The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints continues to make adjustments in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The First Presidency of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints released the following message on Monday, July 20, 2020, about changes to the temple endowment ceremony:
The sacred teachings, promises, and ceremonies of the temple are of ancient origin, and point God’s children to Him as they make further covenants and learn more about His plan, including the role of the Savior Jesus Christ.
Through inspiration, the methods of instruction in the temple experience have changed many times, even in recent history, to help members better understand and live what they learn in the temple.
Part of the temple experience includes the making of sacred covenants, or promises, to God. Most people are familiar with symbolic actions that accompany the making of religious covenants (such as prayer, immersion of an individual at baptism, or holding hands during a marriage ceremony). Similar simple, symbolic actions accompany the making of temple covenants.
With a concern for all and a desire to enhance the temple learning experience, recent changes have been authorized to the temple endowment ceremony. Given the sacredness of the temple ceremonies, we ask our members and friends not to engage in speculation or public discussions about these changes. Rather, we invite Church members to continue to look forward to the day when they may return and fully participate in sacred temple work prayerfully and gratefully.
Phased temple reopenings have been announced each week since May 11, 2020. Most temples are in Phase 1 of reopening. Beginning July 27, 12 temples will enter Phase 2. See a full list of temples and their current status.
Press release from Church Newsroom
The following 12 temples will begin Phase 2 of reopening on July 27, 2020.
- Billings Montana Temple
- Bismarck North Dakota Temple
- Columbus Ohio Temple
- Copenhagen Denmark Temple
- Frankfurt Germany Temple
- Freiberg Germany Temple
- Helsinki Finland Temple
- Seoul Korea Temple
- Stockholm Sweden Temple
- Taipei Taiwan Temple
- The Hague Netherlands Temple
- Winter Quarters Nebraska Temple
The first phase limited reopenings to a single ordinance, marriages known as sealings. Today, 115 of the church’s 168 temples have opened to perform marriage sealings in areas where local health conditions permit.
In Phase 2, two additional ordinances, endowments for living persons and sealings of children to parents in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, will be performed again in the temples.
In Phase 2, patron housing, clothing and cafeteria operations remain closed.
Phase 3 opens a temple for all ordinances, including proxy ordinances for ancestors, and opens patron housing, clothing and cafeteria operations. However, church leaders have indicated those proxy ordinances for ancestors will return in a restricted manner they have not yet outlined.
Phase 4 is a return to full operation, though church leaders have indicated full operations will be different than they were before the pandemic. In this phase, adjustments to temple schedules, seating arrangements and facilities will continue to increase safety.
The First Presidency announced the four-phase approach on May 7.
The 12 temples that will begin phase two in a week from today will probably be the first to be affected by the changes announced today.