President Russell M. Nelson, leader of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, announced 18 new temples Sunday afternoon, bringing the total tally of the faith’s existing or planned temples to 300.
None of the new temples will be built in Utah — the second General Conference in a row that Nelson has announced no additions to the list of 28 existing or planned temples in the Beehive State, where the global faith of 16.8 million members is headquartered.
The new structures will all go up in countries where the church already has at least one temple — Argentina, Brazil, Guatemala, Korea, Mexico, Nigeria, Peru, the Philippines, the United States. There are Latter-day Saint temples operating, under renovation, under construction or announced in 73 countries or territories around the world.
The 18 new temples Nelson announced on Sunday will be located in:
• Busan, Korea.
• Naga, Philippines.
• Santiago, Philippines.
• Eket, Nigeria.
• Chiclayo, Peru.
• Buenos Aires City Center, Argentina.
• Londrina, Brazil.
• Ribeirão Prêto, Brazil.
• Huehuetenango, Guatemala.
• Jacksonville, Fla.
• Grand Rapids, Mich.
• Prosper, Texas.
• Lone Mountain, Nev.
• Tacoma, Wash.
• Cuernavaca, Mexico.
• Pachuca, Mexico.
• Toluca, Mexico.
• Tula, Mexico.
The final four on the list are all in the Mexico City area. According to Nelson, the church is “planning to build multiple temples in selected large metropolitan areas where travel time to an existing temple is a major challenge.”
The number of existing or planned temples worldwide now numbers 300 — with 168 currently operating and 132 either under construction, in preconstruction or undergoing renovation, including the Salt Lake, St. George and Manti temples in Utah.
Since he took the church’s helm, Nelson has announced 118 new temples, nearly 40% of the total.
Latter-day Saints consider temples “Houses of the Lord,” places where devout members participate in their faith’s highest rites, including eternal marriages.
“It is his house,” Nelson said during Sunday afternoon’s closing session of General Conference. “It is filled with his power. Let us never lose sight of what the lord is doing for us. He is making his temples more accessible. He is accelerating the pace at which we are building temples. He is increasing our ability to help gather Israel.
“He is also making it easier for each of us to become spiritually refined,” he added. “I promise that increased time in the temple will bless your life in ways nothing else can.”
Independent researcher Matt Martinich, who tracks church movement at ldschurchgrowth.blogspot.com, was right on two of his 10 “most likely” places to have a temple announced at the fall General Conference. He predicted Santiago/Tuguegarao, Philippines, and Tacoma, Wash. He also correctly predicted new temples in Peru and Brazil, but didn’t hit on the right cities.