President Russell M. Nelson is 97 — and is poised in a matter of days to become the oldest prophet-president in the history of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints — but he already has crossed one century mark.
In his concluding remarks at this past weekend’s General Conference, he announced 17 new temples, upping his total to 100 since he took the Utah-based faith’s helm in 2018.
That’s 22 more than the late President Gordon B. Hinckley, who announced the second most in church history.
The 17 announced Sunday included eight in the United States — each in a different state — and nine in seven other countries. The new temples will be in:
• Brazzaville, Republic of Congo (the first Latter-day Saint temple in that African nation). There are three existing or planned temples in the Democratic Republic of Congo, a separate country.
• Wellington, New Zealand (the nation’s third).
• Barcelona, Spain (the nation’s second).
• Birmingham, England (Great Britain’s third).
• Cusco, Peru (the South American nation’s fifth).
• Maceio and Santos, Brazil (the largest South American nation’s 15th and 16th; it also has the most Latter-day Saint temples after the U.S. and Mexico).
• San Luis Potosi and Mexico City Benemérito, Mexico (the nation’s 18th and 19th).
• Tampa, Fla. (the state’s fourth).
• Knoxville, Tenn. (the state’s third).
• Cleveland, Ohio (the state’s second).
• Wichta, Kan. (the state’s first).
• Austin, Texas (the state’s seventh).
• Missoula, Mont. (the state’s third).
• Montpelier, Idaho (the state’s ninth).
• Modesto, Calif. (the state’s 10th).
“These 17 temples will bless countless lives on both sides of the veil,” said Nelson, urging members “to counter worldly ways by focusing on the eternal blessings of the temple.”
The global faith of 16.8 million members now has 282 existing or planned temples around the world. Even so, many nations with Latter-day Saint populations still have no such edifices.
Matt Martinich, an independent researcher who tracks church movement at ldschurchgrowth.blogspot.com, has noted that, before Sunday’s news, Republic of Congo, with its 8,542 Latter-day Saints, ranked fourth on his list of countries with the most members and no existing or planned temple.
Higher on his tally — and still without a Latter-day Saint temple — are Uganda (17,887 members), Mongolia (12,261 members) and Malaysia (10,845 members).
Nelson did not announce any new temples in Utah, which has 28 existing or planned temples.
Latter-day Saints view a temple as a House of the Lord, where the faithful participate in the faith’s highest rites, including eternal marriage.