“Nauvoo Temple Dedication around the World,” Ensign, Oct. 2002, 75–76
Satellite broadcasts of the Nauvoo Illinois Temple dedicatory sessions on 27–30 June allowed members gathered at 2,983 sites in 68 countries to take part in the dedication. Through television cameras and the satellite broadcast, members were able to view the proceedings and look into the beautiful new temple from meetinghouses around the world.
Sixteen of these countries had never before received a Church satellite broadcast. But for many of those members, the broadcast, in 37 different languages, was much more than a technical achievement. It was a spiritual feast and in many cases an answer to prayer.
“It was as if I were literally in the Nauvoo temple, listening to the prophet,” said Grace Taito of the Nausori Fiji Stake. More than 750 members attended the dedicatory sessions in the Suva Fiji Stake Center. Members of the Lautoka Fiji Stake traveled four hours to arrive early enough to attend a session at the Suva Fiji Temple before the dedication broadcast in the afternoon. “I feel special when I think that President Gordon B. Hinckley has made it possible for us to be part of this dedication by helping provide a satellite for us,” said Lanieta Damuyawa of the Lautoka stake.
In Armenia, the new Komitas chapel was used for the first time just a week before the Nauvoo temple dedication. During the preceding weeks, Armenian members had prayed that the anticipated satellite receiving equipment would arrive and be installed in time for the dedication. As they received the broadcast, said Virab Minasyan, “I felt as if I were present at the ceremony, cut off from the world in the temple in Nauvoo.”
For months, members in Bulgaria anticipated the temple dedication. A special fireside described the history of the Nauvoo temple, and Geo Milev Vest, a monthly bulletin of the Church in Bulgaria, published an issue focusing on the Nauvoo temple dedication. Relief Society sisters prepared white handkerchiefs, and the chapel in Sofia was cleaned and decorated with fresh flowers and pictures of temples. On 28 June, members from Bulgaria, Serbia, and Turkey came dressed in Sunday attire and carrying flowers to participate reverently in the dedication, their preparations at last complete.
In the Philippines, Melinda Vitor recalls that she and her friends, Adelaida Lapid and Bellarose Medes, “could not sleep the night before! We woke up every hour, watching the time. We did not want to miss this historic moment!” Filipino members met in 14 different locations to participate in the dedicatory sessions. “I feel the struggles of the early Saints,” commented President Ramon A. Baraquiel of the Cavite Philippines Stake after the dedication. “They gave up their property, belongings, and treasures to build the house of the Lord. I believe that is the kind of faith we need.”
In Russia, members waited in anxious anticipation, praying that the necessary satellite receiving equipment would be given government approval to enter the country before the dedication. Approval had been in process for weeks. But as late as the evening before the broadcast, prospects looked dim. Elena Nechiporova, director of Church Public Affairs in Russia and an attorney by profession, was told at the customs office at 4:30 that afternoon to return the next day. “We can’t wait,” she said. “We must have it tonight.” There was nothing more she could do, but when a customs official asked why the requests had seemed so earnest and pleading, Sister Nechiporova followed the impression that came to mind. She told him why the equipment was so important to Latter-day Saints in their country, relating the history of Nauvoo and speaking of the thousands of people in Russia awaiting the broadcast.
Moved by what he heard, the customs official signed the necessary papers at 5:45 P.M. The receiving equipment was delivered to the broadcast sites and installed that night. When members, some of whom had been traveling for up to 26 hours, arrived at meetinghouses the next day, they were able to see the prophet of the Church addressing them from the Nauvoo temple. “When the history of the Nauvoo Illinois Temple dedication is written,” remarked Elder Douglas L. Callister of the Seventy, President of the Europe East Area, “I hope a chapter explains how the Lord worked a miracle to include these members in Eastern Europe.”