Samoa’s Latter-day Saints Temple set to reopen

Samoa’s holy Temple of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints will progress to Phase 3 of its re-opening, leaders of the church in Salt Lake City in the U.S. have announced. 

The Apia Samoa Temple located in Pesega is one of four temples scheduled for its Phase 3 re-opening on 21 December, according to a media statement issued by the church.

The church's Nuku'alofa Tonga Temple, the Brisbane Australia Temple and the Taipei Taiwan Temple reopen on the same date.

“The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints began reopening its temples in May 2020 using a careful, cautious, four-phase approach to adapt to the COVID-19 pandemic,” according to a statement.

“Nearly all the faith’s 168 operating temples have reopened in Phase 1 (husband–wife sealings or marriages by appointment). Most temples have moved on to Phase 2 (open both for sealings and all other living ordinances).”

On 7 December, the First Presidency announced that the Samoa, Tonga, Brisbane and Taiwan Temples are preparing to enter Phase 3 of reopening as soon as December 21, 2020.

Phase 3 means the Temple will open for additional ordinances with restrictions

It includes everything allowed in Phases 1 and 2, with the addition of temple work on behalf of deceased individuals, the media statement says.

These four temples are in areas where the incidence of COVID-19 is low and the Church can meet local public health guidelines for gathering and worship.

A return to performing sacred and essential ordinances for one’s ancestors — especially during a pandemic that affects the most vulnerable among us — is a reminder of the common concern we should have for each other.

“As we anticipate performing more proxy ordinances in the temples, we do for others what they cannot do for themselves. Without these blessings, these deceased individuals are profoundly disadvantaged,” says Elder Dale G. Renlund of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles.

“The Savior taught that the second great commandment, after loving God, was ‘Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.’ As it relates to this pandemic, especially in temples that means social distancing, wearing a mask and not gathering in large groups. These steps demonstrate our love for others and provide us a measure of protection. Wearing a face covering is a sign of Christlike love for our brothers and sisters.”

Temples, the Church’s most sacred spaces, are where members carry out the faith’s fundamental responsibility to help gather people to God — both those who are living and those who have died.

“The essence of the Lord’s work is changing, turning, and purifying hearts through gospel covenants and priesthood ordinances,” says Elder David A. Bednar of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles. 

“As we become anxiously engaged in this sacred work, we are obeying the commandments to love and serve God and our neighbors. And such selfless service helps us truly to ‘Hear Him!’ and come unto the Savior.”

Because of the importance of temples to members of the Church, Elder Bednar says, “returning to the temples is something we have prayed for and looked forward to with great anticipation. We rejoice in the opportunity to again serve and worship in holy temples, even if our experience will be different because of constraining circumstances and additional sacrifices we are asked to make.”

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