Elder Sitati addresses media in East Africa about the Nairobi, Kenya Temple

Elder Sitati addresses media in East Africa about the Nairobi, Kenya Temple

News Release

Temple Blessings For Africa

The Public Affairs office of the Africa Southeast Area and the Kenya National Public Affairs Council have hosted a historic media event in Nairobi, where journalists and senior editors interacted with Elder Joseph W. Sitati, a senior representative of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Elder Sitati, a Kenyan, was sustained as a General Authority Seventy of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints on April 4, 2009, becoming the first black African to hold the office.  The media event follows the announcement on April 2, 2017 by the Church of a plan to build a temple in East Africa.

The plan to build the temple in Nairobi, Kenya was announced by President Thomas S. Monson during the Sunday session of General Conference, pushing to eight the number of temples either announced, operating or under construction in Africa.

           

In his keynote address to journalists, Church representatives and government officials, Elder Sitati reiterated the importance of temples. He also shared a history of the Church and of The Book of Mormon, which Church members consider to be another testament of Jesus Christ.

“The Book of Mormon teaches and testifies that temples have always been central in the worship of righteous followers of Jesus Christ,” Elder Sitati said in his address. “When a Latter-day Saint goes to the temple for himself or herself, he or she participates in ordinances that if they remain faithful will receive the blessings of the gospel. They help others who died without the gospel so they can receive the same ordinances.”

“To every Latter-day Saint,” Elder Sitati said, “the temple is the single, most highest spiritual aspiration and promise of our faith in God the Father and in our Saviour Jesus Christ. As we look to the temple we seek to become the disciples of Jesus Christ, to overcome our natural weaknesses and to rise to the stature of holiness to which Jesus Christ and God the Father invite us through the Gospel.”

PERSONAL MIRACLE

                           

Elder Sitati also related a miracle that happened after his family set a goal to go to the temple in 1991. The journey to the Johannesburg temple would have taken seven days by road and require driving with young children through countries in which there was still conflict back then.

He started saving money and planning the trip, but then a friend who had heard of this plan suddenly came to their rescue, and organized for him and his family to fly to Johannesburg. He said a temple in Nairobi will mean that for most members – including those from Uganda, Burundi, Rwanda and Ethiopia – the temple will only be a day’s travel away.

Elder Sitati also extended an invitation to those that would like to know more about the Church, saying: “Come and see for yourself how we worship.”

Following his remarks, Elder Sitati then participated in a panel discussion to answer questions about the temples and the Church. The media event was also attended by journalists from neighbouring Uganda and Tanzania.

     

A date for the start of construction of the Nairobi temple is yet to be announced.

Currently, there are three operating temples on the African continent: Aba, Nigeria; Accra, Ghana and Johannesburg, South Africa; two are under construction: Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of the Congo, and Durban, South Africa. Two more were announced recently: Abidjan, Ivory Coast, and Harare, Zimbabwe.

Generally, construction of the temple can take anywhere from two to four years from the time that the temple is announced by the First Presidency. Members of the Church regard temples as the houses of the Lord Jesus Christ, where sacred ordinances are performed, including eternal marriages, family sealings and baptisms for the dead (ancestors).

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