Salt Lake Valley LDS temples to expand their operations next week

(Photo Courtesy of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints) The Jordan River Utah Temple at dusk.

All three operating Latter-day Saint temples in the Salt Lake Valley will expand their services next week as more and more of these edifices come back on line amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Starting Aug. 24, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints announced Monday in a news release, the Draper Temple, along with the Jordan River and Oquirrh Mountain temples in South Jordan, will begin offering “all temple ordinances for living individuals,” including a newly altered “endowment,” a religious rite that schools members in the origin and purpose of mortality.

That will bring the tally of Beehive State temples providing these expanded services to 13 under a Phase 2 COVID-19 reopening plan. Previously, these facilities were in Phase 1, performing only marriages, known as “sealings.”

The expanded operations are especially good news for missionaries serving in Utah who never had the chance to be endowed — due to coronavirus-related closures — and for those prospective proselytizers in the state waiting to leave for their fields of service: They now will be able to go to the temple for their endowments. More couples also can be sealed in these temple, not just those who have been previously endowed.

Next week, 138 of the Utah-based faith’s 168 temples around the world will be open under Phase 1, with 48 of those operating under Phase 2. Strict safety protocols remain in place at all the buildings.

In Utah, only the Manti and Monticello temples will stay in Phase 1 next week. The historic Salt Lake and St. George temples are closed while undergoing extensive renovation. Another seven temples are planned or under construction in the state, which will be home to 24 temples.

None of the temples across the globe has resumed proxy work in which members perform ordinances for their dead ancestors.

Latter-day Saints view temples as Houses of the Lord, where faithful members participate in their religion’s holiest rites.