“Winter Quarters, Guadalajara Temples Dedicated,” Ensign, July 2001, 74–75
President Gordon B. Hinckley dedicated the Winter Quarters Nebraska Temple in four sessions on 22 April 2001.
Located in what is now a suburb of Omaha, Nebraska, Winter Quarters was once a refuge for thousands of Latter-day Saint pioneers en route to the Salt Lake Valley. Between June 1846 and October 1848 alone, some 2,000 Church members died at Winter Quarters due to heavy storms, inadequate provisions and shelter, scurvy, malaria, and the Saints’ weakened condition after being driven from Nauvoo or crossing the seas from Europe. Winter Quarters became a place that tested the faith of thousands who struggled through sickness and wilderness to reach their eventual destination in the Salt Lake Valley.
Recognizing the spiritual and historical significance that Winter Quarters represents, President Hinckley said in the temple’s dedicatory prayer, “The ground on which this sacred structure stands was hallowed a century and a half ago by the suffering of Thy Saints. Here they stopped temporarily, hundreds and thousands of them on both sides of the Missouri River, while moving westward from their homes in Nauvoo, or from the British Isles and Europe to the valley of the Great Salt Lake. Many of them died here and are buried in the cemetery adjacent to this holy house. Great were their trials, tremendous their sacrifice. …
“Now the generations have come and gone. Our people left here. Then for reasons of employment they slowly returned. Today we have stakes and wards with large congregations. Songs of thanksgiving fill our hearts. Crowning all is the presence of a temple on this hallowed ground. … We dedicate the ground on which it stands, ground which has already been made holy by those who long ago were buried here. We make the cemetery a part of these grounds.”
President Hinckley was accompanied by Elder L. Tom Perry of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles and by Elder Donald L. Staheli, Elder Monte J. Brough, and Elder Bruce C. Hafen of the Seventy, who comprise the North America Central Area Presidency.
Because of the special significance of Winter Quarters in Church history, the first session of the temple’s dedication was broadcast to meetinghouses throughout the United States and Canada, where temple-worthy members were able to watch the proceedings. The only previous temple dedication that was similarly broadcast was the Palmyra New York Temple dedication on 6 April 2000.
The local community of Florence, Nebraska, has been very receptive to the new temple. Church members and the community worked together to beautify the area before the temple’s open house. Local children handcrafted flowers for store fronts and decorated historic sites and markers with balloons. Over 61,000 people attended the open house. One visitor commented, “I am grateful for your generosity, that we who are not Latter-day Saints can rest for a while in your temple and feel the presence of Jesus Christ.”
Members of the Winter Quarters temple district, which includes the Des Moines Iowa, Independence Missouri, Omaha Nebraska, and Rapid City South Dakota Missions, are especially struck by the significance of a temple now existing at Winter Quarters. “This area, once a staging ground for pioneers going west, once a point of departure, has now become a destination for modern Latter-day Saint pioneers as they come to the house of the Lord,” said E. Louis Butler, Winter Quarters temple president.
Guadalajara Mexico Temple
President Hinckley dedicated the Guadalajara Mexico Temple in four sessions on 29 April. In his dedicatory prayer he said, “We thank Thee for the progress of Thy work in this great nation of Mexico. Move it forward, dear Father. Touch the lives and hearts of great numbers of people who will hearken to the message of truth and come into the fold of Christ. Bring about the miracle of conversion among the great and good people of this land. May those who govern look upon Thy people with respect and with a desire to be helpful. Wilt Thou bless them and the nation for their friendliness to Thy work. …
“May all who enter [the temple] do so worthily. Wilt Thou seal upon them an endowment of righteousness that will become the guardian of their culture and the lives they live.”
Assisting President Hinckley in the dedicatory services were Elder Henry B. Eyring of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles and members of the Mexico North Area Presidency: Elder Lynn A. Mickelsen and Elder Gary J. Coleman of the Seventy, and Elder Adrián Ochoa, Area Authority Seventy.
The Guadalajara temple is the Church’s 105th operating temple and Mexico’s 11th. It will serve more than 60,000 members in 16 stakes and 8 districts in southwestern Mexico. Some 13,000 people attended the temple’s open house, and 6,520 members attended the dedication.
Local Church members said the temple’s dedication filled them with joy. “I can’t describe the emotion that filled us as … our beloved prophet blessed our homes, our country and its leaders, and our land,” said Graciela Garcia of the Moctezuma Ward, Guadalajara Mexico Moctezuma Stake.