TWIN FALLS — The Twin Falls Temple is one of 14 temples around the world that will be part of a new opening phase, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints announced Monday.
Effective March 29, the Twin Falls temple baptistry will be open to small groups of approved church members as part of the new phase 2b.
The temple baptistry is used to perform proxy baptisms, where members of the church — most often those 12 to 17 years old — are baptized on behalf of deceased people.
Prior to Monday’s announcement, the Twin Falls temple was on phase 2 of the church’s reopening plan, which allowed appointments for authorized members to perform their own religious ceremonies, but did not allow ceremonies for deceased family members. Phase 3 will allow all temple work to continue by appointment only. Phase 4 is a return to normal operations.
The church temporarily closed all of its temples on March 25, 2020, because of the COVID-19 pandemic. It previously had limited services at some of its temples based on local conditions. The Twin Falls temple moved to phase 1 on May 11 and to phase 2 on Aug. 24.
The Twin Falls temple is one of the first to enter the new phase 2b. Twenty temples are in phase 3, but none are in phase 4.
The move to allow temple baptisms in the new phase 2b comes with some limits.
“The same careful safety protocols will be in place as for other phases, including health screenings, temperature checks, limited numbers of patrons and temple workers, and scheduled appointments,” the church said in a news release. “The same online scheduling process that members use for Phase 3 worship in temples will be in place for this phase. For safety purposes, members will only be able to schedule an appointment within their temple district. Those who come to the temple without an appointment may not be accommodated.”
Temples of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints are used for religious rituals during the week and are closed on Sundays. They are open only to members of the church in good standing.
The church suspended weekly Sunday worship services worldwide and use of its meetinghouses on March 12. Those services resumed for many south-central Idaho congregations in a modified format and schedule in July.
“We look forward to this phase and every phase of temple reopening with great anticipation,” church apostle Elder David A. Bednar said in the statement. “We also want to be sure that we continue to open temples in a careful, responsible way. For this reason, temple openings in some areas may continue to lag behind the opening of public or community facilities.”