SALT LAKE CITY - Thomas S. Monson, president of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints announced on Saturday, during the morning session of the faith's 182st Semiannual General Conference, plans to build temples in Tucson, Ariz., and Arequipa, Peru. Exact locations of the temples will be announced at a later date.
The Tucson Temple will be the sixth in the state. Three of the other five temples, in Mesa, Snowflake, and Gila Valley, have been dedicated and are operating, while those in Phoenix and Gilbert are under construction. Approximately 400,000 Church members are in Arizona.
Peru is home to approximately 30 million people, including more than a half-million members of the Church, states a news release from the Church. The Arequipa temple will be the third in the South American country, where missionary work officially began in 1956. Church members in Arequipa, Peru's second most populous city, currently attend temple services in Lima, which is almost 500 miles away.
Members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints consider temples to be the "house of the Lord," the most sacred places on earth, the release states. Unlike meetinghouses, where Sabbath worship and weekly activities take place, temples are open throughout the week and closed on Sundays.
There are currently 139 operating temples worldwide and, with today's announcement, 29 temples announced or under construction.