The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS) has announced plans to construct 15 new temples in various cities across the world, including Springfield.
Missouri is currently home to two temples: Kansas City and St. Louis temples were dedicated in 2012 and 1997, respectively.
The Springfield temple would provide a place of worship for the state’s 75,000+ church members involved in 160 congregations, according to the Church.
The Springfield Metro area is home to 8,000 members, according to Dale Rodman, Springfield stake president for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Rodman oversees 10 congregations, in the north and east parts of the Springfield area.
“It’s a significant blessing for us not to have to travel,” Rodman said in an interview with the Springfield Daily Citizen. “That’s the big impact right there for all the members here. So this was a big deal for us and something that’s been anticipated and hoped for many, many years.”
Rodman recalled a time when members would have to travel to the temple in Salt Lake City, the headquarters of the LDS Church, for worship and ceremonies. That distance was shortened to Dallas in 1984, St. Louis in 1997, Kansas City in 2012 and, beginning this summer, Bentonville, Ark.
But when the Springfield temple is completed, members won’t have to travel far from their own communities at all.
According to an April 2 press release announcing the new temples, Independence, Mo. and surrounding counties were an important gathering place for Latter-day Saints in the early days of the Church in the 1830s.
Sabbath Day worship services are held at chapels, or regular meetinghouses, as well as weekday activities and other events.
Temples, on the other hand, are reserved as a “special” place of worship and where sacred ceremonies, such as marriages, take place. Temples are not open on the Sabbath and, unlike chapels, are not open to the public, except for a short period of time after the temple is built, during which it is open for public tours, according to the Church.
The location and construction timeline of the proposed Springfield temple were not provided in the release, and an attempt to contact the LDS Church headquarters was unsuccessful.
Rodman told the Daily Citizen that they have yet to announce a site, and anticipates finding out in “the next two months or so,” which will eventually be followed by construction, which he said typically lasts two to three years.
In a story from Church News, the official publication of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, area members and leaders of the church expressed excitement in having a temple built in Springfield.
“First, it will reduce travel time to a temple where people are able to make sacred covenants with the Lord and participate in ordinances that can enable family relationships to continue beyond this mortal life,” said David J. Harris, a Southwest Missouri Church leader, in the Church news story.
A Springfield Missouri Temple Facebook page was established on April 2, and had garnered more than 860 followers by the afternoon of April 3.
The announcement of the 15 new temples came during the final session of the April 2023 General Conference.
In addition to Springfield, temples will be built in the following locations:
- Retalhuleu, Guatemala
- Iquitos, Peru
- Teresina, Brazil
- Natal, Brazil
- Tuguegarao City, Philippines
- Iloilo, Philippines
- Jakarta, Indonesia
- Hamburg, Germany
- Lethbridge, Alberta, Canada
- San Jose, California
- Bakersfield, California
- Winchester, Virginia
- Charlotte, North Carolina
- Harrisburg, Pennsylvania