News Story

Announcement of Two Pacific Temples Brings Expressions of Joy

At the conclusion of the final session of the 190th Semiannual General Conference of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, came the moment many around the world had been waiting for—the announcement of new temples.  The announcement included two temples for the Pacific Area—Tarawa, Kiribati (pronounced Kiribas) and Port Vila, Vanuatu. 

For an article and video of reactions from Church members in Vanuatu to the news, click here

A Newsroom article about the new temples states, "This will be the first temple in Kiribati, an island nation in the Pacific Ocean near the international dateline. There are nearly 21,000 Latter-day Saints spread throughout some 40 congregations — approximately one-sixth of the population. The Church of Jesus Christ operates Moroni High School in Kiribati."

 There are currently ten temples in the Pacific with four more announced or under construction in Auckland New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, American Samoa, and Tonga.

The closest temple to Kribati is in Fiji, over 2,100 km away, at a travel cost of $1,000 AUD, more than most make in a year. 

The following are reactions of some of the locals: 

"Hooray! Hooray! Hooray! I am really excited and looking forward to these two temples. What a blessing that we have. Thank you Heavenly Father for giving us a temple in our Home Island. So wonderful! This is the best day of my life. Yayyyyyy!" Amelzy Salamina

"Oh, my heart is full to the brim. Truly the Lord is mindful of each of His children." Tasi Talataina

“YES, I just heard! We are so happy, and we are all crying!” Eritai Kateibwi, 2017 Young Champion of the Earth for Asia & the Pacific for The United Nations

“Thank you!!!!!! I am crying!!!!! My joy is full!!!!” Tamana Natanaera, Area Self-reliance Services Manager for Kiribati and Tarawa Kiribati North District President

"I don't even know how to express how happy I am. I am so grateful for this exciting and wonderful news. 

"My messenger and e-mail is blowing up as my brothers and sisters from all over the world are marvelling with the kind of soul delight that is difficult to explain. A temple of God in Kiribati. I'm crying again. 

"[On] an island as tiny as Kiribati, I never thought we'd have a temple. I quietly scoffed whenever I heard someone say such a thing as I thought it sounded impossible and implausible. I thought we were too poor and too few to justify a temple being built for us.

"How wrong I was! How humbling and exciting. I can't help the feeling of incredibly special times ahead for our islands."  Ruth Cross, President of Rotary Club of Tarawa.  

The Tarawa Kiribati East Stake held a special temple fireside a few weeks after the announcement was made. During the fireside, members and leaders expressed their joy and gratitude for President Nelson's announcement of the construction of a temple in Kiribati.

One woman attended the temple for the first time many years ago but has not been able to return to the temple because she could not afford the trip. She expressed her joy and gratitude to God for the temple announcement. She hopes to live long enough to see it completed so she can enter the temple again.

© 2020 by Intellectual Reserve, Inc. All rights reserved.

A website which explains some of the basic beliefs of Latter-day Saints,, includes this brief explanation of temples: "Temples are literally houses of the Lord. They are places where individuals can go to make sacred promises with God, feel His spirit, and escape from the hectic demands of day-to-day life."

Many in Kiribati are looking forward to the day in the not-too-distant future when they will have a temple in their own country.   

The sun rises over Tarawa, Kiribati.
The sun rises over Tarawa, Kiribati. © 2020 by Intellectual Reserve, Inc. All rights reserved.


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