President Thomas S. Monson announced plans to build temples in Tucson, Arizona, and Arequipa, Peru, today during the morning session of the Church’s 182st Semiannual General Conference. Exact locations of the temples will be announced at a later date.
The Tucson, Arizona Temple will be the sixth in the state. Three of the other five temples in Mesa, Snowflake, and The Gila Valley have been dedicated and are operating, while those in Phoenix and Gilbert are under construction. There are approximately 400,000 Church members in Arizona.
Peru is home to approximately 30 million people including over a half million members of the Church. The Arequipa temple will be the third in the South American country where missionary work officially began in 1956. Church members in Arequipa, Peru’s second most populous city, currently attend temple services in Lima, which is almost five hundred miles away.
Members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints consider temples to be the “house of the Lord,” the most sacred places on earth. Unlike meetinghouses, where Sabbath worship and weekly activities take place, temples are open throughout the week and closed on Sundays.
Temple attendance strengthens Latter-day Saints in their efforts to follow Jesus Christ. In the temple, sacred ceremonies connect families forever and explain God’s plan for His children.
There are currently 139 operating temples worldwide and, with today’s announcement, 29 temples announced or under construction