“Temple Dedicated in Bogotá, Colombia,” Ensign, July 1999, 75–76
“From the initial announcement of this temple until now has been 15 years,” said President Gordon B. Hinckley at the dedication of the recently completed Bogotá Colombia Temple. “We’ve had trouble of one kind or another: the location, the site, trying to get property, and many other factors, but finally it has happened. … It is beautiful, a fitting monument to the good people of Colombia.”
President Hinckley presided at the cornerstone ceremony and the first dedicatory session on 24 April. He then traveled to Santiago, Chile, for a regional conference, leaving President James E. Faust, Second Counselor in the First Presidency, to preside at six subsequent dedicatory sessions. After addressing members in Santiago, President Hinckley returned to Bogotá on 26 April to conduct the final four dedicatory sessions. He was accompanied by Elder Russell M. Nelson of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles. Also speaking at dedicatory sessions were Elder Francisco J. Viñas of the Seventy, President of the South America North Area, and his first counselor, Elder Robert J. Whetten of the Seventy.
“We are overwhelmed by the magnificent beauty of the temple,” said President Faust. “It exceeds our expectations. The architecture is extraordinary, and the many features make it really quite distinct. The beautiful stonework which is found in the floors and elsewhere in the celestial room is extraordinary.” He continued: “Our Saints have been moved to tears to be able to participate in the dedicatory sessions. People have come from as far as Pasto and Medellín and other places, traveling by bus up to 22 hours.” A total of more than 11,300 members attended the 11 dedicatory sessions.
“It was a privilege to participate in the dedicatory services of the Bogotá Colombia Temple,” said Elder Nelson, “to speak with the people who were lined up to enter the temple on Tuesday morning after the temple was dedicated. They were lined up by the hundreds to enter that dedicated temple to receive their endowments, great joy in their faces, tears in many of their eyes. It was also a great experience to witness the power of the Lord descend upon the President of the Church, President Hinckley, and his counselor, President Faust, as they spoke to the people with great power and majesty.”
Located about 10 miles from downtown Bogotá, the Church’s 57th operating temple has four ordinance rooms and three sealing rooms, with a total of 53,500 square feet. Prior to the dedication, about 127,000 people toured the building during a three-week open house, and about 10,000 missionary referrals were received. “The members here worked very hard to invite people to attend the open house,” said Elder Viñas. The larger-sized temple serves about 130,000 members in Colombia and about 32,000 members in the neighboring country of Panama.
“We are grateful for those who have gone before us in establishing and strengthening Thy kingdom in this part of the earth,” said President Hinckley in his dedicatory prayer. “Now stands this beautiful temple as a witness and testimony of the truth of all that they taught and did. It offers the crowning blessing of the gospel to everyone who accepts the ordinances to be given herein. It extends Thy holy work from mortal life to the eternities that lie beyond. It gives greater understanding of the Atonement wrought by the Savior of all mankind.”