“Guatemala City Temple Dedicated,” Ensign, Feb. 1985, 77–78
One university student who toured the Guatemala City Temple before its dedication commented that it “rises like a beautiful pearl” from its site in the Vista Hermosa area, overlooking the nation’s capital city.
In a visual sense, that comparison may describe the impact of the sacred building. But President Gordon B. Hinckley, Second Counselor in the First Presidency, captured its spiritual impact as he spoke December 14 to Saints attending the first of eleven dedicatory sessions.
It was, he said, “the day for which many generations have prayed behind the veil, descendants of Father Lehi, who have been taught the gospel … so they may continue with their journey to eternal life.”
In the dedicatory prayer, he spoke again of these people, expressing gratitude that the temple will open “the gates of salvation and eternal life” for “the many generations of our fathers and mothers who suffered so greatly and who walked for so long in darkness.”
He expressed thanks also for the restoration of the gospel and the truths found in the Book of Mormon. “We thank thee for this voice which has come from the dust to bear witness to the divinity of thy Beloved Son, the Lord Jesus Christ. We thank thee for listening ears and believing hearts, that thou hast touched us by the power of thy Spirit to recognize divine truth when it was brought to us by thine ordained servants.”
After pronouncing a dedication on the temple, he asked that it might be protected, and that those who came to it might come in thanksgiving, love, and faith. “May they be sanctified in their minds, and may visions of thy glorious, eternal plan unfold before them. May families rejoice as they are bound together under the authority of the holy priesthood for all eternity with an everlasting covenant.”
Then he asked for a blessing on the nation.
“Bless our land, O Father, this nation of Guatemala where stands thy holy house. May those who govern do so in righteousness. Bless them as they act to preserve the liberties and enhance the prosperity of the people. May there be peace in the land. May it be preserved from revolution and war. May there be freedom and equity under the law. May there be education and opportunity for all. May the forces of oppression and darkness be stayed by thy power, and may the light of truth shine over this republic. So bless, Father, its neighbor nations that they may be preserved in independence and freedom.”
In addition to President Hinckley, Elder Boyd K. Packer and Elder James E. Faust of the Council of the Twelve attended the dedication. So, too, did Elder Richard G. Scott of the Presidency of the First Quorum of the Seventy, as well as Elder Gene R. Cook, Elder Ted E. Brewerton, and Elder Angel Abrea, members of that quorum who form the Presidency of the Church’s Mexico and Central America Area.
Each of the dedicatory sessions was filled to capacity—about nine hundred Saints. The services drew members not only from modern, urbanized Guatemala City, but also from remote areas of the country and from neighboring El Salvador, Honduras, and Costa Rica.
Sister Carmen O’Donnal, the first Guatemalan baptized in modern times and now matron of the new temple, commented that the dedication of a house of the Lord in her native country “culminates thirty-six years of work and growth and brings the fulness of the gospel to the people. It will be a blessing not just for the members, but for the whole nation as the people come to know Jesus Christ through this holy and sanctified place.”
A total of 24,206 people visited the temple during the November 27 to December 10 open house period before its dedication. To accommodate the large numbers of visitors, 179 missionaries of the Guatemala Guatemala City Mission worked in six-hour shifts, with 20 missionaries per shift, distributing copies of the Book of Mormon and taking requests from people wanting to know more about the Church. Some 3,700 copies of the Book of Mormon were given to heads of families; 3,500 had been donated by Guatemalan Saints who penned personal testimonies inside.
The missionaries received some 1,500 requests from visitors wanting to know more about the Church.
Correspondent: Rudy Lopez, second counselor in the Guatemala City Stake presidency.