In the opening remarks at the Sunday morning session of the Church’s 187th Annual General Conference, President Thomas S. Monson announced plans to build a temple in Nairobi, Kenya. Other new temples also to be built will be located in Brasília, Brazil; the greater Manila, Philippines, area; Pocatello, Idaho; and Saratoga Springs, Utah.
The five announced temples bring the total number of operating temples (155) and temples announced or under construction (27) to 182 temples worldwide.
'I was filled with emotion as President Monson announced the temple. I was delighted to hear that we are entering this great era of temple building both in Africa and other nations of the world. This is a great day,' said Elder Kevin. S. Hamilton, president of the Africa Southeast Area following the announcement.
Kenya is home to more than 48 million people with over 13,000 members of the Church. The temple will serve more than 30,000 members in East Africa. There are three operating temples in Africa (Aba, Nigeria; Accra, Ghana; and Johannesburg, South Africa), two under construction (Kinshasha, Democratic Republic of the Congo, and Durban, South Africa) and two more announced (in addition to Nairobi), including Abidjan, Ivory Coast; and Harare, Zimbabwe, for a total of eight temples in Africa.
'This is our time,' said Elder Joseph W. Sitati, a General Authority Seventy and a Kenyan. He said the announcement of the temple in Nairobi was especially gratifying because of the opportunity that the youth will now have to prepare themselves to serve in the temple and bless the lives of their ancestors through temple ordinances.
'This is exciting news for the youth because now they have the opportunity to truly get involved in family history work and bring the names of their ancestors to this temple when it is built. The time to do it is not when it is built but now. You need to start now, and anticipate this moment because it will be a time of great joy,' Elder Sitati added.
The proliferation of temples is set to make the blessings of the temples accessible to a lot more members of the Church. The Johannesburg Temple was the Church’s first temple on African soil when it was officially opened back in 1985.
Generally, construction of the temple can take anywhere from two to four years from the time that the temple is announced by the First Presidency. Members of the Church regard temples as the houses of the Lord Jesus Christ, where sacred ordinances are performed, including eternal marriages, family sealings and the baptisms for the dead.