“Five New Temples Dedicated in Four Countries,” Ensign, Aug. 2000, 74–77
For the first time in Church history, three temples were dedicated in the same weekend. The Tampico Mexico Temple, the Nashville Tennessee Temple, and the Villahermosa Mexico Temple were dedicated 20–21 May. On 4 June, two more temples were dedicated—the Montreal Quebec Temple and the San José Costa Rica Temple—bringing the total number of operating temples on that date to 87.
Tampico Mexico Temple
The Tampico Mexico Temple was dedicated in four sessions on 20 May by President Thomas S. Monson, First Counselor in the First Presidency.
In the dedicatory prayer, he said, “Father, we pray for Thy people everywhere. Strengthen Thy Church wherever it may be established. Bless this great nation of Mexico, its officers and governors at whatever level, that they may be friendly to Thy people and ensure their peace and security. May Thy work grow in this nation in a miraculous and marvelous way.”
Accompanying President Monson were Elder L. Tom Perry of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles and Elder Lynn A. Mickelsen of the Seventy, President of the Mexico North Area.
The temple open house, held 29 April and 1–6 May, drew 11,135 visitors. More than 5,000 members attended the dedicatory sessions.
The existence of a temple in Tampico, an industrial city on central Mexico’s Gulf Coast, is a fulfillment of a dream for the 38,600 members it will serve. About 20 years ago Roberto de León Perales, then a stake president, expressed his feelings that a temple would one day be built on the plot of land on which the new edifice now stands.
Local members say the temple began blessing their lives long before it was completed. Roberto Cruz says he felt overwhelmed when he was called as the public affairs director for the local temple dedication committee, but that somehow he was blessed to fulfill all his responsibilities. “I am a humble shoemaker, and I wondered, Why wasn’t someone with more experience or more intellect called to this position?” said Brother Cruz. “But I have learned from this experience that the Lord qualifies whom He calls.”
Brother Cruz’s wife, Ana Bertha, says that preparing for the temple dedication has brought many Tampico-area members great joy.
Nashville Tennessee Temple
The Nashville Tennessee Temple was dedicated in four sessions on 21 May by President James E. Faust, Second Counselor in the First Presidency.
“This sacred structure stands as a monument before the world of our belief in the immortality of the human soul and that a great work is going forward on the other side of the veil to bring blessings to those who will accept the ordinances which will be performed in their behalf in this Thy house,” said President Faust in the dedicatory prayer.
Accompanying President Faust were Elder Russell M. Nelson of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles and Elder Loren C. Dunn of the Seventy, President of the North America East Area.
During the 6–13 May open house, nearly 25,000 visitors—more than 3,000 a day—toured the temple. “They have been so good and so kind, so generous in their comments about what they see. I think it’s been a unifying kind of experience,” said newly called temple president Buryl McClurg.
Temple matron Diane McClurg added, “I heard people say as they went out that they felt different when they were inside. That’s a lot of what it’s all about—the feeling of the Spirit.”
The completion of the temple near Nashville—the second, after the Memphis temple, to be dedicated in Tennessee in as many months—and the positive reaction toward it by local media and visitors, are hallmarks of a time of growth for the Church in Tennessee, which was once an area of intense persecution of the Church. Today, Tennessee has experienced a surge of missionary work.
The Nashville temple will serve 13,000 members in the midstate area. Several couples were sealed during its first day of operation. Many scheduled their wedding dates so they could be married in this new temple near their homes.
Villahermosa Mexico Temple
The Villahermosa Mexico Temple was dedicated by President Thomas S. Monson in four sessions on 21 May.
“May Thy eternal purposes concerning the sons and daughters of Lehi be realized in this sacred house. May every blessing of the eternal gospel be poured out upon them, and may the suffering of the centuries be softened through the beneficence of Thy loving care,” President Monson said in the dedicatory prayer.
Accompanying President Monson were Elder L. Tom Perry of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles and Elder Eran A. Call of the Seventy, First Counselor in the Mexico South Area Presidency.
