“Lima Temple Dedication Brings Blessings to Saints in Peru, Bolivia,” Ensign, Mar. 1986, 83–84
“Surely father Lehi has wept with sorrow over his posterity. Surely he weeps today with gladness, for in this holy house there will be exercised the fulness of the priesthood to the blessing, not only of those of this and future generations, but also to the blessing of those of previous generations.”
Those were words of the dedicatory prayer, prepared under the direction of President Ezra Taft Benson and read by President Gordon B. Hinckley, First Counselor in the First Presidency, at the opening dedicatory service for the Lima Peru Temple January 10.
“We dedicate this temple as thy holy sanctuary, and pray that thou wilt accept it as our offering unto thee. Wilt thou be pleased to honor it with thy presence and to bless it and all who use it,” he petitioned.
“Bless thy work that it shall blossom and grow in this nation and its neighbor nations of South America. Remember, Father, thine ancient covenant with the children of Lehi that in the latter days thou wouldst favor them and bring to them a knowledge of their Redeemer. Make them strong in faith and magnify them in leadership in thy kingdom,” he said.
He also prayed for blessings upon the leaders of the Church. “Smile on thy prophet, Ezra Taft Benson, and grant him health and revelation. Bless all who labor with him in promoting thy work and building thy kingdom,” he said, closing with a pledge in behalf of those gathered for the services that “we rededicate ourselves, our lives, and all that we have and are to thee our God.”
President Hinckley, acting under the direction of President Ezra Taft Benson, presided at the eleven dedicatory services January 10–12. Also participating in the services were Elder James E. Faust of the Council of the Twelve; Elder Robert L. Simpson of the First Quorum of the Seventy, a managing director in the Temple Department; and Elder F. Burton Howard, Elder Loren C. Dunn, and Elder Helio da Rocha Camargo of the First Quorum of the Seventy, the presidency of the South America North Area.
In remarks before the dedicatory prayer, President Hinckley spoke of “another congregation” looking down on the proceedings. “I always feel during a dedication that I am standing in two spheres with a very thin veil.”
He told of past trips in Peru and Bolivia when he had seen the children of Lehi in poverty, oppressed in spirit by the scarcity of gospel truth among them, and cried within himself, “How long, oh Lord, how long?”
“The day has arrived. Lehi, Sariah, Nephi, and others in that other sphere are rejoicing. This is the day of salvation for generations,” President Hinckley said.
The temple in Lima will serve more than 100,000 members in Peru and Bolivia. Members gathered from throughout the two nations for the dedication, some bringing their children to be sealed to them on Monday, the day after dedicatory services ended. Six bus loads of Bolivian members traveled for two days to attend the dedication. For some of them, the forty-six dollar price of the bus ticket represented months of saving.
“When I heard the opening prayer in the cornerstone ceremony, I felt the presence of the Lord. It was the same spirit I felt when I left on my mission and when my husband and I were sealed in the temple,” commented Beatrice Casos de Millan, Primary president in the Lima Peru Magdalena Stake.
During the dedicatory service, “we all felt close to the Lord,” said Pedro Chinchay, financial clerk for the Lima Peru Limatambo Stake. “As it says in the scriptures, the Lamanites will blossom as a rose. (See D&C 49:24.) For me, the temple is an indication that that day is coming.”
Members were not the only ones on whom the temple made a deep impression. The open house period was extended by three days because of public interest; more than 24,500 people streamed through the temple between December 11 and December 28.
One, a representative of the president of the Peruvian congress, said he had visited the temple site two weeks earlier on assignment to learn what kind of building was being constructed. He reported then that it was “a beautiful building with religious purposes.” But, he added, “Today when I entered the grounds I felt the greatest sensation of peace I have ever felt in my life. My report will be that within these walls one feels the love of your members and the love of God.”
The mayor of La Molina, the suburban community where the temple is located, commented: “I believe that God is pleased with this work, and I am sure he smiled with satisfaction to see such a select group of people working for the welfare of his children.” His wife, touched by “the love of God” she felt in the temple and among members meeting the public there, added, “If heaven really exists, today I have visited a little piece of that heaven.”
Correspondent: Robert Whitchurch, first counselor in the presidency of the Lima Peru San Luis Stake.