[dropcap]O[/dropcap]n a stop in Cambodia as part of his tour of Southeast Asia (which started in Vietnam, which just granted the Church a certificate to operate), President Russell M. Nelson of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, whom Latter- day Saints regard as a prophet, seer and revelator, happily unveiled the design for the Phnom Penh Cambodia Temple. And, well, we can only react accordingly:
Seriously, hats off to the temple designers on this one. Just look at this thing.
We know the Church has worked more in recent years to have temple designs reflect the culture in which the temple is built (which must be some sort of indictment for Utah’s forthcoming, somewhat non-adventurous temples?), and it’s been to see that a bit more internationally. Cambodia’s neighbor, Thailand, is also expecting a temple, and while we thought that design looked pretty awesome, the deliberate Khmer style used here in Phnom Penh is amazing. Even look at the fence!
President Nelson, who announced the temple in the October 2018 General Conference, did not elaborate on the temple’s square footage or other features; this image was the only one shared at the time.
And curiously, no Moroni. While some newer temples have omitted Moroni from the final design, most of those have either been much smaller temples or more austere ones built in developing countries. Outside of those parameters, very few newer temples have lacked a Moroni. Paris comes to mind, but the temple there also lacks a spire due to height restrictions.
While speaking to gathered Latter-day Saints, President Nelson cautioned that we do not have a start date for construction on the temple and do not know when to expect a temple in Cambodia to be completed. However, he used the opportunity to encourage the Saints to be worthy of the temple. “I promise that as you become worthy of the temple recommend, miracles will happen in your life” he said, citing the importance of preparation in anticipation of the sacred edifice.
At the event, President Nelson also alluded to some of the celebrations that will occur in 2020 to commemorate the bicentennial of the First Vision. President Nelson said that the restoration comprises four fundamental cornerstones: 1) the knowledge of a Godhead comprising three distinct beings: God the Father, Jesus Christ, and the Holy Ghost; 2) living prophets who speak for God today; 3) scripture as a “tangible anchor to eternal truth” and “a strong witness of the divinity of the Lord Jesus Christ”; and 4) the restoration of the priesthood.
We’re as keen as anyone to speculate on what the next General Conference will entail, which we discussed on our post-conference recap podcast.
President Nelson closed his remarks by encouraging the people of Cambodia to be good citizens. “Be part of the solution rather than part of the problems that always occur in the governing of any nation,” he said. In Cambodia, being part of that solution pretty much means only being a member of one political party.
Temples are wonderful, sacred places where Latter-day Saints receive instruction, meditate, and try to draw closer to God on their own behalf on on that of their ancestors.
There are approximately 15,000 Latter-day Saints in Cambodia across two stakes and four districts. The first native Cambodian Latter-day Saints were baptized in the United States in the 1970s. The first convert baptisms in Cambodia itself occurred in 1994, when the Cambodian government allowed the Church to organize itself in the country.