“Saints Enjoying Blessings of Stockholm Temple,” Ensign, Sept. 1985, 74–75
Tall, slender pines arrow skyward around the building, whose six spires stand still taller, harmonizing with their environment. Atop one of the spires a golden angel, trumpet to his lips, stands as herald for the purpose, and the era, of this building.
This is the Stockholm Sweden Temple. Like the worthy Saints who will serve within it, the temple bears unmistakably the stamp of the culture and environment that surrounds it. And yet it stands out because of its purposes.
“We thank thee for this sacred structure, for its beauty in a land where there is much that is beautiful, and for the great purposes for which it has been built,” said President Gordon B. Hinckley, Second Counselor in the First Presidency, July 2 in the dedicatory prayer.
Acting under the direction of President Spencer W. Kimball, President Hinckley prayed that the temple “be looked upon as thy holy house, a house of divine covenants and everlasting promises. May those who enter it cast off the cares of the world and labor here with an eye single to thy glory.
“Bless this nation where is found thy temple, and its sister nations … Save (them) from war and oppression, and may their people look to thee and open their doors and hearts to thy messengers of eternal truth. Tens of thousands have walked reverently through this sacred structure. May the impressions of their visits stir within them a desire to learn more of thee and thy purposes with reference to thy children. May they seek and find and learn.
“May the dedication of this temple usher in a new era for thy work in all of Scandinavia and Finland.”
In his remarks before offering the dedicatory prayer, President Hinckley told the 569 Saints who attended the first of eleven dedicatory sessions, “This is the most significant day in the history of the Church in Scandinavia.”
Elder Thomas S. Monson of the Council of the Twelve told the same group that “the temple represents the hopes and dreams of all Scandinavia and Finland. I feel the temple will be a beacon in our lives. It will be as the North Star to guide our future.” He said in a later session that despite difficulties in life, the temple endowment “will always guide us to the celestial kingdom of God.”
Other General Authorities participating in the dedicatory services included Elder Wm. Grant Bangerter of the Presidency of the First Quorum of the Seventy, Executive Director of the Church’s Temple Department; Elder Joseph B. Wirthlin and Elder Russell C. Taylor of the First Quorum of the Seventy, president and counselor, respectively, in the Europe Area Presidency; Elder H. Burke Peterson of the First Quorum of the Seventy, president of the Jordan River Temple; and Presiding Bishop Robert D. Hales.
The dedicatory sessions were attended by a total of 5,233 Saints. Four of the sessions were translated into Swedish, three into Finnish, two into Norwegian, and two into Danish. The temple will serve more than 17,000 Saints located in those countries, and in Iceland.
Interest in the temple was high among the Latter-day Saints’ neighbors as well. Some 47,609 visitors filed through the building during its open house period June 10–22. Of those, 2,200 bought a Book of Mormon, and 1,213 filled out referral cards indicating they wanted to know more about the gospel. More than half of those referrals came from within the Stockholm Second Ward’s boundaries, where the temple is located.
Visitors responded very positively to the peace and spirituality they felt within the temple. “Your thoughts change while you are in there,” one said. “It’s like being in heaven,” another commented.
Leaders from other churches, including the Swedish state church, as well as from government and business, visited the temple during a special tour June 10. Franklin Forsberg, United States ambassador to Sweden, and his wife were among the group. “It’s so simple and clean. The decorations are wonderful. It’s modern, yet traditional,” the ambassador commented.
The traditional appearance is not by accident. Swedish architect John Sjöström took pains to make the exterior of the temple harmonize in an area where the architecture had its beginnings centuries ago. The temple is located in Västerhaninge, one of seven urban districts of Haninge, a city about twenty kilometers southeast of Stockholm.
The view over wide fields and backwoods from the temple is captivating. The temple is surrounded by lawns with beautiful natural flowers, but just a few yards away, the forest begins with bilberry sprigs and pines. The building looks as though it might have been part of this setting for many years.
And yet it is something new. The day after the dedicatory services ended, hundreds of Church members stood in line patiently waiting to participate in temple ordinances. A new era had begun for the Nordic countries.
Correspondent: Birgitta Karlfeldt, Stockholm Second Ward, Stockholm Stake.