News Release

Papua New Guinean Saints Rejoice as Ground is Broken for New Temple

Attendees at groundbreaking event include Latter-day Saints who walked four days across mountains on the famous Kokoda Trail

Members and friends of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Port Moresby gathered on 22 April for a groundbreaking event to officially commence the construction of the Port Moresby Papua New Guinea Temple.

Elder Peter F. Meurs and Sister Maxine Meurs (back row, left) with leaders, youth and young adults who walked the Kokoda Trail from Popondetta to Port Moresby (about 96km over mountains) to attend the Port Moresby Papua New Guinea Temple groundbreaking. The group completed the challenging walk in four days.© 2023 by Intellectual Reserve, Inc. All rights reserved.

Elder Peter F. Meurs, a General Authority Seventy of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and a member of the Church’s Pacific Area Presidency, presided at the service. He was accompanied by his wife, Sister Maxine Meurs.

Elder Robert Gordon, Area Seventy, accompanied Elder and Sister Meurs. 

Elder Meurs spoke about the restored gospel of Jesus Christ, the purpose of temples, and the faith of local Latter-day Saints, before offering a dedicatory prayer.

Excerpts from the prayer include the following:

“We ask thee to bless this site during the construction period. May it be a place of peace and harmony. May those that participate in the temple construction be inspired. May they find joy in delivering work that meets the exacting standards required for a House of the Lord. May they be protected from harm, injury, accident or sickness.

We pray for the surrounding communities. May the emerging temple become a symbol of peace and blessings for them. May it plant in the hearts of the children the promises made to the fathers and cause the hearts of the children to turn to the fathers.

We pray that our church members will be inspired through the construction period to strengthen their faith in Thy son Jesus Christ. May they turn to Him and receive His healing and redeeming power. May they reach out with love to friends that have stumbled on the covenant path and help them to return to the sacrament ordinance, where we remember the sacrifice of Thy Son and the sacred covenants, we have made with Him.”

After the dedicatory prayer, Elder Meurs, and his wife, Sister Maxine Meurs, as well as honoured guests and local leaders, turned the soil with shovels, formally marking the commencement of construction of the temple.

Honoured guests who attended the event included His Excellency, Sir Bob Dadae, Governor General of Papua New Guinea; Tauvasa Tanuvasa Chou-Lee, Solicitor General; and Joe Zadrozny, Chargé d’Affaires, U.S. Embassy to Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands and Vanuatu.

Other dignitaries in attendance included government officials, business leaders, and customary landowners.

Church members, including current and former leadership from across the country were in attendance. A group of 18 men walked the 100km Kokoda Track to be at the groundbreaking.

For many years, members of the Church in Papua New Guinea have needed to travel to Australia or other overseas locations to worship in the faith’s temples.

The Port Moresby Papua New Guinea Temple was announced in 2019 by the faith’s worldwide leader, President Russell M. Nelson, whom adherents revere as an Apostle of Jesus Christ and a Prophet of God.

The construction will take a number of years and will be dedicated after a public open house for neighbours, government officials, news media, and other members of the public.

There are 315 temples which are operating, under construction or announced around the world. Houses of the Lord are different to the Church of Jesus Christ’s meetinghouses, of which there are tens of thousands around the world including 85 in Papua New Guinea. Members and visitors are welcome to worship in these meetinghouses each Sunday in worship services which involve sermons by members of the congregation, sacred hymns, scripture classes and fellowship.

Members of the Church worship in temples for several reasons including to feel God’s love and peace, to learn more about God’s plan for His children and the gospel of Jesus Christ, to make promises with God and with one’s husband or wife, and to unite families in this life and the next through sacred ordinances.

Style Guide Note:When reporting about The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, please use the complete name of the Church in the first reference. For more information on the use of the name of the Church, go to our online Style Guide.