“Tenth Temple in Europe Opens,” Liahona, Jan. 2007, N2–N3
The Church completed the construction of a temple in Helsinki, Finland, in August 2006—the 10th temple in Europe and the first in Finland.
For two weeks between September 21 and October 7, 2006, the public toured the temple during an open house. After the public open house, the temple was dedicated on Sunday, October 22. Four dedicatory sessions accommodated Latter-day Saints in the area served by the temple.
In conjunction with the temple dedication, a cultural celebration of music and dance for Church members throughout the region was held on Saturday, October 21, 2006, in Helsinki.
The temple allows worthy members to receive the blessings of the temple as they take part in sacred covenants and ordinances and to receive instruction about life before mortality, the purposes of this life, and the central role of Jesus Christ as the Redeemer of all God’s children.
“Each temple is symbolic of our faith in God and an evidence of our faith in life after death,” Elder Russell M. Nelson of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles has stated. “The temple is the object of every activity, every lesson, every progressive step in the Church. All of our efforts in proclaiming the gospel, perfecting the Saints, and redeeming the dead lead to the holy temple” (”Prepare for Blessings of the Temple,” Ensign, Mar. 2002, 17).
The blessings of the temple are now within easier reach of the approximately 26,000 members in the area served by the temple, which includes Finland, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Belarus, and Russia.
Finland is home to more than 4,500 members of the Church. Missionary work began there in the late 1800s. Swedish missionary brothers preached in Vaasa in 1876. That year, the first converts in Finland were baptized, and by 1886, 25 people had been baptized among the Swedish-speaking Finns. The Finnish Mission was organized in 1947, when there were only 129 members in Finland. During the next 7 years, the Church gained legal status and the Book of Mormon was translated into Finnish. The Helsinki Stake was organized in October 1977 with 3,642 members.
The Helsinki Finland Temple was first announced on April 2, 2000, during the 170th Annual General Conference of the Church. The groundbreaking took place in the Helsinki suburb of Karakallio, Espoo, on March 29, 2003. It is the 124th operating temple in the world and the 3rd in the Nordic countries. Temples in Stockholm, Sweden, and Copenhagen, Denmark, were completed in 1985 and 2004, respectively.
“Surely these temples are unique among all buildings,” President Gordon B. Hinckley stated. “They are houses of instruction. They are places of covenants and promises. At their altars we kneel before God our Creator and are given promise of His everlasting blessings. In the sanctity of their appointments we commune with Him and reflect on His Son, our Savior and Redeemer, the Lord Jesus Christ, who served as proxy for each of us in a vicarious sacrifice in our behalf. Here we set aside our own selfishness and serve for those who cannot serve themselves. Here, under the true priesthood power of God, we are bound together in the most sacred of all human relationships—as husbands and wives, as children and parents, as families under a sealing that time cannot destroy and death cannot disrupt.
“These sacred buildings were constructed even during those dark years when the Latter-day Saints were relentlessly driven and persecuted. They have been built and maintained in times of poverty and prosperity. They come from the vital faith of an ever-growing number who bear witness of a living God, of the resurrected Lord, of prophets and divine revelation, and of the peace and assurance of eternal blessings to be found only in the house of the Lord” (“Why These Temples?” Tambuli, June 1992, 2; Ensign, Aug. 1974, 37).