SALT LAKE CITY– Months after the coronavirus pandemic halted certain temple ordinances and ceremonies, the First President of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints says four temples will enter Phase 3 of the church’s reopening plan.
Four temples enter Phase 3 of reopening plan
The Nuku’alofa Tonga Temple, Apia Samoa Temple, Brisbane Australia Temple, and Taipei Taiwan Temple are all slated to enter Phase 3 of reopening as soon as Dec. 21, 2020. Additionally, due to low COVID-19 transmission rates, churches in those areas meet local health guidelines allowing for gathering and worship.
The main addition to Phase 3 includes allowing temple work for deceased individuals, also known as baptisms for the dead, to take place. Along with this ordinance, the change allows for temple marriages, sealings, endowment and initiatory sessions as well.
In a video, Elder Dale G. Renlund of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles outlined how temples will proceed with Phase 3 and the importance of proxy baptisms.
“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,” said Elder Renlund.
What it means
Phase 3 will feature smaller numbers of both patrons and temple workers. Additionally, it means a limited temple schedule and attendance by appointment only, the church said in a statement.
In order to schedule an appointment to participate in a temple ordinance, Latter-day Saints in Phase 3 areas are asked to schedule an appointment online. The online appointments are only available for temples in Phase 3 of the reopening plan.
Before entering the temple, members will undergo a COVID-19 symptom screening. These screenings will occur by email when scheduling the appointment and in-person when members arrive at the temple.
All ceremonies will require face coverings, with the exception of baptisms. Temples will limit baptistry attendance to no more than 16 people in one group.
Temple workers will limit endowment sessions to 30% occupancy with physically distanced seating. They will seat members of the same household together.
When conducting ordinances involving the names of relatives, Latter-day Saints will need to print their own family cards. The temples will no longer print family names for temple attendees. Following the completion of an ordinance, the temple will record this information in FamilySearch. Family members will keep the cards.
“The temple is the house of the Lord, where holy ordinances are performed and sacred, meaningful worship takes place,” said Elder Gary E. Stevenson of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles. “As you faithfully adhere with happy, cheerful hearts to [these adjustments], you will be blessed, uplifted and strengthened.”
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How To Prevent the Spread of COVID-19 Coronavirus
COVID-19 coronavirus spreads person to person, similar to the common cold and the flu. So, to prevent it from spreading:
- Wash hands frequently and thoroughly, with soap and water, for at least 20 seconds.
- Don’t touch your face.
- Wear a mask to protect yourself and others per CDC recommendations.
- Keep children and those with compromised immune systems away from someone who is coughing or sneezing (in this instance, at least six feet).
- If there is an outbreak near you, practice social distancing (stay at home, instead of going to the movies, sports events, or other activities).
- Obtain a flu shot.
Utah Coronavirus Information Line – 1-800-456-7707
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