The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is inviting the public to visit the Bangkok Thailand Temple, the first temple of its kind in Thailand and the third in Southeast Asia.
From today, August 28, through August 31, 2023, invited guests are touring the temple. The general public can take free guided tours from September 1 through September 16, excluding Sundays. Elder Ronald A. Rasband of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles will dedicate the temple on Sunday, October 22.
“It’s a beautiful building in a remarkably beautiful city, but it’s much more than just a building,” said Elder Rasband’s apostolic colleague, Elder Gerrit W. Gong, who is in Bangkok for the beginning of the open house. “We offer the best we can to the Lord, and He offers the best He can for us. This is the place where heaven and earth connect. It allows us to tie to our ancestors, our families, to make forever families.”
Temples are houses of the Lord Jesus Christ. Within these sacred structures, Latter-day Saints learn the purpose of life and participate in ceremonies that unite families, past and present. Each house of the Lord is an oasis of peace and a symbol of the importance of faith in God and the need for continual improvement. Members believe that “through the Atonement of Christ, all mankind may be saved, by obedience to the laws and ordinances of the Gospel.”
At a news conference on Monday, Elder Gong said he and his wife, Susan, first came to Bangkok 43 years ago. He was doing graduate studies in international relations with Oxford University.
“We are grateful Thailand allows religious freedom,” Elder Gong said. “In Thailand, more than 23,000 individuals and families are members of our Church. We are your neighbors and friends. Our weekly Sunday worship meetings are open to, and welcome, all. Our friendly congregations and meetinghouses are found across Thailand.”
The Apostle explained that Latter-day Saints believe in God, seek to create strong families and be good citizens.
“As good neighbors and good friends, we seek to be compassionate, kind and generous,” he said. “We help the poor and needy. For instance, we respond quickly when floods, natural disasters, or other community needs arise. For many years, our Church members have been privileged to work with the Royal Patronage Foundation. For example, our humanitarian service, training and assistance provide wheelchairs for the mobility impaired; neonatal training to help health care professionals save infants at risk; and needed water and wells in rural areas. Of course, no one group can do everything needed, but we can each do our small part.”
Others speaking at the news conference included former Bangkok Governor Bhichit Rattakul (a graduate of Brigham Young University) and current Bangkok Governor Chadchart Sittipunt.
The Church has been a part of Thailand’s religious landscape since 1854, with considerable growth since the 1960s. The Bangkok Thailand Temple, the Church’s 185th house of the Lord, is a milestone in strengthening the faith of Church members in Thailand and the surrounding region. The country is home to more than 40 Latter-day Saint congregations. For many years, Church members in Thailand traveled to Hong Kong, Taiwan or other places to worship in a temple.
For some, the cost required only allowed them to visit a temple once in their lifetime.
“Written on [the temple] in Thai it says, ‘Holy to God and the house of the Lord,” said Anan Eldredge, the first Latter-day Saint baptized in Thailand (and the first Thai missionary and mission president). “This is my dream to see the house of the Lord, the temple, here in Thailand.”
The Bangkok Temple was first announced by Church President Thomas S. Monson in April 2015. Ground was broken in January 2019. Located at 1645/6 New Phetchaburi Road, Makkasan, Ratchathewi District, the temple site is in a residential and business area in the heart of Bangkok and near the Makkasan transit station linked with the Bangkok Airport Rail Link.
The design of the 48,525-square-foot and nearly 250-foot-tall temple follows the patterns and colors found within Thai architecture. Many of these patterns overlay various diamond shapes with lotus flower elements and a herringbone pattern, evoking woven palms used in traditional arts and goods.
With the combination of the screened spires and windows, the temple forms a beautiful silhouette in the Bangkok skyline.
Anurat Kaeocha, the temple’s construction manager, said he knew nothing of the Church of Jesus Christ before the building process began in 2019. In 2022, he decided to learn more about why a house of the Lord is so important to Latter-day Saints.
A few months later, he joined the Church.
“I am really happy that I became a member,” Kaeocha said. “Why? Because now I feel more peaceful in my life. Every day that I come here, I have the feeling I am really proud to walk in the temple. For me, the temple is the signature of my career, of my life, the place that can heal everybody to find peace eternally. This temple is also my baby!”
Elder Gong said, “We’re grateful that there’s a house of the Lord here in Bangkok, Thailand. It’s a temple not only for Bangkok but for Southeast Asia and the world. We hope that wonderful people, friends, others will come and feel the love of the Lord, that they’ll find peace, sanctity, family, protection. They’ll find joy.”
Those wanting to experience that peace firsthand can book a free tour at BangkokTemple.ChurchofJesusChrist.org.