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Latter-day Saint Temples in the Americas
The temples of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints are separate and distinct from their meetinghouses. There many thousands of Latter-day Saint churches and meetinghouses in the world, but relatively few temples. Temples are not used for regular sabbath worship services, but only for sacred rituals and ordinances such as marriages, baptisms by proxy on behalf of deceased ancestors, and instruction.
Below is a list of independent nations of the Americas (South America, North America, Central America, plus associated island nations), and counts of how many Latter-day Saint temples, if any, are in each.
Source: Nations list and population figures: CIA geography data; Temple information: Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and various sources.
There are 35 independent nations classified as part of the Americas (including North and South America, plus associated island nations).
There are Latter-day Saint temples already in operation, under construction, or planned for 15 of these nations. Most of the American nations without temples are smaller island nations.
Of the 12 nations of the Americas with populations greater than 10 million people, only Cuba has no temple. Under the Communist rule of the Castro regime, Cuba's government has been officially atheist and antagonistic towards most religion, including the previously thriving Cuban Catholic community. In the last few years government anti-religious sentiment has softened. But Latter-day Saint missionaries are still not allowed into Cuba and there are only a handful of Latter-day Saints in the country.
Of the 24 American nations with populations of more than 1 million people, 9 of them do not have Latter-day Saint temples in operation or planned: Cuba, Haiti, El Salvador, Honduras, Paraguay, Nicaragua, Panama, Jamaica, Trinidad and Tobago. Haiti has about 5,000 members, but is located on the same island as the Dominican Republic, where a large temple is now nearing completion. Of these nations, El Salvador, Honduras, Paraguay, Nicaragua and Panama all have Latter-day Saint communities of at least 20,000 members and might be possible sites for future temples. But perhaps these countries are served sufficiently by temples in neighboring nations for now, so temples may not be planned for them until they have stronger and larger Latter-day Saint communities. (Paraguayans may be in the Buenos Aires or Sao Paulo temple districts; the other nations are in Central America, where a temple is in operation in Guatemala and another planned for Costa Rica).
Update: On 2 April 2000, a temple was announced for Ascuncion, Paraguay.
Of the American countries with populations of more than 1 million but without a temple planned or in operation, the Church may be strongest in Honduras, which has about 80,000 members. But Honduras borders Guatemala, which has a large temple and MTC complex.
Update, September 17, 2002: The First Presidency announced that a temple will be built in Panama City.
Dependent Territories of the Americas
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Web page created 14 May 1999. Last updated 17 September 2002.