Several recent announcements to impact Monticello LDS Temple

Several recent announcements by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints are anticipated to impact worshipers at the Monticello Temple, including the announcement of new leadership, additional temples in the area, and lifting of some COVID-19 restrictions.

Earlier this year, the church announced that Emron Merrell Pratt Jr. and his wife, Julia Edwards Pratt, of Monticello, have agreed to serve as the new temple president and temple matron, respectively, for the Monticello Temple.

The Pratts and two counseling couples from the area (yet to be named) will work in a volunteer capacity as the administrative and spiritual leaders for the Monticello Temple.

The Pratts will replace Dwight and Brenda Rawlings of Montrose, CO, who have been the temple president and matron since 2018.

Emron Pratt is a retired executive director for Ernst and Young. Both he and his wife have volunteered in an extensive number of roles for the church. The Pratt’s will begin their duties in August.

Currently, the Monticello Temple serves church members in seven different stakes, each of which includes a handful of congregations. Those stakes include Monticello, Blanding, and Moab, UT, as well as Durango and Montrose, CO, and two stakes in Grand Junction, CO.

However, the recent announcement of two new temples in the area will likely shrink the Monticello Temple service area in the coming years.

At the April 4 General Conference, Church President Russell M. Nelson announced plans to build 20 new temples across the globe, including one in Farmington, NM and another in Grand Junction, CO. The acquisition of property for and construction of the buildings will likely take several years.

Once completed, the Montrose Stake and the two Grand Junction Stakes will assumedly be assigned to worship at the Grand Junction Temple.

It is not clear where the Durango Stake will be assigned to worship once the Farmington, NM Temple is complete. The Farmington and Monticello temples will likely be a similar driving distance from most congregations in the greater Durango area.

The Monticello, Blanding, and Moab stakes will continue to attend temple services in Monticello.

The Monticello Temple is one of 168 in operation throughout the world. The services at the Monticello Temple and all others were completely halted in the spring of 2020 due to fear surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic.

Since that time, the church has been cautiously reopening services in four phases, based on local circumstances and governmental restrictions.

Inside temples, members of the faith participate in sacred ceremonies for themselves such as marriage ceremonies called sealings that extend marriages and families beyond death into eternity. Members also perform proxy ordinances on behalf of ancestors such as baptism.

The Monticello Temple is open to schedule small groups for ordinances for members of the faith. Proxy work has been halted in the temple.

However, beginning Monday, April 12, the Monticello Temple will open for small scheduled groups who wish to participate in proxy baptisms for ancestors.

Just a handful of temples in Africa and Asia are providing all services to church members. Those open for all services operate on a limited schedule and with attendance permitted by appointment only.

All temples currently operating in any capacity also require symptom checking and mask-wearing of visitors. While temple worship is restricted to church members only, all are welcome to regular Sunday services at chapels.

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