Additional Resource

First Temple Announced in Philadelphia Pennsylvania

One of the five new temples announced this weekend by Thomas S. Monson, president of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, will be located in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. It will be Pennsylvania’s first temple in an area that is known for some of the most monumental events in Church history.

While living with his wife Emma in Harmony (present-day Oakland) from 1827 to 1830, Church founder Joseph Smith translated the bulk of the Book of Mormon – a record of Christ’s dealings with the people of Ancient America and considered by members of the Church as scripture along with the Bible.

Another important event that members believe took place in Pennsylvania was the restoration of Priesthood authority. Latter-day Saints believe that divine authority was lost in the ancient church after the death of the apostles and required a restoration by divine intervention. Members believe Joseph Smith received the Priesthood on the banks of the Susquehanna River through angelic visitations from those who held the authority anciently. This resulted in the first baptisms in the Church.

Organized in New York state in1830, the Church was eventually established in Philadelphia in 1839 by brothers Samuel and Lewis James and Benjamin Winchester. By October 1840, members totaled 450 in the city and adjoining counties.

Following the death of Joseph Smith in Illinois and the westward migration of the Latter-day Saints to the Salt Lake Valley, Church membership in Philadelphia fell to 150. However, many Latter-day Saint emigrants from Europe passed through Philadelphia between 1855 and 1857 when it was selected by Church leaders as one of the American ports of entry for these converts.

As growth continued and leadership skills increased, the first stake in Philadelphia (similar to a diocese) was created in 1960 with 1,100 members in congregations throughout southeastern Pennsylvania and in New Jersey, Delaware and Maryland.

Since then, the Church has grown to nearly 48,000 members in Pennsylvania who will benefit from the newly announced temple. More details concerning the location and design of the Philadelphia temple will be forthcoming.

Style Guide Note:When reporting about The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, please use the complete name of the Church in the first reference. For more information on the use of the name of the Church, go to our online Style Guide.