SALT LAKE CITY — For the second time this year, President Thomas S. Monson did not announce any new temples at the start of an LDS general conference, but he said Saturday morning that the church will dedicate or rededicate five temples in 2015, the most since 2012.
"Our temple building continues in earnest," President Monson said at the start of the 184th Semiannual General Conference at the Conference Center in downtown Salt Lake City. "Next month the new Phoenix Arizona Temple will be dedicated, and next year, in 2015, we anticipate dedicating or rededicating at least five temples, with more possible, depending on completion.
"As I mentioned in April, when all the previously announced temples are constructed and dedicated, we will have 170 operating temples throughout the world. Because we are concentrating our efforts on completing temples which were previously announced, we are not at the present time announcing any new temples. However, in the future, as we identify needs and locate properties, announcements of additional temples will be made."
By the end of 2014, the church will have completed four temples. The church dedicated the Gilbert Arizona Temple in March and the Fort Lauderdale Florida Temple in May. Last month, President Monson rededicated the Ogden Utah Temple.
The public open house for the Phoenix Temple begins Friday and runs through Nov. 1. The temple will be dedicated on Nov. 16.
As President Monson said, it's possible the church will dedicate and rededicate more than five temples next year.
The last time the church dedicated and rededicated more than five temples in a year was in 2012, when it opened four new ones and two that had been renovated. The last time the church opened or re-opened more temples than that was in 2002, with nine.
If all five of the temples President Monson said he expects will be dedicated next year are new temples and none are rededications, it will be the most new temples dedicated in any year since 2002.
Other than the Phoenix Temple, 13 LDS temples are under construction. Two are expected to be completed early next year:
Cordoba, Argentina (Ground broken Oct. 30, 2010)
Payson, Utah (Ground broken Oct. 8, 2011)
Five others are in advanced stages of construction:
Trujillo, Peru (Ground broken Sept. 14, 2011)
Indianapolis (Ground broken Sept. 29, 2012)
Tijuana, Mexico (Ground broken Aug. 18, 2012)
Provo City Center (Ground broken May 12, 2012)
Rome (Ground broken Oct. 23, 2010)
Six more have farther to go:
Fort Collins, Colorado
Renderings and construction images of all of those temples were included in an infographic released by the church last month.
President Monson also referred to possible rededications in 2015. Two temples are being renovated and potentially could be completed:
Another 13 temples have been announced, which as President Monson mentioned will bring the church's total to 170.
Construction has not begun in earnest in Fortaleza, Brazil, but ground has been broken. Ground has not been broken on the other 12 — Concepción, Chile; Lisbon, Portugal; Urdaneta, Philippines; Winnipeg, Manitoba; Barranquilla, Colombia; Durban, South Africa; Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of the Congo; Star Valley, Wyoming; Tucson, Arizona; Arequipa, Peru; Cedar City, Utah; and Rio de Janeiro.
A temple-building surge has brought temples closer to more and more church members, according to a Deseret News story published this week. In the late 1970s, a Mormon lived an average of 450 miles from a temple. That average dropped to 220 miles as LDS temple-building accelerated through the mid-1990s. The biggest surge of temple construction came between 1999 and 2002, when church leaders dedicated 61 temples in four years.
Today, the average distance is about 90 miles, according to research by Brandon Plewe, editor in chief of the book "Mapping Mormonism."
The church has 143 operating temples. Phoenix will be No. 144. When those under construction are completed, the number will rise to 157.
In April, the church published a long article on the process of constructing temples. It covered how church leadership funds construction without debt, identifies the need for a temple and selects a site. It also provided information on the design phase and the construction phase.