Kinshasa Democratic Republic of the Congo Temple
Members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints around the world were delighted when President Thomas S. Monson announced plans for the Kinshasa Democratic Republic of the Congo Temple at the opening session of the 181st Semiannual General Conference of the Church. Kinshasa, the country’s capital and largest city, houses the first Latter-day Saint temple built in the nation and in Central Africa. The Kinshasa Democratic Republic of Congo Temple is the fourth Latter-day Saint temple built on the African continent. The three previously built temples in Africa are in Johannesburg, South Africa (dedicated in 1985); Accra, Ghana (2004); and Aba, Nigeria (2005). As of April 2022, the total number of temples in Africa either in operation, under construction, or announced is twenty-one. (See Geographical List of Temples.)
The Democratic Republic of the Congo has experienced rapid membership growth since the first stake of the Church in Kinshasa was created in 1996. At the time of the announcement, there were 9 stakes in the combined conurbation of Kinshasa-Brazzaville with a total of 15 stakes and 4 districts in the countries of the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Republic of the Congo. Congolese members traveled more than 2,100 miles (3,200 kilometers) to Johannesburg, South Africa, to enjoy temple worship and ordinance work. Unreliable public transportation made the journey to the Johannesburg South Africa Temple difficult. The Kinshasa Democratic Republic of the Congo Temple is a tremendous blessing to over 23,000 Church members spread throughout the vast region of Central Africa.
The completed temple features one instruction room, one sealing room, a celestial room and a baptistry. In instruction rooms, Church members learn about the purpose of life and make promises to live faithfully. Marriages are performed in sealing rooms, and Latter-day Saints believe families can be sealed, or joined, not only for this life but for eternity. The celestial room symbolizes eternal life in the presence of God and Jesus Christ.
- 1 Rapid Church Growth in Africa
- 2 Establishment of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Kinshasa
- 3 Temple Site
- 4 Groundbreaking Ceremony
- 5 Kinshasa Democratic Republic of the Congo Temple Open House
- 6 A Look Inside the Kinshasa Democratic Republic of the Congo Temple
- 7 Kinshasa Democratic Republic of the Congo Temple Dedicatory Services
- 8 Temples in Africa
- 9 External Links
- 10 Videos of the Church in the DR Congo
Rapid Church Growth in Africa
The construction of Latter-day Saint temples (temples are separate from chapels, where members gather for weekly worship services), no matter the location, is a sign of not only a Latter-day Saint community that is strong and mature but also one that is growing. The fact that the Church in Africa has grown exponentially in the past 40 years is surprising to even those who understand the culture and complexity of this vast region of the globe - whether they are leaders and converts living and serving in Africa, or those who journey to Salt Lake City, Utah, to help guide the affairs of the global Church.
In 2014, more than 12,000 people were baptized and became members of the Church in Southeast Africa (about 4 percent of growth Churchwide) and 24,000 people were baptized and became members in West Africa (about 8 percent of the 296,000 converts around the globe). And in 2015, growth merited the creation of the Church’s first two stakes (groups of congregations under the direction of an ecclesiastical leader) in Mozambique. Also in 2015, the Church created 17 new stakes (each similar in size to a diocese) throughout Africa.
An understanding of historical context helps appreciation for the rapid growth in membership that has occurred. In Africa 40 years ago, the Church had 137 separate congregations and about 22,000 members. At the time of the temple's announcement, there were more than 1,600 congregations and half a million members — that’s 11 times more wards and branches and 20 times more members than in 1985.
Establishment of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Kinshasa
Kinshasa’s first Latter-day Saint missionaries arrived in February 1986. Church services were organized in members’ homes until September of that year when the remodeled villa the Church purchased was ready to accommodate its 208 members. By July 1987, there were 300 members in the country, many of them young men and young families. Nine years after the Zaire Kinshasa Mission was established, the first stake (or group of local congregations) was organized.
The Kinshasa Democratic Republic of the Congo Temple is constructed next to the Kinshasa Democratic Republic of the Congo Stake Center on land that has been reserved for several years. An institute and seminary building also operates on the 10-acre property, as well as a patron housing facility. The temple is located at Avenue de l'OUA, Commune de Ngaliema, Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of Congo.
