Nairobi Kenya Temple

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A rendering of the Nairobi Kenya Temple. All rights reserved. ©2021 Intellectual Reserve, Inc.

During his opening remarks on 2 April 2017, at the Sunday morning session of the 187th annual general conference of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, President Thomas S. Monson announced that a new temple would be constructed in the city of Nairobi, Kenya. It will be the eighth temple constructed on the continent of Africa and the first built in Kenya.

There are three operating African temples, including the Aba Nigeria Temple, Accra Ghana Temple, and the Johannesburg South Africa Temple. Two temples are under construction, including the Kinshasa Democratic Republic of Congo Temple and the Durban South Africa Temple. Two other temples, in addition to Nairobi, have been announced — the Abidjan Ivory Coast Temple and the Harare Zimbabwe Temple.[1]

The Church in Kenya started with the 1979 baptisms of a family of four. Today, nearly 15,000 Latter-day Saints reside in the country. There are two stakes, six districts, and 54 congregations operating in the nation of Kenya with both stakes headquartered in the capital city of Nairobi. There are also three stakes in neighboring Uganda. Many other Saints living in the outlying regions of East Africa, who currently must travel to the distant Johannesburg South Africa Temple, will be immensely blessed by the Nairobi Kenya Temple.

Temple History

In February 1998, President Gordon B. Hinckley, accompanied by Elder Jeffrey R. Holland of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles embarked on an international tour of five African countries and locations in Canada, the Canary Islands, and Cape Verde.

During the afternoon of 17 February 1998, President Hinckley arrived in Nairobi, Kenya, where he addressed some 900 members in a conference room at his hotel. Members were excited to meet the prophet and traveled from as far as Ethiopia, Somalia, Tanzania, and Uganda to be with him. Because not all could afford a trip to Nairobi, some members joined their money together to send representatives who could come back and relate the experience of being with the prophet of the Lord.

During his remarks, President Hinckley said, "There isn't the slightest doubt in my mind that the time will come if you will walk in faith and patience that a temple will be built in this land to serve the needs of this people. Now, don't count on it for a few years,…but it will be so."[2]

Media Event

On 14 June 2017, a media event was held to familiarize members of the press with the recently announced Nairobi Kenya Temple. A variety of media outlets and opinion leaders were in attendance. Elder Joseph W. Sitati of the Seventy was the key speaker, addressing the importance of temples and fielding questions from attendees.

On 14 July 2021, an official exterior rendering of the Nairobi Kenya Temple was released. No site location has been officially announced for the Nairobi Kenya Temple, but the property has been acquired.

Groundbreaking Ceremony Announced

The First Presidency of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has announced that the groundbreaking ceremony for the Nairobi Kenya Temple will be held on Saturday, 11 September 2021. Elder Joseph W. Sitati, Africa Central Area president, will preside at the event. Attendance at the groundbreaking ceremony will be by invitation only.

A site location has yet to be released for the temple.

Groundbreaking Ceremony Held for Nairobi Kenya Temple

An 11 September 2021 groundbreaking ceremony was held for the first temple of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints to be constructed not only in Kenya, but in all of East Africa. Elder Joseph W. Sitati, president of the Africa Central Area and native of Kenya, presided at the groundbreaking ceremony for the Nairobi Kenya Temple.

Some 100 Church leaders and members, guests and journalists gathered for Saturday's event in Mountain View, a neighborhood of Nairobi. Attendance was by invitation only because of COVID-19 gathering restrictions. However, the groundbreaking was live streamed for Latter-day Saints and friends in meetinghouses and homes across Kenya and several neighboring nations. Speakers at the event included representation from the young adults, youth and children.

Elder Sitati said the day was dedicated to the rising generation of the Church. He invited members "to look at the temple that will come up in this site as their temple. This is the place [members] will get married; this is the place where they will make covenants that will bless them for all eternity."

Twenty-four-year-old Shelda Wandera, commented, "At this moment I am so overwhelmed with joy. I am filled [with] peace. I know that our Savior and our Heavenly Father love us so dearly. That is why they have blessed us with this wonderful house."

Fifteen-year-old Brandon Kioko said he was looking forward to making any personal changes that were needed to enter the House of the Lord. He said, "The temple is a place where we can feel closer to God; a place where we can search for comfort. I know [it] will bring blessings to individuals and families."

Elder Matthew L. Carpenter, a General Authority Seventy and counselor in the area presidency, said:

In temples husbands and wives can be sealed — which means married or bound — together forever, and have their children sealed — or bound — to them as a family, forever. These sealing blessings again are not only for this life, but they are for all eternity. . . .
The day will come when one of us will die and we will be separated for a short time from each other. Knowing that we have made the marriage covenant with God by the proper authority, I know we will be together for all eternity. That brings great comfort and peace. That same comfort and peace can rest with each person who enters the temple of God.

Also attending the event was Kenyan Member of Parliament, the Honorable Opiyo Wandayi, who shared a message written by the Right Honorable Raila Odinga, former Prime Minister of Kenya, and a member of the Anglican faith. That message underscored hope as well.

He wrote, "Kenya has … a long, unique and proud tradition of tolerance and cooperation between faiths. . . .The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has continued the tradition of not only providing for our spiritual needs, but also for our physical ones. I therefore wholly welcome the decision to put up a dwelling place for God in Nairobi." He further stated in his message that he thanked the Church "most sincerely, for the work [it has] done this past year and over the years to sustain the faith, hope and physical well-being of our people. At a very difficult time, members of the Church have been in the forefront, giving us reason to hope."

The Nairobi Kenya Temple will serve not only Latter-day Saints in Kenya, but the temple district will include the surrounding countries of Uganda, Tanzania, Rwanda, South Sudan, Eritrea, Ethiopia and Djibouti.

Videos about Nairobi Kenya

Temples in Africa



References

  1. "President Monson Announces Five New Temples," The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints News Release, 2 Apr. 2017.
  2. "President Hinckley Uplifts Members in Nova Scotia, Africa, Northern Mexico," Ensign May 1998: 110–116.