Emirati Ambassador Yousef Al Otaiba toured Washington DC’s renovated temple of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints alongside US Senator Mitt Romney in June. The DC temple hosted an open house for the public, which welcomed in over 250,000 visitors into the temple to view the renovations. As the UAE prepares for construction of its first-ever temple of the Church of Jesus Christ in Dubai, the Ambassador’s tour with Senator Romney further illustrates the country’s efforts to advance interfaith tolerance and unity.
The temple has not been open to the public since it was first built in 1974. Shortly after its construction it was dedicated solely for use by worthy members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The temple’s week-long open house showcased renovations and pieces of art significant to the church. The temple has since closed to the general public and will likely not be reopened for similar events for decades.
The UAE’s First-Ever Temple of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
The UAE is home to more than 200 nationalities, creating a diverse population that consists of different religions and denominations. The recent announcement of construction plans for Dubai’s Church of Jesus Christ temple is representative of this diversity, as well as the UAE’s founding values of religious inclusion.
Plans for the temple’s construction were announced at the Church’s annual general conference in Salt Lake City, Utah in April. The Church of Jesus Christ has 16 million Latter-day Saints and 168 dedicated temples worldwide. The Church will soon be instituting temples in eight additional cities, Dubai included.
Elder Anthony D Perkins, president of the Church’s Middle East and North Africa operations, spoke on the UAE’s contributions in bringing a temple to Dubai. He stated, “We are grateful to the leaders and people of the United Arab Emirates, they have been kind, gracious and welcoming to us and to people of all faith traditions.” He went on to remark on how the UAE is a crossroads of commerce, education and innovation where people of many different faiths live, worship, and work together peacefully.