Amidst a morning of low clouds and occasional peeks of sunshine, President Russell M. Nelson of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints dedicated the Concepción Chile Temple on Sunday, October 28, 2018.
President Nelson, Elder Gary E. Stevenson of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles; Presiding Bishop Gérald Caussé; Elder Larry Y. Wilson, executive director of the Temple Department; and other Church leaders participated in the morning exterior cornerstone ceremony and the dedicatory prayer inside the temple to complete the first of three dedicatory sessions of the temple, located in south-central Chile.
President Nelson and his wife, Wendy, and Elder Stevenson and his wife, Lesa, left Salt Lake City on October 19 for a nine-day, five-country journey to South America. The stop in Concepción, Chile, and the temple dedication is the pinnacle of their trip. President Nelson ministered and offered prophetic counsel in English and Spanish to tens of thousands of Latter-day Saints in Peru, Bolivia, Paraguay, Uruguay and Chile.
Saturday President Nelson held a luncheon on the temple grounds with government leaders and dignitaries. Among those seated at a table with President and Sister Nelson were Jorge Ulloa A., a regional governor over southern Chile; Jaqueline Van Rysselberghe, a senator and national president of the Unión Demócrata Independiente party; and Fransico Javier Irarrázabal, director of COANIQUEM Foundation, whose cousin was a medical student of President Nelson’s when he taught in Santiago.
“Thanks to the Church of Jesus Christ for this [temple],” Ulloa A. said. “The city wins with this construction; the neighborhood improves its image. And also from the point of view of growth in the Church, it is going to experience an upswing because society is going to look at this Church in a different way.”
Rysselberghe spoke of the many good experiences he has had with Latter-day Saints in Chile.
“I’ve met members of the Church from different parts of the city, and there was a common thing about all of them: they all have a great spirit of service among them,” he said. “When we have had emergencies — and in this city we have had many emergencies — many members of the Church volunteer to help, to serve and to assist on behalf of other people. Therefore, what we see here today, the beauty of this building, reflects the beauty of the souls of the members of the Church.”
Saturday Evening Devotional
Saturday evening at a youth devotional was held at a local stake center where more than 1,450 young women and men attended and heard counsel from President and Sister Nelson, Elder and Sister Stevenson and Presiding Bishop and Sister Caussé. Thousands more participated in area meetinghouses and on the internet.
“At lunch [Saturday] I told one of our distinguished guests that the safest place to be in Chile in an earthquake is in the temple in Concepcion,” President Nelson told the youth. “It’s the safest place physically and spiritually. The temple is a holy place. It’s like heaven on earth. We are very grateful for this magnificent house of the Lord. … The temple is the object of every activity, every lesson and every progressive step in the Church.”
Sister Nelson told the youth they would be blessed as they spend more time learning about their family history and worshiping in the temple.
“As you find your ancestors and go to the temple, you’ll do better in school,” Sister Nelson said. “You’ll do better with your friends and family members. You’ll deal with temptations more easily. You’ll make better decisions. And you will be filled with joy.”
Elder Stevenson reminded the young people of the spiritual protection that comes from living the way Latter-day Saints must live to enter a temple.
“You’ll never be lost if you can see the temple in your lives,” he said. “If you are worthy to hold a temple recommend, you see the temple. When we participate in ordinances, you see the temple. … When we go to the temple we learn about Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ.”
Sister Stevenson encouraged the youth to realize the blessing of having a temple in their midst.
“What an amazing experience it is for the youth of the Church to be able to go to the house of the Lord,” she said. “We went to the temple today and it was beautiful, it was clean, it was quiet, it had the spirit of our Heavenly Father there. The minute you walked in the door you could feel it. It is His house, it is pure.”
Saturday afternoon, President Nelson, Elder Stevenson and other senior and local leaders walked through the new 23,000-square-foot temple. More than 83,000 people attended the public open house held during September and October.
During their five-country journey, the senior Church leaders met with thousands of missionaries and hosted devotionals also broadcast nationwide to local congregations. Their trip included meetings with religious leaders and dignitaries, including Peru President Martín Vizcarra.
The 94-year-old prophet taught Latter-day Saints in South America about the Savior Jesus Christ, who is a source of peace, and to keep the commandments. He encouraged parents to teach their children about prayer, the sacrament and the blessings of the temple, as well as to read the scriptures and honor their father and mother. He also taught that man was created in God’s image and that the Lord restored His Church to bless the lives of all His children