“Temples Dedicated in Mexico, United States,” Ensign, Oct. 2000, 74–76
Temples Dedicated in Mexico, United States
Four more temples were recently dedicated in North America. Two of these temples are in Mexico, where eight new temples have been dedicated in the last several months.
Shortly before the last of these four new temples was dedicated, a historic announcement was made: on 1 October, the Boston Massachusetts Temple would become the 100th operating temple of the Church.
Mérida Yucatán Mexico Temple
The Mérida Yucatán Mexico Temple was dedicated in four sessions on 8 July. President Thomas S. Monson, first counselor in the First Presidency, presided over the dedication and offered the dedicatory prayer.
“We dedicate every room and feature of this, Thy House, dear Father,” he said. “May we ever carry in our hearts a great sense of gratitude for its presence in this our land and city. May we make ourselves worthy to come to Thy House, to engage in those holy ordinances which will here be administered. May we be tireless in our efforts to bring these blessings unto ourselves and unto our families, and then go forward, standing for those who have gone beyond in extending to them the sacred ordinances of Thy divine gospel.”
Along with President Monson, Elder L. Tom Perry of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles and Elder Carl B. Pratt of the Seventy, President of the Mexico South Area, attended the dedications of the Mérida Yucatán and Veracruz Mexico Temples.
Nearly 15,000 people attended the Mérida temple’s open house on 24, 26 June–1 July. Some 5,500 members attended the dedication. The temple will serve nine stakes, two districts, and three unaffiliated branches.
The first to be built in the Yucatán Peninsula, the Mérida temple has been long anticipated by local members. Domingo Renán Pérez Maldonado, president of the Mérida Mexico Itzimna Stake, said he had been looking to this day since 1979, when he served as a translator during Elder David B. Haight’s visit to the Yucatán Peninsula. “The apostle told us a temple would be built here someday,” he said. “This temple will be a place of spiritual light for everybody.”
Veracruz Mexico Temple
The Veracruz Mexico Temple was dedicated on 9 July in four sessions. President Thomas S. Monson presided over the meetings.
“Bless this great nation of Mexico. Bless the officers of the government that they may be friendly to Thy people. We pray that Thy Saints may prosper in this good land, that they may be released from the shackles of poverty, that they may go forward with faith, with a crown of righteousness upon their heads, to do Thy will and build Thy kingdom,” said President Monson in the dedicatory prayer.
The dedication was a moving event for Walter Butler, who traveled from Arizona to attend it. Brother Butler and his former missionary companion, the late BYU president Rex E. Lee, opened Veracruz for missionary work in 1955. Now he grappled with emotions trying to talk about a temple being dedicated in the port city where he once served. “I remember the work being so easy in Veracruz,” said Brother Butler. “The area was beautiful; there were people with good hearts.”
More than 5,000 attended the dedication of the new temple, and some 10,000 guests visited the open house from 26 June through 1 July. For Melitón Lagunes, newly appointed president of the Veracruz temple, taking young people through the halls of the sacred building was the highlight of the open house. “Many youth have walked through the celestial room and said of the temple, ‘This is where I’m going to marry.’ That’s wonderful,” he said.
The Veracruz temple will serve nine stakes, two districts, and two unaffiliated branches.
Baton Rouge Louisiana Temple
The Baton Rouge Louisiana Temple was dedicated in four sessions on 16 July by President Gordon B. Hinckley. “May [this temple] provide a shelter of peace from the noise and clamor of the world, a refuge in time of distress, a sanctuary where Thy sons and daughters may come to commune with Thee in sacred and solemn prayer,”said President Hinckley in his dedicatory prayer.
Elder Neal A. Maxwell of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles and Elder Monte J. Brough of the Seventy, President of the North America Southeast Area, also participated in the dedication.
The new temple, the first in Louisiana, stands on a bank of the Mississippi River in a picturesque area between the Baton Rouge stake center and a wetlands nature reserve. Some 4,600 members attended its dedication, and more than 18,500 visitors attended its 1 and 3–8 July open house. They included government, community, and religious leaders, numerous media representatives, neighbors, and patrons of the Church’s local Family History Centers.
The Baton Rouge temple will serve some 25,000 members in nine stakes in Louisiana and Mississippi. Brittany Holm of the Walker Ward, Denham Springs Louisiana Stake, recalls annual temple trips from Baton Rouge to the Dallas Texas Temple, traveling by bus eight hours each way. During the dedication, she looked forward to driving only 30 minutes the following day to do baptisms in the new temple.
Oklahoma City Oklahoma Temple
President James E. Faust dedicated the Church’s 95th operating temple, the Oklahoma City Oklahoma Temple, in four sessions on 30 July.
In the dedicatory prayer, President Faust said, “We pray for Thy cause and kingdom, that it may grow ever stronger in this community. May all who have favored Thy cause be blessed for that which they have done. May many continue to seek for knowledge concerning Thy work until they have embraced Thy restored gospel.”
Accompanying President Faust were Elder Joseph B. Wirthlin of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles and Elder Rex D. Pinegar of the Seventy, President of the North America Southwest Area.
The temple’s open house, held on 15 and 17–22 July, drew over 40,000 visitors. “Our guests were so pleased with the opportunity to see what the temple is all about,” said guide Mary Newman, a member of the Cedar Valley Ward, Oklahoma City Oklahoma Stake. “There were lots of positive comments, and some people even went through more than once.”
Many of the nearly 9,000 members who attended the dedication shed tears of gratitude during the ceremonies. “It’ll be so wonderful to be able to go to the temple frequently,” says Sister Newman, who is now a temple worker in the Oklahoma temple. In the past, members in the area traveled nearly 200 miles to the Dallas Texas Temple. The new temple will make ordinances much more accessible for 44,000 members in the temple district, which includes Oklahoma and parts of Texas, Kansas, Missouri, and Arkansas.