Nearly 4,000 members attended the dedicatory sessions, and more than 10,000 people visited the temple during its 9–13 May open house.
Longtime members of the state of Tabasco marveled at the growth they’ve seen in the Church over the past several decades. There are now 28,100 members in the temple district. Maria Elena Balboa joined the Church 43 years ago, one of the first to be baptized in Tabasco. “I always wished for a temple in my town, but never really thought it would happen,” she said. “Today I’m so happy. I’ve even been called to work in the temple.”
Rafael Guerra, another longtime member, said, “Now the Church will grow in Villahermosa. Many nonmembers came to the open house, and many of them asked to hear the missionary discussions after visiting the Lord’s wonderful house.”
Montreal Quebec Temple
The Montreal Quebec Temple was dedicated by President Gordon B. Hinckley in four dedicatory sessions on 4 June.
In his dedicatory prayer, President Hinckley said, “We thank Thee for the faithful tithe payers among Thy people throughout the world. It is they who have made all of this possible. Bless them for their faith and reward them for their consecrations. Bless Thy kingdom throughout the earth that it shall grow and multiply and fill the earth with righteousness.”
President Thomas S. Monson, First Counselor in the First Presidency, who served as president of the Canadian Mission from 1959–62, and Elder Gary J. Coleman of the Seventy, First Counselor in the North America Northeast Area Presidency, took part in the dedication.
Some 6,000 members attended the dedicatory sessions, including 10 former presidents of the Montreal Quebec Mission. One of these former presidents, Scott H. Taggart, has been called to serve as president of the new temple. “For us, it’s just like coming back home,” he said.
Nearly 10,000 visitors passed through the temple during its open house on 20, 22–27 May.
The sixth to be built in Canada, the Montreal temple will serve 15,000 members in the Montreal Quebec Stake, the Montreal Quebec Mount Royal Stake, the Quebec Quebec District, the Ottawa Ontario Stake, and the Montpelier Vermont Stake.
The proximity of the temple will be a great blessing to local members, said Georges Bourget, second counselor in the temple presidency. Baptized in 1971, President Bourget remembers when English-speaking members drove four and a half days to the Alberta Canada Temple and French-speaking members traveled to the temple in Switzerland. Later temples in Washington, D.C., and Toronto brought temples closer, but travel even to these was still a hardship.
“But we in this area are a temple-loving people, and we were known for our faithfulness in attending the temple,” said President Bourget. “I think that’s one of the reasons we were able to receive a temple, even though the Church is relatively small here.”
San José Costa Rica Temple
The San José Costa Rica Temple was dedicated by President James E. Faust in four dedicatory sessions on 4 June. In the dedicatory prayer, he petitioned:
“As was said in the dedication of the Kirtland Temple, ‘We ask thee, Holy Father, to establish the people that shall worship, and honorably hold a name and standing in this thy house, to all generations and for all eternity; …
“‘That no combination of wickedness shall have the power to rise up and prevail over thy people upon whom thy name shall be put in this house’” (D&C 109:24, 26).
President Faust was accompanied by Elder Russell M. Nelson of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles and Elder Lynn G. Robbins of the Seventy, President of the Central America Area.
In spite of almost daily rains, which closed the local airport, nearly 20,000 visitors attended the open house on 20, 22–27 May, with 5,000 attending on the final day. After leaving the temple, one nonmember visitor told her Latter-day Saint friend, “There is no place more holy than this temple in all of Costa Rica.” Another guest commented, “This is how it must be in heaven.” The open house also brought positive media coverage.
The rains subsided and the sun broke through for the dedication, which some 4,000 members attended. “There are not words to communicate the expressions on the faces of the members as they came out of the dedication,” said Douglas Rodas, director of public affairs for the Central America Area. “All day long, couples came out holding hands, tears of joy in their eyes.”
The San José temple will serve some 50,000 Saints in 12 stakes and 14 districts of Costa Rica and Panama.