For Latter-day Saints, temple worship is central to blessing both individuals and families, but before 1993, only a few Church members from Russia had the opportunity to go to the temple. Then in 1993, organized temple trips began for groups of Church members from the St. Petersburg and Moscow Missions, allowing them to attend the Stockholm Sweden Temple together. As branches were established in the Russian Far East, Church members there traveled to the Seoul Korea Temple.
The road to the temple could be long, expensive, and cumbersome due to visa requirements. The spiritual rewards, however, made the journey worthwhile. One woman who took part in the first trip from the Moscow Mission in August 1993 remarked, “As we received the temple ordinances for ourselves, we were deeply moved and edified. We strongly felt the invisible ties uniting Latter-day Saints all over the world.” One Latter-day Saint woman from Nizhny Novgorod recalled her first trip to Stockholm with her family in 2000, explaining, “The trip gave us testimonies and many blessings. They were small testimonies received individually by each person. But as a whole they helped us and gave momentum for further spiritual growth.”
Over the years, the temple steadily became more accessible to Latter-day Saints in Russia. Russian Church members gladly took part in the dedication of temples in Finland in 2006 and Ukraine in 2010. Then in April 2018, Church President Russell M. Nelson announced the Church’s intent to build a temple in Russia. Many members responded to the news with both joy and surprise. “We didn’t believe that in the near future we would hear anything like that,” Renat Kashapov of Moscow remarked. For Kashapov, the announcement renewed his resolve to live worthy and prepared to enter God’s presence. “If the Lord wants to build a temple here,” Kashapov said, “He wants it to be busy.”