“Taipei Taiwan Temple Dedicated,” Ensign, Feb. 1985, 75–76
It is surrounded by imposing structures—a seven-story building housing LDS Church offices, a national university building, an office building belonging to another church, and a university building operated by still another faith.
And yet the new temple on Ai kuo East Road in Taipei stands out. Many of the thousands who toured it before its dedication expressed the opinion that it was the most beautiful building they had ever seen. Some who lingered inside after touring it savored the spirit they felt there.
But for Latter-day Saints who toured the building or attended the dedication of the Taipei Taiwan Temple November 17 and 18, it was more than a beautiful structure. It was a gateway that had never been open to many of them before.
President Gordon B. Hinckley, Second Counselor in the First Presidency, acknowledged the opening of that gateway in the dedicatory prayer he pronounced on the temple.
He recalled the blessings pronounced on the people of China in 1921 when President David O. McKay, then a member of the Council of the Twelve, dedicated that land for the preaching of the gospel. Then President Hinckley continued:
“We thank thee for the firm foundation on which thy Church is now established in this part of the earth. We thank thee for this day when those who will use this temple may turn their hearts to their fathers, participating in thy holy house in those ordinances which will make it possible for their deceased forebears to move forward on the way that leads to eternal life.”
He spoke of the love of our Heavenly Father for his children in all nations, and added, “Now, with the dedication of this house, all of the ordinances, all of the powers of the priesthood under delegation from thy prophet, and every blessing of thy gospel is available to thy faithful Saints in this part of thy vineyard.”
President Hinckley asked for blessings upon the Saints of Taiwan and on their land. “We pray for the government of this nation which has been hospitable to thy servants and thy work. May peace and prosperity reign in the land. May thy work spread from here to the vast numbers of thy Chinese sons and daughters wherever they may be found. Touch the hearts of those who govern that they may open the doors of their nations to thy messengers of eternal truth. May thy work grow in beauty and strength in the great Chinese realm.”
There were five dedicatory sessions—four in Mandarin (the native language of about one-fourth of the world’s population) and one in Cantonese. Taiwanese Saints, who speak Mandarin, attended the first four, and Church members from Hong Kong, who speak Cantonese, attended the last.
President Hinckley addressed all of the dedicatory sessions, conducting three of them and reading the dedicatory prayer. Elder Howard W. Hunter of the Council of the Twelve conducted and read the prayer in the other two. In addition to President Hinckley and Elder Hunter, General Authorities attending the dedication included Elder William R. Bradford, Elder Jack H. Goaslind, and Elder Robert B. Harbertson of the First Quorum of the Seventy, who form the Presidency of the Church’s Asia Area; and Elder Royden G. Derrick, Elder Adney Y. Komatsu, and Elder Yoshihiko Kikuchi, also of the First Quorum of the Seventy.
Each of the General Authorities spoke during one or more of the dedicatory services, for the most part through interpreters. Elder Kikuchi, a native of Japan, delivered most of his talk in Mandarin.
As the Saints left the temple after the last dedicatory session, President Hinckley shook the hand of each one. They were touched by his obvious love and concern for them.
During its open house period, the temple attracted more than twenty thousand visitors, including high-ranking government officials, prominent businessmen, and leaders of other religions. Many visitors asked for the missionaries to call.
So impressive was the temple that a professor of architecture at a prominent university in Taipei brought his students several times to study its design. It has become a favorite tourist site, and it has been nominated as one of the most beautiful buildings in Taipei.
The temple district includes more than twenty thousand members in Taiwan and Hong Kong. For all of them, traveling to the temple, even to Tokyo, has been difficult and costly in the past. The temple in Taipei will cut travel costs by two-thirds for the Saints from Hong Kong. Saints in the south of Taiwan will be able to travel there and back in one day.
The temple offers members the opportunity to perform sacred ordinances not only for themselves, but also, as President Hinckley pointed out, for millions of Chinese who have gone before them in this life. By contrast to those hosts of ancestors, recommend holders in the temple district seem a comparative handful. But they are eagerly beginning the work.
Correspondent: David C. H. Liu, recorder, Taipei Taiwan Temple.