“Temple Dedicated in Santiago, Chile,” Ensign, Nov. 1983, 93–94
“This is a marvelous day for the Saints in Chile, a wonderful day, something that we’ve dreamed of for many years,” said President Gordon B. Hinckley, Second Counselor in the First Presidency, September 15, at the first of ten dedicatory services for the Santiago Temple.
President Hinckley told members approval had been given by the Church to purchase the temple site many years ago, when a school was planned there. But now, “September 15, 1983, will be remembered by the Latter-day Saints in Chile” as the day a holy house of the Lord was dedicated on that spot.
It was a day the rapidly growing body of Chilean Church members had long awaited, and some 1,700 of them flocked to the first dedicatory service.
“We thank thee for the magnificent flowering of thy work in this part of the earth and for the stature to which it has grown,” President Hinckley said in his prayer dedicating the edifice. “We thank thee for the faith and loyalty of thy Saints here and throughout the world. Bless them, Father. Shield them from the darts of the adversary and fortify them against the storms that may threaten.
“As we contemplate the marvelous blessings which will come through the exercise of thy holy priesthood in this thy house, our hearts are filled with gratitude unto thee. The ordinances to be performed herein will bless thy sons and daughters forever.”
He also asked God’s protection on the temple. “Wilt thou watch over it and by the power of thy might preserve it from any who would defile it or seek to damage or destroy it. Rebuke the elements that it may be protected against any catastrophe of nature, and frustrate the evil designs of the wicked and ungodly who would mock the sacred purposes for which it was constructed.”
He asked God’s blessings upon President Spencer W. Kimball, and then referred to the growth of the Church in Chile and asked that it be augmented.
“Bless thy work upon this great continent of South America, which is part of the land of Zion. Bless thy work in this nation of Chile. May all that has been done in the past be but a prologue to a far greater work in the future. May there be an ever-growing number of wards and stakes. May thy people be recognized for the virtue of their lives. Bless the land with peace and righteousness, and bless all who govern that thy sons and daughters may rejoice in the nation of which they are a part.
“Now, Almighty God, we pray that thy Saints may find favor in thy sight, that faith shall grow in the hearts of thy people, that love shall abound in their homes, that the spirit of Zion may be found among them and that they shall be a blessed and happy people. Prosper them in their labors. Open the windows of heaven and pour out blessings upon the faithful that there shall not be room enough to receive them.
“May the hearts of the fathers be turned to the children, and the hearts of the children to the fathers in a great labor of salvation reaching from mortal life and beyond the veil through the eternities to come.”
The ten dedicatory services for the temple were spread over three days—Thursday, September 15, through Saturday, September 17.
Other General Authorities who attended the dedication of the temple in addition to President Hinckley included Elder Boyd K. Packer and Elder Bruce R. McConkie of the Council of the Twelve; Elder Gene R. Cook and Elder Angel Abrea of the First Quorum of the Seventy; and Bishop J. Richard Clarke of the Presiding Bishopric.
The eighteen-day open house period before the dedication drew extensive favorable coverage from news media, and visitors included government officials and business leaders. A number of government visitors requested literature or visits from missionaries so they could learn more about the Church.
Many nonmembers joined LDS friends in long bus rides to visit the temple. Some Chilean members must travel great distances to reach it. Santiago is located in the more heavily populated central part of Chile; the nation stretches nearly three thousand miles down the west coast of South America. But despite distance and cost, on Saturday, September 3, some fifty-five busloads of travelers arrived in Santiago for the open house.
Lauro de Santiago, Church public communications director for Chile, said members who toured the temple reported feeling strong manifestations of peace, reverence, spirituality, and the spirit of the gathering of Israel. They were deeply touched. “They could feel the Spirit in the celestial room. It’s one thing to see a photo of the room, but it’s another to be in it.”
Ricardo Garcia, a member of the Church for more than twenty-five years, wept when he entered the building and saw the temple presidency dressed in white. “I never thought this could happen,” he said. “In the beginning, we wondered if the Church would ever get started. Now we have a temple.”
From its beginnings in 1957, the Church in Chile has grown to about 140,000 members, and 20,000 new members, on an average, are currently being baptized every year, said Elder Cook, who is the Church’s Executive Administrator for Chile.
Construction of the temple began on 4 July 1982, and it was completed May 30 this year.