Cody has been chosen as the site of a new Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints temple.
Sunday night, church president Russell Nelson announced plans to build 13 more temples.
“As I emphasized this morning, please make time for the Lord in His holy house,” Nelson said prior to announcing the temples in a news release. “Nothing will strengthen your spiritual foundation like temple service and temple worship.”
One in every nine residents of Wyoming, roughly 68,000 people, claim membership in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
Area LDS Stake President Andrew Jacobsen said it was a surprise to local leadership.
“It’s very exciting,” he said. “It’s a big deal for us. It gives us a lot closer access to a temple.”
This will be the state’s third temple. Other temples are the Casper Wyoming Temple and Star Valley Wyoming Temple. Right now the closest temple for people in the area is in Billings.
Jacobsen said for the roughly 3,600 members of the stake, which includes most of Park County and Burlington, it will have a big impact.
“Having it this close will make it easier,” he said, noting some people will go to the temple weekly, many once or twice a month.
Wyoming has a significant place in the history of the church, as pioneers traveled across the state in their westward migration to Utah, primarily from the 1840s to the 1860s.
According to the official release, temples differ from the church’s chapels. All are welcome to attend Sunday worship services and other weekday activities at local chapels. The primary purpose of temples, however, is for Latter-day Saints to participate in sacred ceremonies, such as marriages and proxy baptisms on behalf of deceased ancestors who did not have the opportunity while living.
Jacobsen said after these announcements it usually takes time to plan on where the temple will be built and the timeline. He said once the temple is built, anyone in the community will be able to attend an open house to see inside, before it is dedicated and restricted to members of the church only.