Utah will have 23 Latter-day Saint temples, thanks to two more church President Russell M. Nelson announced Saturday night.
They will be built in Orem and Taylorsville.
Nelson, the 95-year-old leader of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, announced six other temples as well Saturday — in Freetown, Sierra Leone; Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea; Bentonville, Ark.; Bacolod, Philippines; McAllen, Texas; and Cobán, Guatemala.
The church has been growing rapidly in Africa.
In Sierra Leone, for instance, Bo, the nation’s second largest city after Freetown, recently got its third stake (a regional cluster of Latter-day Saint congregations). The three stakes in the city of 175,000 all came within 22 months.
“No other city in the world, where no stakes previously operated, has ever had so many new stakes organized in so short a period of time,” independent demographer Matt Martinich reported at ldschurchgrowth.blogspot.com. “... There are now six stakes and three districts in Sierra Leone.”
Martinich included Freetown or Bo among his pre-General Conference list of the “10 most likely locations for new temples” to be named from the pulpit this weekend. He also successfully predicted Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea, Bacolod, Philippines; and Rogers, Ark., which is near Bentonville.
Since taking the Salt Lake City-based faith’s helm about 20 months ago, Nelson has announced 35 new temples.
The church has 166 operating temples and 51 planned, bringing the global tally to 217.
Latter-day Saints view temples as Houses of God, places where their most sacred ceremonies take place, including eternal marriages.