A temple in Dubai—the first temple of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in the Middle East—will serve thousands of Latter-day Saints living in two stakes in the Gulf States and a number of member districts in the Middle East, northern Africa, eastern Europe, and western Asia. This historic temple announcement is a direct answer to fervent prayers offered by Church members over many years.
The United Arab Emirates has been an example of tolerance and religious inclusion since the country was founded in 1971. “The plan for a temple in Dubai comes in response to their gracious invitation, which we gratefully acknowledge,” said President Russell M. Nelson in his historic announcement.
The first self-standing Church meetinghouse in the Middle East was dedicated by Elder Jeffrey R. Holland in the emirate of Abu Dhabi in 2013. The new temple will be built in District 2020, the future legacy site of Expo 2020 Dubai, after that worldwide event concludes. The site will include both a meetinghouse and a temple.
“We are grateful to the government officials of the United Arab Emirates who have welcomed us so warmly into their country,” said Elder David A. Bednar, who oversees the work in the Middle East Africa North Area. “Only the Spirit of the Lord could have brought about such a mighty miracle. The presence of a temple in Dubai will be a great blessing in the lives of our Church members.”
Hend Al Otaiba, the Director of Strategic Communications at the UAE Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, wrote on Twitter, “UAE is proud to welcome Latter-day Saints community to worship together with the future construction of a temple in Dubai. Temple will be the Church’s 1st in Middle East, symbolizing spirit of interfaith tolerance and unity upon which UAE was founded.”
The official Twitter account for the US Embassy in the UAE also shared, “The UAE Embassy congratulates Pres. @NelsonRussellM and @Ch_JesusChrist on their announcement of a Temple that will be built in Dubai’s District 2020. The temple will be the first in the Middle East, and will serve thousands in the region.”
The greater story behind the “gracious invitation” from the UAE to build a temple has yet to be released.