Southeast Asia Ministry

In His First Visit to Cambodia, Prophet Unveils Phnom Penh Temple Rendering

President Nelson continues his ministry in Southeast Asia

President Russell M. Nelson of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints brought glad tidings Tuesday night to hundreds of gathered Church members at the Premier Centre Sen Sok in Phnom Penh. He unveiled an artist’s rendering of what will become one of the Church’s most sacred worship spaces — the Phnom Penh Temple.


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“Isn’t that beautiful?” the prophet said as the image of the coming temple displayed on a large screen in the auditorium. “We don’t know when the temple will be completed. But I do know this, difficult as it is to build a temple, it is even more difficult to build a people ready for the temple. Preparation of the temple includes members of your family. Your preparation of yourself will bless the members of your family.”

An important part of that preparation, President Nelson said, is understanding the temple recommend interview questions that each Latter-day Saint must answer prior to entering a house of the Lord.

“Those questions are public knowledge. But your answers to those questions are very sacred and confidential,” President Nelson said during his speech that was transmitted to all congregations in Cambodia. “Your helpers and you will work on your preparation so that you may become worthy to receive all the blessings of the holy temple. I promise you that as you become worthy of that temple recommend, miracles will happen in your life.”


Temples differ from the Church’s chapels, where all are welcome to attend Sunday services and other weekday activities. It is in temples that faithful Latter-day Saints participate in sacred rites such as marriages that unite families forever and proxy baptisms in behalf of ancestors who did not have that opportunity. The Church’s 166 dedicated temples scattered throughout the world are considered the most sacred spaces on earth. It is in these sacred structures—each with the words “house of the Lord” etched onto its exterior—that Christ’s teachings are reaffirmed as members strive to follow His example. Temple worship is therefore a sacred privilege.

The Phnom Penh Temple, first announced by President Nelson in October 2018, will be located on Russian Confederation Street, between the Cambodia Institute of Technology and the Institute of Foreign Languages near the Royal University of Phnom Penh. The temple will provide worship opportunities for Cambodia’s 15,000 Latter-day Saints.

The 95-year-old prophet also noted the coming bicentennial of Joseph Smith’s vision of the Father and the Son, known by Latter-day Saints as the First Vision and the beginning of the Restoration of the gospel of Jesus Christ. That restoration, President Nelson said, has four fundamental cornerstones: (1) the knowledge of a Godhead consisting of the Father, His Son Jesus Christ, and the Holy ghost; (2) prophets on earth who speak for God; (3) scripture as a “tangible anchor to eternal truth” and “a strong witness of the divinity of the Lord Jesus Christ”; and (4) restored priesthood authority.


President Nelson reminded the many youth present of their “religious responsibility to get a good education.” This education, he said, is the “difference between wishing you could help other people and being able to help other people.”

The prophet concluded by praising the Cambodian Saints for being upstanding citizens in their community.

“I am very optimistic about the future of Cambodia,” he said.

Sister Wendy Nelson and Elder D. Todd Christofferson of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles and his wife, Kathy, are with President Nelson on this seven-day trip to four southeast Asia countries. Each spoke at the Tuesday evening devotional.

President Nelson and Elder Christofferson meet Cambodia’s Deputy Prime Minister


The Church leaders met Tuesday afternoon with Cambodia’s Deputy Prime Minister Men Sam An, who oversees the country’s humanitarian and social work.

“She was warm and gracious, accepting,” President Nelson said. “She understood what the Church has been doing to help. She was grateful for the members of the Church for their strong families, for the help that we’ve given with wheelchairs, medical assistance and other projects.”

“It was clear that they have a good understanding of what the Church has contributed in the past,” Elder Christofferson added. “That is one of the reasons we do meet with them, so that they know we are here and wanting to help and actually are helping. And she was aware of those things and anxious, for example, to see our temple built and completed here.”

President Nelson’s ministry visits continue Wednesday in Singapore and Thursday in Indonesia.

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