Serge Gaston, former president of the Paris Stake, recalled President Spencer W. Kimball telling French members in 1976 that a temple would be built in France one day. Serge, who was 10 years old at the time, said, “I still remember the deep spiritual impact this announcement had then on my young heart.”
In the 1990s, Gordon B. Hinckley, President of the Church, promised the French members that there would soon be a temple built in their beloved country. In 1996, he marveled at the growth of the Church in France. “When I came here after the war,” he said, “there were so very few members of the Church, and now there are 30,000 of you.” He invited all members in France to “unite your prayers with ours,” promising that if they did so, they would be able to “construct somewhere in this area a house of the Lord, a sacred temple.”
Despite some local opposition, members in France followed President Hinckley’s charge and joined in prayer to bring to pass the opening of the temple. Gérald Caussé, son of Jean and Marie-Blanche Caussé and Presiding Bishop of the Church, described the important role of members: “In my family, and in families of other French Saints, we prayed for the temple on a daily basis and with our children.” Serge Gaston added, “Many were the members who kept praying earnestly and sincerely, many times a day, to plead with the Lord that He might fulfill His prophet’s announcement.”
In addition to their prayers, members in Versailles worked to educate their neighbors about the Church and the temple. They held open houses at their meetinghouse to help others in the community understand the temple project. Alexis and Lyse, members who participated in an open house in 2012, shared more about their religion with Le Parisien. “I understand that some people may be afraid of us, because they don’t know us.” Alexis said, “But we are completely normal people. … We have just made the choice to live according to certain standards.” The combined faith, prayers, and outreach of the French Saints eventually led to the announcement and construction of the temple in Le Chesnay. The temple was dedicated in May 2017.