The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, also known as the Mormon Church, is planning to open its first temple on the Chinese mainland, a place that has implemented restrictive measures on religion in recent years.
Church president Russell M. Nelson announced on Sunday that the temple will be located in Shanghai. It will be the church’s second temple in Greater China, with one site currently under renovation in Hong Kong.
“In Shanghai, a modest, multipurpose meeting place will provide a way for Chinese members to continue to participate in ordinances of the temple,” Nelson said. The church leader plans to open seven other temples, including one in Dubai.
Nelson, who has spent time in China and has studied Mandarin, noted that, “Because we respect the laws and regulations of the People’s Republic of China, the Church does not send proselytizing missionaries there; nor will we do so now.”
In February, new measures were enacted that required religious organizations to report various activities and affairs to Chinese authorities for review and approval.
The church has more than 16 million members, including 1.2 million in Asia, although it’s not clear how many followers are in China. A public Facebook group called Shanghai Latter-Day Saints has 346 members.
[Cover image via The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints]