SALT LAKE CITY — Leaders of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints concluded their semiannual general conference announcing the future construction of eight new temples, including the first in the Middle East and a second in China. President Russell M. Nelson made the announcements during the fifth and final session of the conference Sunday afternoon.
President Nelson said, “The plan for a temple in Dubai comes in response to (country leader’s) gracious invitation, which we gratefully acknowledge.”
The new temple will be built in District 2020, the future legacy site of Expo 2020 Dubai, after that worldwide event concludes. The site will include both a meetinghouse and a temple.
President Nelson also tearfully explained that the dedication of a second Chinese temple, in Shanghai, was very important. “A modest multipurpose meeting place will provide a way for members to continue to participate in ordinances of the temple.”
He went on to state that the Shanghai Temple will only be for members in China to visit by appointment only. It will not be open for tourists from other countries.
The announcement was made as the Church’s 168 temples around the world were closed last month because of the COVID-19 outbreak. No date has been given for their re-opening.
During the Sunday morning session, President Nelson presented a proclamation in honor of the 200th anniversary of Joseph Smith’s First Vision, an event that members believe led to the church’s organization. The document that outlines core Latter-day Saint beliefs is called, “The Restoration of the Fulness of the Gospel of Jesus Christ: A Bicentennial Proclamation to the World.”
President Nelson introduced and delivered the proclamation in a previously-recorded video from the Sacred Grove in Palmyra, New York. The grove was the site of Smith’s visitation.
The Church has issued six proclamations in its 190 years. The others were made in 1841, 1845, 1865, 1980 and 1995.
The five sessions of general conference, which are usually held in the Church’s 21,000 seat Conference Center, were instead broadcast from an assembly room at the Church’s office building. The only people in attendance were those speaking, praying, and the Church’s First Presidency, to prevent possible spreading of the coronavirus. Each attendee sat 6 feet apart from one another. The music, traditionally performed live by the Tabernacle Choir and others, was also previously recorded.