“Two Brazilian Temples Dedicated,” Ensign, Mar. 2001, 73–74
President Gordon B. Hinckley, assisted by President James E. Faust, Second Counselor in the First Presidency, recently dedicated the Recife Brazil Temple and the Porto Alegre Brazil Temple. The temples were the last to be dedicated in 2000, a year of remarkable temple building.
The two temple dedications were especially meaningful for President Faust, who served as a young missionary in Brazil from 1939 to 1942. At that time there were about 800 members in this South American nation. Today, Brazilian Church membership has swelled to some 800,000.
During the same trip, President Hinckley and President Faust also spoke to congregations in Puerto Rico and in Panama.
Recife Brazil Temple
President Hinckley and President Faust each conducted two sessions of the Recife temple dedication on 15 December. In the dedicatory prayer they petitioned, “Smile with favor upon this great nation of Brazil, where Thy work has grown in a remarkable and wonderful way. Prosper its economy. May peace prevail throughout the land. May Thy messengers, the missionaries, be welcomed here; and may their labors be exceedingly fruitful.”
The two First Presidency members were accompanied by Elder Claudio R. M. Costa, Elder Robert S. Wood, and Elder Darwin B. Christenson of the Seventy, members of the Brazil North Area Presidency.
More than 7,000 members attended the dedication of the Recife Brazil Temple, the first to be completed in Brazil since the São Paulo temple was dedicated 22 years ago. The Recife temple will serve 137,500 members in 39 stakes and five districts in northern Brazil. Many of these members have not been able to make the cost-prohibitive, 72-hour trip to São Paulo.
The exquisite new temple, with its surrounding gardens, fruit trees, and palm trees, attracted 78,386 people to its open house, held 11 November through 2 December. Thousands of these visitors were members of other faiths and less-active members.
“We believe that the Church here is going to become stronger, given the number of nonmember families who asked to learn more about the Church and the number of less-active members who expressed their desire to return to activity after the open house,” said Cleto Oliveira, a local public affairs representative.
Porto Alegre Brazil Temple
The Porto Alegre temple was dedicated on 17 December, the 102nd operating temple of the Church and the last to be dedicated in 2000. “Bless in ever-increasing numbers the Saints of this temple district that they may qualify and keep themselves worthy to serve in Thy house. … We invoke Thy blessings on this great nation of Brazil,” said President Hinckley in the dedicatory prayer.
President Hinckley and President Faust were joined at the dedicatory services by Elder J. Kent Jolley, Elder Athos M. Amorim, and Elder Adhemar Damiani of the Seventy, members of the Brazil South Area Presidency.
More than 7,500 Latter-day Saints attended the dedication of the temple, which is located in an attractive neighborhood on a sloping hill overlooking the city. The temple will serve 58,000 members in 27 stakes and four districts in southern Brazil. The temple’s 2–9 December open house drew more than 25,000 visitors.
During the dedicatory services, President Faust said that when he arrived in Porto Alegre as a missionary, there were only six Church members in the entire city. Among those members was the young Olga Bing Biehl, who had been baptized on 17 December 1938.
As she and her husband attended the Porto Alegre temple dedication exactly 62 years to the day after her baptism, Sister Biehl expressed joy and wonder that a temple had been built in her city.
Puerto Rico Member Meeting
President Hinckley’s stop in San Juan on 13 December en route to Brazil marked the first time he had visited Puerto Rico. About 3,300 members, some who had traveled from as far as the U.S. Virgin Islands, assembled in a coliseum to hear the words of President Hinckley and President Faust. Also speaking were Elder Richard D. Allred and Elder Gordon T. Watts of the Seventy, President and First Counselor of the North America Southeast Area Presidency, and Dean M. Davies, president of the Puerto Rico San Juan Mission.
President Hinckley bore testimony of Jesus Christ, the Prophet Joseph Smith, and the Restoration. “I hope and pray that you will remember this meeting when you heard me stand before you and declare my testimony of the truth of this great cause and kingdom. God our Eternal Father lives. Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the living God.”
He also urged members to live worthy to attend the temple. “I say to every man and woman here tonight, live for the day when you can go to the house of the Lord. You must do it; the gospel is not complete without the ordinances of the temple.”
President Faust petitioned for more full-time missionaries, asking mothers to prepare their sons for missionary service. “It was the faith [my mother] instilled in young hearts that caused all five Faust sons to serve missions and be married in the temple,” he said.
Panama Member Meeting
Some 4,500 members gathered at a convention center in Panama City to see and hear Church leaders speak on 18 December. President Hinckley and President Faust were joined by Elder Lynn G. Robbins of the Seventy, President of the Central America Area, and by Duane B. Williams, president of the Panama Panama City Mission.
During his address, President Hinckley spoke on the importance of tithing, saying that if the members would pay their tithing and demonstrate their faith, “we will find a way to build a temple here.”
President Faust spoke about being born again and making the covenants of baptism. He concluded with his testimony of the Savior.