President Nelson announces 'Rexburg North Temple' during general conference

Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints President Russell M. Nelson announced the “Rexburg North Temple” during Saturday’s final session of the faith’s General Conference.

Rexburg will be getting a second Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints Temple.

During the faith’s weekend General Conference, Church President Russell M. Nelson announced the “Rexburg North Temple.”

Most Church temples are named after the city in which they are constructed, and the name “Rexburg North Temple” possibly means the new temple will possibly be built in north Rexburg that’s comprised of farm land.

Rexburg Mayor Jerry Merrill said he was delighted the Church confirmed another temple would be built here. Merrill had an inkling Nelson might announce a second Rexburg Temple as Church officials had called Merrill earlier this year and asked him about the possibility of a second temple. He didn’t say anything to anyone because the Church asked him not to, Merrill said.

“I knew they were considering it, but I didn’t know for sure. You never know for sure until they make the announcement,” Merrill said. “(When) I had a conversation with people from the church, they were asking about what the city’s attitude would be toward a second temple.”

The current Rexburg Temple is located on a hill overlooking the community at 750 S. Second East. The Church News reports that the Rexburg Temple is 57,504 square feet and serves around 45,000 Latter-day Saints.

Once a second temple is built, Rexburg would be only one of two cities under a certain population to have two temples.

“You realize we’re only the second city under 100,000 people — in the world — to have two temples. Provo has two and now Rexburg will have two,” he said.

Merrill said the new temple would possibly serve Church members in Sugar City, St. Anthony, Ashton, and parts of Montana.

Sugar City Second Ward Bishop Glade Pennock said he was delighted to hear the news.

“It’s a great thing. There was a need for a second one,” he said. “I was really hoping for a Sugar City Temple. I thought that would be the sweetest temple on earth.”

The announcement of another Gem State temple comes on the heels of the completion of the Pocatello Temple. At that temple, Church officials are hosting an open house from now through October 23.

The Rexburg North Temple is the second one in Idaho to be announced since the Church’s April 2021 General Conference where Nelson announced plans for a Burley Temple. Currently, there are five operating temples in the Gem State: Rexburg, Idaho Falls, Twin Falls, Boise and the Meridian. The only other state that has more temples is Utah which has 17.

During the conference, Nelson also announced 12 other temples to be built in the following places: Fort Worth, Texas; Cody, Wyoming, Heber Valley, Utah; Kaohsiung, Taiwan; Tacloban City, Philippines; Monrovia, Liberia; Kananga, Democratic Republic of the Congo; Antananarivo, Madagascar; Culiacán, México; Vitória, Brazil; La Paz, Bolivia; and Santiago West, Chile. President Nelson has announced 83 new temples since he became the Church’s president in 2018.

“It was funny, (Nelson) was announcing all these exotic locations like Monrovia, and then he announced Rexburg Idaho North. That’s kind of crazy,” Merrill said.

Merrill said the addition of a second Rexburg Temple will help provide more opportunities for Latter-day Saints to serve.

“I think it will probably be good to have a second one. You’ve got more capacity that way. The parking is less of an issue if you’ve got a second one — all those kinds of things,” he said.

With Rexburg’s Brigham Young University-Idaho population continually increasing, there will be more attendance at the current temple, Merrill said.

“As BYU-I continues to grow, the Temple will probably continue to be more busy. It’s good to have a second one. There are a lot of other folks who want to attend and serve in the temple,” he said.

Earlier this year, the Public Religion Research Institute published its 2020 Census of American Religion where it reported 68% of Madison County’s population are members of the Church. That is just slightly less than Utah County, Utah, that reports 72% of its population as Latter-day Saints.

Merrill said that a Temple provides for many positive things in a community.

“Number one, the temple brings a special spirit to the surrounding areas. People have a little bit of a feeling of reverence, kindness, and spirituality that it brings to the area. It just helps the whole community to feel better about ourselves and toward others,” he said.

A Temple also helps the community economically, Merrill said.

“People from out of town, who come to the temple, stop and get lunch or dinner, stop and shop or whatever,” he said. “And just in the area where temples are built, generally those areas will develop sooner with commercial shops and homes. They’ll usually build homes around them too. There’s a lot of different ways having a temple in the area will benefit the community.”