The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has announced the reopening of 18 more temples on May 25 as part of phase one of four phases that will end with all worldwide temples open for normal service.
The announcement was made Monday as 34 temples opened for phase one service. As of Monday’s openings that will put a total of 52 temples in phase one service.
In a never-before-event, President Russell M. Nelson, and his counselors President Dallin H. Oaks and President Henry B. Eyring, announced in March that all temples worldwide would close due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“After careful and prayerful consideration, and with a desire to be responsible global citizens, we have decided to suspend all temple activity churchwide at the end of the day on March 25, 2020. This is a temporary adjustment, and we look forward to the day when the temples will reopen,” the official First Presidency statement said.
According to proper safety protocols set by the First Presidency, “The reopening of temples will proceed in a cautious and carefully planned and coordinated manner based on local government restrictions and as authorized by the Temple Department.”
The four phases of opening the temples are designed to reduce risk, accommodate the demand and capacity of the temple, and observe any relevant health restrictions in the temple district.
Phase 1: Living husband-and-wife sealings by appointment
Perform living sealings only for previously endowed members under strict guidelines and safety precautions.
Phase 2: Open for all living ordinances only
Perform all temple ordinances for living individuals.
Maintain closure of patron housing, clothing and cafeteria operations.
Phase 3: Open for all ordinances with restrictions
Continue providing ordinances for living individuals.
Provide proxy ordinances for ancestors in a restricted manner.
Open patron housing, clothing and cafeteria operations as needed.
Phase 4: Open for full operations
Resume regular temple operations.
Members can see the opening status of their specific temple and any restrictions by going to http://Temples.ChurchofJesusChrist.org. Temple presidents also will work with Area Seventies to share information on the reopening status of their assigned temple.
While members await temples to open they also have been watching with interest the renovation processes with the St. George Temple and the Salt Lake Temple.
On Monday, crews on Temple Square were working to remove the angel Moroni statue and capstone which stood atop the Salt Lake Temple, according to Daniel Woodruff, church spokesman.
The statue was damaged during a 5.7 magnitude earthquake that struck west of Salt Lake City on March 18, according to the church. The trumpet that Moroni holds was loosened and fell from his hand and was lodged on one of the lower spires.
“This has long been planned as part of the temple renovation, but the timeline to do so was accelerated following the earthquake in March,” Woodruff said in a church statement. “The statue and capstone will be preserved and refurbished before being reinstalled at a later date.”
Woodruff added, work also continues to remove stones from the upper spires of the temple for preservation during the project. Those stones will be reinstalled in the future.
The church’s iconic legacy temple closed Dec. 29, for renovation and seismic upgrades. The construction project is expected to take four years.