EUGENE, Ore. --Twenty new LDS temples are set to be built across the world, including one in Eugene.
This announcement came during the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints’ General Conference on Sunday, announced by President Russell M. Nelson.
There are currently two temples in Oregon -- one in Portland and another in Medford.
It’s been 32 years since a temple was last built in Oregon.
Jeff Robinson is the Communications Director for the Eugene Oregon Stake of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.
“Yesterday was truly a historic moment for us when we were one of 20 new temples,” Robinson said. “And 20 by the way, is a huge number. We're talking places like Ghana, Mozambique, Vienna, Mexico and Colombia. And then, Eugene."
This is the second highest number of temples announced at one time in the history of the church.
Robinson described his thoughts when he heard the news.
“I was actually in tears,” Robinson said. “I was crying.”
Coburg resident Dana Bonham is a member.
“The temple symbolizes hope for so many,” Bonham said. “It's just a connection for us in a spiritual way but even in a physical and tangible way.”
She described how she felt when she heard that a temple will be coming to Eugene.
“So much excitement, so much happiness and honestly so much hope,” Bonham said.
So why Eugene?
Church leadership said that the Latter-day Saint settlement largely began with the arrival of Latter-day Saint businessmen in 1887. They built a lumber mill on the North Powder River and persuaded several hundred Latter-day Saint families to migrate to Oregon.
“The distance isn't just about Eugene and Springfield,” Robinson said. “It's about Florence. It's about Bend. It’s about Corvallis and Cottage Grove. These communities are all part of Lane County or just points outside of it that really have to travel even further distances to get to Medford or to Portland. I think it's really out of concern for the members of our church that live in all those areas.”
Anyone can visit the outside grounds and foyer, if one is constructed. Only members who commit to a certain level of devotion can enter the temple once dedicated. People who visit the temple will have the chance to walk through, make special covenants and even take photos.
Robinson said their will be an open house that will be advertised where groups of people can visit.
Here are the new locations for the temples:
- Oslo, Norway
- Brussels, Belgium
- Vienna, Austria
- Kumasi, Ghana
- Beira, Mozambique
- Cape Town, South Africa
- Singapore, Republic of Singapore
- Belo Horizonte, Brazil
- Cali, Colombia
- Querétaro, México
- Torreón, México
- Helena, Montana
- Casper, Wyoming
- Grand Junction, Colorado
- Farmington, New Mexico
- Burley, Idaho
- Eugene, Oregon
- Elko, Nevada
- Yorba Linda, California
- Smithfield, Utah
According to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints,’ there are nearly 154,000 members in Oregon with about 300 congregations.
“It’s not a church service per se,” Robinson said. “It's not like a normal communion or sacrament type of a Christian service, which is what we do in our chapels. It’s about making sacred covenants of eternal consequence with God. And it's also a place just for communion with God, a place of peace. Some people go into the temple and all they do is just meditate, ponder, think and relax. It's kind of at a higher level spiritually.”
KEZI 9 News did reach out to the official office of the LDS church for more information about the Eugene site but was told that the location and specific details about the groundbreaking have ot been released yet.
There are now 251 temples that have been announced, under construction or are operating.