The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

Mormon Temples

Johannesburg South Africa

Johannesburg South Africa Temple

Located in a suburb of South Africa’s largest city, the distinctive Johannesburg South Africa Temple stands among beautiful jacaranda trees. The temple occupies an elevated piece of ground and is situated on Jubilee Road. To members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in southern Africa, the temple is a beacon of light. Members of the Church consider the temple to be a house of the Lord, a holy place where they can come to find peace and feel closer to God.

The Johannesburg South Africa Temple is made of the finest materials and displays a magnificent architectural design. The temple’s exterior consists of a light brown brickwork that contrasts with the dark gray roof. Small archways line the sides of the building, which contains 19,184 square feet. Six brown and white spires stretch toward the sky. At the top of the front spire stands the statue of the angel Moroni, a Book of Mormon prophet, holding a trumpet that symbolizes the restored gospel spreading across the globe and heralds the Second Coming of Jesus Christ.

Within the temple are beautiful rooms used for worship. These rooms include a baptistry; instruction rooms, where Church members learn about God and His plan for humanity; sealing rooms, where marriages are performed; and a celestial room, which symbolizes heaven on earth. In the temple, Church members make promises to live according to the gospel of Jesus Christ and to follow His example through serving others. Temple worship is an essential part of Latter-day Saints’ lives, and Church members consider themselves fortunate to have a temple nearby.

South Africa includes many people who come from different ethnicities and cultures, which oftentimes presents challenges because of the great diversity of traditions and customs. However, the Johannesburg South Africa Temple seems to have brought these people closer together. Charles Canfield, who was previously the temple’s president, related this experience: “One day I heard a commotion in the temple and went back to restore some reverence. It so happened that a number of [ethnic] groups from all over South Africa had come that day. What I saw when I entered the room was friends greeting each other. . . . Where else but in the temple would you find that kind of natural outpouring of love?”1

Mormon missionaries arrived in South Africa in 1853, and congregations were established shortly thereafter. Wars and government restrictions kept missionaries out of South Africa from 1865 to 1903, so Church members found ways to support each other in the faith. Today nearly 60,000 people belong to the Church in South Africa.

Plans to construct the Johannesburg South Africa Temple were announced on April 1, 1981, and the groundbreaking took place on November 27, 1982. After the construction of the temple was complete, an open house was held from July 29 to August 9, 1985. During the open house, the public was invited to come and learn about the purposes of Mormon temples and to tour the temple interior. More than 19,000 visitors attended the open house, including civic and business leaders, as well as government officials.

On August 24, 1985, the Johannesburg South Africa Temple was dedicated as a house of God. President Gordon B. Hinckley, who was at that time a counselor in the First Presidency of the Church, led the first of four dedicatory sessions. President Hinckley welcomed people as they entered the celestial room for the service and noted that, with the construction of the Johannesburg South Africa Temple, a temple had been built on every continent but Antarctica.

In the dedicatory prayer, President Hinckley emphasized the peace that can come to those who worship in the temple as he petitioned the Lord to “whisper peace to thy people by the power of thy Spirit when they come here with burdened hearts to seek direction in their perplexities. Wilt thou comfort and sustain them when they come in times of sorrow. Wilt thou give them courage, faith, and direction when they gather, as to a refuge, from the turmoil of the world.”2 President Hinckley also pleaded with the Lord to bless South Africa with peace and asked that the presence of the temple would bring blessings to the entire nation.

The Johannesburg South Africa Temple is the 36th operating temple of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Many Mormon temples have now been constructed around the world so members of the Church from all different countries can enjoy the serenity and spiritual blessings that temples bring to them. Visitors are welcome to visit the grounds to enjoy the beauty of the temple.

1 R. Val Johnson, “South Africa: Land of Good Hope,” Ensign, Feb. 1993, https://www.lds.org/ensign/1993/02/south-africa-land-of-good-hope?lang=eng&query=johannesburg+temple.

Johannesburg South Africa Temple dedicatory prayer, in Church News, Sept. 1, 1985, http://www.ldschurchnewsarchive.com/articles/61697/Johannesburg-South-Africa-Temple-Our-hearts-are-filled-with-gratitude-on-this-historic-day.html.  

Facebook Twitter Google+