Salt Lake City, Utah - When the newly announced Mormon Temples are completed, 85 percent of the 14 million members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints will live within 200 miles of a temple it was announced by President Thomas S. Monson.
Currently there are 134 operating temples in countries throughout the world. There are an additional 26 that have been announced or are under construction. Three were announced at the April 2-3, 2011 181st Annual General Conference of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints which was broadcast to thousands of Latter-day Saint (LDS) meetinghouses in 93 languages.
President Monson, considered by LDS members to be a Prophet of God, spoke at the conference about the recent ground-breaking ceremony of the Rome, Italy Temple. He also announced plans for temples in Meridian, Idaho, Ft. Collins, Colorado and Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada. He said these and other additional temples make it easier for Latter-day Saints to receive the blessings that come from temple attendance.
"A positive day for Italy because those who profess to obey the laws of the state and the laws of God make the country in which they live a better place," said Italian Senator Lucio Malan after participating in the ground-breaking ceremony. Although he is not a Latter-day Saint, Malan had played a role in getting the necessary approvals for construction of the temple. The temple in Rome will bring the number of temples in Europe to 12.
There are many stories of LDS individuals and families who have sacrificed everything they have for the opportunity to attend a far-away temple. President Monson gave examples of people who worked hard for many years to earn the money to make a difficult journey of thousands of miles to be able to go to a temple.
The growth of temples around the world mean that such sacrifices will no longer be needed, but he explained that other sacrifices are still necessary. Those who live close to a temple may need to sacrifice time from other activities to attend the temple often.
Others who have not yet attended a temple may need to sacrifice in order to prepare their life so they can go to the temple. Teenagers living close to a temple were asked to sacrifice by getting up early to go to the temple before going to school.
President Monson explained that LDS faithful have regularly sacrificed in order to attend a temple because of their desire to receive the blessings that come from participation in the ordinances provided within a temple.
“Those who understand the eternal blessings which come from the temple know that no sacrifice is too great, no price too heavy, no struggle too difficult in order to receive those blessings. There are never too many miles to travel, too many obstacles to overcome or too much discomfort to endure. They understand that the saving ordinances received in the temple that permit us to someday return to our Heavenly Father in an eternal family relationship and to be endowed with blessings and power from on high are worth every sacrifice and every effort,” said President Monson.
Latter-day Saint temples differ from the Church’s meetinghouses or chapels where members meet for Sunday worship services. Temples are considered “houses of the Lord” where Christ's teachings are reaffirmed through marriage, baptism and other ordinances that unite families for eternity. In the temple, Church members learn more about the purpose of life and strengthen their commitment to serve Jesus Christ and those around them.
“I express my undying gratitude to my Heavenly Father for the temple now being built in Rome and for all of our temples, wherever they are. Each one stands as a beacon to the world, an expression of our testimony that God our Eternal Father lives, that He desires to bless us and, indeed, to bless His sons and daughters of all generations. Each of our temples is an expression of our testimony that life beyond the grave is as real and as certain as is our life here on earth,” said President Monson.