, says President Reid.

Funds will be raised at each locality to finance the portion of the temple cost not paid by the general Church.

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The 8,500-square-foot temple design.

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The 8,500-square-foot temple (top) will be built in Tahiti. The 12,500-square-foot temple (center) will be built in Australia, Western Samoa, Tonga, Argentina, and Chile. The 26,000-square-foot temple (bottom) will be built in Georgia.