The First Presidency of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has announced the reopening of the Idaho Fall's Temple.
“With profound gratitude to our Heavenly Father that He has heard our prayers, we rejoice in announcing a careful, phased reopening of temples,” the First Presidency said. “Beginning Monday, May 11, 2020, living husband-and-wife sealing ordinances will be performed in selected temples for members who have been previously endowed.”
The following temples will begin Phase 1 of reopening on May 11, 2020: Boise Idaho Temple, Idaho Falls Idaho Temple and the Twin Falls Idaho Temple.
The temple's reopening has four stages:
"Phase 1: Living husband-and-wife sealings by appointment. Perform living sealings only for previously endowed members under strict guidelines and safety precautions
Phase 2: Open for all living ordinances only. Perform all temple ordinances for living individuals. Maintain closure of patron housing, clothing, and cafeteria operations
Phase 3: Open for all ordinances with restrictions. Continue providing ordinances for living individuals. Provide proxy ordinances for ancestors in a restricted manner. Open patron housing, clothing, and cafeteria operations as needed
Phase 4: Open for full operations. Resume regular temple operations
As directed by the Temple Department, other temples will be reopened based on local government and public health directives. They will follow this same phased approach in reopening, beginning with husband-and-wife sealings by appointment."
Sealings at select temples will be available Monday through Saturday by appointment only and are limited to one sealing ceremony per family at a time.
"When the appointment is made, staff will verify that the couple lives within the approved geographic area for receiving ordinances in that temple," according to the press release. "All government and public health directives will be observed, including restrictions related to travel and crossing of state or other regional borders, and the use of safety equipment such as masks."
Church officials said the temple staff will be limited by two or three people a temple. Couples who are looking to be sealed, and their limited guests, are expected to follow normal procedure and adorn their traditional temple clothing.
"The number of participants in each sealing will be restricted to the bride, groom and a limited number of guests per instructions provided at the time of scheduling," according to the press release. "Only those who are in good health and have no symptoms of COVID-19 should come to the temple. The sealing and other rooms in the temple will be thoroughly cleaned and sanitized following each ceremony."
Doug Ladle is a temple worker at the Rexburg Temple. He said he hasn't heard anything about the Rexburg Temple reopening yet but he and his wife, Carol, are happy to see Idaho residents begin to have access to the temple again.
"We're glad to see these ordinances become available... we're just so thankful and so happy to see this happening," he said.
When asked about the limited number of temple workers Doug Ladle said he suspected that those who made the decision know the procedure well enough to limit the number of individuals required for the ordinances.
"I'm curious myself to see how they organize the work," he said.
Carol Ladle said she and Doug began working in the Idaho Fall's Temple in 2005 and in then began working at the Rexburg Temple in 2008. When they weren't working at the temple the couple were on two missions, one in South Africa and another in the combined Scotland/Ireland mission.
"It is a great blessing to have them open, I have missed the temple," she said. "I don't think we appreciate how wonderful the temple is until we cannot go... It's just where we should be facing."
For more information visit newsroom.churchofjesuschrist.org.