The sacred edifice located in the Quartier Bosoko, Ngaliema, area of Kinshasa is situated on nearly five acres. Stone from Egypt and porcelain tile from South Africa covers the floors of the building, which is over 12,000 square feet. The interior design features a subtle elegant geometric and diamond motif. Landscaping offers a vibrant array of local flora in contrast to the white plaster exterior and zinc roof.
The ground was broken for the Kinshasa Democratic Republic of the Congo Temple on Friday, 12 February 2016. Attendance at the ceremony was by invitation only, with the general public invited to view the proceedings live from local meetinghouses. Elder Neil L. Andersen of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints presided. He was joined by other leaders of the Church and in the community.
During remarks to the Latter-day Saints and members of the community, Elder Andersen commented, "This holy house will also bless the country and the people who surround it, whether or not they are members of the Church. It will be a light upon a hill, and the glory of the Lord will be upon it." He also paid tribute to the people of Africa and of the Democratic Republic of the Congo. He stated, "They are a spiritual people. They trust in God and they pray to God. Our Heavenly Father loves His sons and daughters here and answers their prayers."
Attending the groundbreaking were a number of government and religious leaders and 800 Latter-day Saints. Members of the Area Presidency, Elders Carl B. Cook and Kevin S. Hamilton, and their wives attended as well as Elders Jean Claude Mabaya, Wembo Lono, and Alfred Kyungu of the Seventy.
Kinshasa Democratic Republic of the Congo Temple Open House
The free public open house began on Tuesday, 12 March 2019, and continued through Saturday, 30 March 2019, except for the Sundays of March 17 and 24. Members of the media, as well as local dignitaries and government leaders, were invited for a special preview of the temple on Monday, 11 March 2019, prior to the public open house.
A Look Inside the Kinshasa Democratic Republic of the Congo Temple
The pictures in this gallery were taken from the Church Newsroom.
Kinshasa Democratic Republic of the Congo Temple Dedicatory Services
On Sunday, 14 April 2019, under a beautiful African sky, hundreds of members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints gathered to witness a historic moment - the dedication of the Kinshasa Democratic of the Republic of the Congo Temple.
Elder Dale G. Renlund of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles led the dedication and performed the cornerstone ceremony, which symbolizes the completion of the temple and its readiness to be dedicated for sacred use. He was accompanied by his wife Sister Ruth Renlund, members of the Africa Southeast Area Presidency and their wives, and other leaders.
In his dedicatory prayer, Elder Renlund offered a blessing upon the people of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, that they may be provided for in their needs and that there may be continued peace in the country. He also gave a blessing upon the members of the Church that they may be made strong amidst their challenges.
In his remarks at the dedication ceremony, Elder Joseph W. Sitati, a member of the Africa Southeast Area Presidency, highlighted the significant growth in the number of temples of the Church worldwide, and the blessings that these holy edifices bring to the lives of the members of the church and the countries in which they are located.
The dedication of the Kinshasa Democratic Republic of the Congo Temple marks an important milestone for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in the DRC, the largest country in Sub-Saharan Africa by area. The history of the Church in the DRC dates to the 1970s when the first Congolese converts were baptized in Europe.
The Kinshasa Democratic Republic of the Congo Temple is the 163rd operating temple of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints worldwide and the fourth operating temple on the African continent.
Temples in Africa
- Aba Nigeria Temple
- Abidjan Ivory Coast Temple
- Accra Ghana Temple
- Antananarivo Madagascar Temple
- Beira Mozambique Temple
- Benin City Nigeria Temple
- Brazzaville Republic of the Congo Temple
- Cape Town South Africa Temple
- Durban South Africa Temple
- Eket Nigeria Temple
- Freetown Sierra Leone Temple
- Harare Zimbabwe Temple
- Johannesburg South Africa Temple
- Kananga Democratic Republic of the Congo Temple
- Kinshasa Democratic Republic of the Congo Temple
- Kumasi Ghana Temple
- Lagos Nigeria Temple
- Lubumbashi Democratic Republic of the Congo Temple
- Monrovia Liberia Temple
- Nairobi Kenya Temple
- Praia Cape Verde Temple
- Official Kinshasa Democratic Republic of the Congo Temple page
- Kinshasa Democratic Republic of the Congo Temple page
- Ground Broken for First Central Africa Temple (News Release)
- With Kinshasa Temple Groundbreaking, Church Growing Rapidly in Africa
- What is the Purpose of the Temple