“Youth Highlighted During San Diego California Temple Dedication,” Ensign, July 1993, 75–77
A focus on children and youth highlighted the twenty-three dedicatory sessions for the San Diego California Temple held April 25–30. The emphasis began with the April 25 cornerstone ceremony and continued throughout the activities, which were presided over by President Gordon B. Hinckley, First Counselor in the First Presidency, and President Thomas S. Monson, Second Counselor in the First Presidency. All twelve members of the Quorum of the Twelve spoke at various dedication sessions, and numerous other General Authorities also attended dedication activities.
During the cornerstone ceremony, a group of children from Mexico were seated in front of the opening in the temple wall prepared for the cornerstone. They represented children from the five stakes and one district in Mexico that are part of the San Diego California Temple District. Children from those stakes had made a rug for the temple, and during the ceremony, General Authorities stood on that rug.
Primary children from each stake in the United States within the temple district helped raise white geraniums, displayed near the temple entrance and around the cornerstone.
The cornerstone, a sealed copper box containing significant items and historical documents concerning the temple, was put in place by President Hinckley and President Monson.
During the dedicatory services throughout the week, Church leaders frequently spoke to the youth in attendance. In one session, President Monson invited two young people to the podium to touch it. He said they could tell their children and grandchildren they had participated in the San Diego California Temple dedication.
President Monson also spoke of parents who, in an effort to foster a love of the temple, have brought their children to touch the walls of the temple.
In his remarks, President Hinckley referred to the Mormon Battalion, who “planted Mormonism in California.” He wondered if they “ever dreamed that the day would come when there would stand on this soil the house of the Lord. Today the Church is strong in this state.”
The temple in San Diego is the third in California. “There will be other temples in this state,” President Hinckley observed. “The growth of the Church and the faith of the people will mandate that.”
Elder L. Tom Perry of the Quorum of the Twelve told the young people to think of the temple as their temple. He described how he grew up near the Logan Temple and explained how it became a central part of his life. He remembered his parents holding hands when they returned from the temple, and he recalled driving his aunt to the temple. He also related how meaningful his first temple recommend interview was because it was with his father, who was also his bishop. “Make it your temple,” he concluded, “your centerpiece of life.”
Members arrived in the early morning hours on each of the six days of dedicatory services, some arriving more than two hours before the 8:00 A.M. sessions.
Nearly 50,000 members attended the twenty-three sessions, arriving under balmy spring skies. Three sessions were held the first day and four on each of the following days. In addition to the stakes and district in Mexico already mentioned, the San Diego California Temple district includes twenty-one stakes in the United States located in San Diego County and parts of Orange, Riverside, and Imperial counties.
Two dedicatory sessions on the first day were for Spanish-speaking members. The twenty-third session, held on Friday, April 30, was also a service for Spanish-speaking members.
During the six-week open house for the temple, more than 720,000 people toured the edifice. The open house began February 20 and concluded April 3, with tours offered between the hours of 8:00 A.M. and 8:30 P.M. Monday through Saturday.
Over the six-week period, thousands of members from the temple district volunteered as tour guides and security personnel. Twenty-eight sister missionaries from nine different countries and eight different states answered questions from visitors.
Sister Minaca Cedeno, a sister missionary from Mexico City, said one woman told her that while inside the temple, she had felt a wonderful feeling of peace that she had never felt before. When Sister Cedeno asked the woman if she’d like to know what the peaceful feeling was, the woman replied in the affirmative.
“It’s the Holy Ghost telling you this is truth. Would you like to know more about that peaceful feeling?” A referral was given.
Another woman, a Russian, was not aware that missionaries were preaching the gospel in her homeland. “She opened her eyes so big when I told her,” Sister Cedeno reported. “When she left she said, ‘I’ll be waiting.’”
Sister Karen Joseph, a missionary from Utah, spoke of an 81-year-old woman who normally couldn’t walk well. However, she needed no help while touring the temple. “I told her she had come to a very special place and asked if she would like a visit from the missionaries or more information. She said that she didn’t care which, but she hoped we would send something soon.”
An elderly architect, visiting with a member after touring the temple, said he had built churches and cathedrals all over the world. He observed that the temple was the most magnificent building and the finest piece of construction he had seen.
Another man admitted he had come to the temple with a “chip on my shoulder, determined that the children of the world were doomed. I had decided there was no hope for them and there was no organization that could help them.”
At the entrance of the temple he was greeted by a young man who helped him put on his shoe coverings. He offered the youth twenty dollars for his help. “Thank you, but I can’t accept it,” the youth said. “I’m doing my Heavenly Father’s work.” Astonished, the man began to notice the other young people working at the temple and realized that perhaps there was an organization with a program to teach and help young people.
“The preparations for the dedication of the San Diego California Temple have been a sanctifying experience for members of the Church in the temple district,” said Lance Wickman, vice-chairman of the temple committee. “Many thousands served at the temple open house or in preparing for the dedication itself. They gave unselfishly of their time and means. No sacrifice was too great; no task too menial.
“Their sole motivation and reward were the joy that came from giving to the Lord in preparation for the dedication of His house. When the echoes of the last ‘Hosanna!’ had faded, not only a temple but a people had been dedicated to the Lord.”