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Without a temple: adjusting worship for a pandemic

On March 25, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints closed all temples worldwide in order to adjust to COVID-19 regulations. Members of the Church could no longer enter the temple and perform sacred ordinances. All appointments were canceled. Members waited for further notice to know when the temples would admit patrons.

“It’s a nice break but I’d like to return and do some service again,” said Maksim Efoshkin, a senior studying computer information technology.

Members seek ways to fill that missing portion of their lives. Individuals in Rexburg walk around the temple as they wait for it to be reopened.

“I don’t think there is a way to substitute the temple,” Efoshkin said. “When I first went to the temple, things were more correct.”

The Rexburg Idaho Temple has been closed for over a month and has not been opened in any of the phases.

“Best we can do is keep reading, praying and prepare for when we do enter the temple,” said Michael Bair, a sophomore studying accounting.

On May 7, the Church announced the phases of temples reopening starting May 11. These phases open up certain ceremonies for Church members.

  • Phase one: Perform sealing ordinances for members who are previously endowed under regulations.
  • Phase two: Permit members to preform living ordinances such as personal endowments and sealing.
  • Phase three: Allow members to preform proxy ordinances but with restrictions in place.
  • Phase four: Open all operations to the members of the Church.

“I think it’s a good start to do things in phases,” Bair said. “It will allow them to cover their bases.”

The phases will help the church ensure the safety of the members while allowing them to gradually return to worship rather than potentially have a mass rush into temples and putting individuals at risk of the virus.

The Idaho Falls Idaho Temple, along with 16 other temples, have opened to phase one, allowing endowed members to be sealed. There has been no new information about the Rexburg Idaho Temple’s opening date.

The Church abides by COVID-19 regulations for all temples. The safety of temple patrons and staff is of high priority.

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