45th temple dedicated — long-held dream now reality following rites in San Siego

A temple in the San Diego, Calif., area - announced publicly by the First Presidency nine years ago and long a dream of local LDS leaders and members - became a reality this week as the Church's 45th operating temple was dedicated.

Located on seven acres in suburban La Jolla, the glistening white San Diego California Temple was dedicated Sunday, April 25, by President Gordon B. Hinckley, first counselor in the First Presidency. President Hinckley offered the prayer of dedication in the first of 23 dedicatory sessions. (See page 4 for the full text of the prayer.)Additional coverage of the San Diego temple dedication will be in next week's Church News.

The sessions were held April 25-30, with three sessions on the first day, and four sessions on each day thereafter. It is estimated that about 50,000 members attended the dedicatory sessions.

The temple district includes some 80,000 members in 21 stakes in four Southern California counties and in five stakes and a mission district in northern Mexico.

Prior to the first session a copper box containing significant items about the temple and about members of the temple district was placed in the southeast corner of the temple, and marble facing with the wording "Erected in 1993" was sealed in place.

Participating with President Hinckley in the dedication of the temple was President Thomas S. Monson, second counselor in the First Presidency.

The two counselors to President Ezra Taft Benson both attended the first two sessions on Sunday. After that, they shared responsibilities, with President Hinckley presiding at and conducting the next 11 sessions and President Monson presiding at and conducting the final 10 sessions. In each session except one of three Spanish-speaking sessions, the dedicatory prayer was offered by a member of the First Presidency or the Council of the Twelve. At the three Spanish-speaking sessions, Elder Boyd K. Packer and Elder Richard G. Scott of the Council of the Twelve, and Elder Dean L. Larsen of the Presidency of the Seventy, read the prayer in Spanish.

President Benson, who broke ground for the temple in February 1988, was unable to attend the dedicatory service because of his age and health. Both President Hinckley and President Monson expressed how much the prophet would have liked to have been in attendance.

As President Hinckley began the week of dedication, he said in the first session, "What we have now [the number of temples in the ChurchT is but the beginning of what we will have as the work of the Lord moves in power and majesty across the earth."

The San Diego temple is the third temple in California. "There will be other temples in this state," President Hinckley told the session-goers. "We're not going to announce any today, but the growth of the Church will mandate that and it will come to pass."

He also referred, in one of the Spanish-speaking sessions, to additional temples in the future. "More temples are coming and we're hopeful that Spanish will be spoken very extensively in some of them. The adversary doesn't like us to build temples, but it will happen."

President Hinckley explained that a temple stands as "a testimony that . . . life is eternal, that it is everlasting."

"This is a beautiful building. But I would like to emphasize that it is not the architecture of the temple that is significant, nor is its appearance. The significant things about this temple are the ordinances of the gospel that will be administered here." The ordinances, he explained, deal with "the things of eternity."

"There would be no purpose to build temples if there was no immortality," he said. "Life beyond the grave is as real and personal and tangible and actual as it is here."

In both the Spanish-speaking sessions that President Hinckley addressed, he spoke, with emotion, of the heritage of the Mexican saints. "You come from two great ancestral lines, from the people of Spain and from the people of Jerusalem, Lehi and his children.

"Great is your inheritance and marvelous are your blessings," President Hinckley emphasized as he referred to sacred ordinances that are received only in the temple.

"And to here [the templeT we will come," President Hinckley continued, "and in this place we shall stand before Him and covenant with Him that we will live His law, that we will be His people and He will be our God.

"This is a day of dedication not only of this beautiful house, but also for each of us as we consecrate ourselves more completely for the service of Him who died that we might live and whose cause we serve."

In both Spanish-speaking sessions, President Hinckley spoke of Lehi in the Book of Mormon and solemnly said: "I love Lehi. My heart goes out to Lehi," and then he told of the sorrows and heartaches that Lehi endured, primarily because of his concern about his posterity.

"I think he [LehiT must have gone down to his grave as a broken man, and as he looked down from heaven, he must have wept. And wept. And wept."

But, President Hinckley continued, Lehi must be rejoicing now "to know that the shackles of darkness are falling from the eyes of his children and the light of the gospel is coming into their lives."

He told the Mexican saints: "You are a beautiful people . . . with beautiful testimonies, with the light of the gospel of Christ in your lives. You represent a miracle this day in the house of God. [You areT people who love the Lord and are loved by the Lord."

President Hinckley, in the second Spanish-speaking session, said, "I've seen a beautiful picture in the temple today. It isn't the architecture, it's the people. I've had my eye on a couple - father and mother holding hands with one another, and a little boy leaning his head on his mother and a beautiful, little girl with her head on her father.

"As I looked at the beautiful family, I said, `This is what it's all about, people who love and respect and honor one another; families who get on their knees and pray together; homes where there is love and peace and honor and respect."

At another session, President Hinckley said that whether temples are large or small, grand or rather simple, the construction of the buildings is not an end in itself. "It is a means to an end," he emphasized, "which has to do with that magnificent promise that `God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.' " (John 3:16.)

"That is the purpose of building temples," President Hinkley declared.

President Monson, in his addresses in two sessions Sunday morning, referred to comments made by President Benson at the groundbreaking five years ago.

"Today we break ground for one more `holy place,' President Monson quoted President Benson as saying. "The saints have been commanded to stand in holy places, such as our temples, in order to avoid the tribulations which are to come in the latter days.

"Soon you will have here in San Diego another latter-day temple that will serve as a beacon to members and non-members alike."

(The temple is located adjacent to Interstate 5, the main thoroughfare between San Diego and Los Angeles. The temple, reaching 200 feet in the air with a gold-leafed statue of the Angel Moroni atop the highest tower, dominates the landscape, both in beauty and its unusual architecture. Every day, tens of thousand of cars travel the freeway and see the temple with its gleaming white exterior finish of marble chips blown in wet plaster to give it a glistening look.)

"A beacon to all," President Monson said in his first address, "the temple seems to extend a gentle invitation, "Come, Come Ye to the House of the Lord.' Here His precious plan will be taught. Here eternal covenants will be made. Here unfailing devotion will be pledged. Labors will not be confined to self alone, for in this and every temple two twin endeavors go hand in hand: temple work for one's self and temple work for others. Baptisms, endowments and sacred sealings will here be performed by you in behalf of those who have gone beyond. . . ."

President Monson also quoted President Benson as saying: "As a consequence of this temple coming to this area, faith will increase and this area will be blessed. Our families will be protected, and our children safeguarded as we live the gospel, visit the temple, and live close to the Lord."

"I believe," said President Monson, "that the fulfillment of that prophetic statement has been made manifest."

He spoke of the open house of the temple, which was held for six weeks, beginning in February. A total of 720,000 visitors toured the edifice. "What a great missionary endeavor that activity was," President Monson said.

Then speaking of the magnificence of the temple, President Monson said, "We marvel at the beauty of the temple. It is a worthy building, but as beautiful as it is, it is the brothers and sisters who come here who comprise the greatest beauty of all. Each comes with his or her own spiritual thoughts."

President Monson spoke of the scripture in D&C 88:119, and said, "When we pattern our lives after the blueprint spoken through revelation to the Prophet Joseph Smith at Kirtland, Ohio, in December 1832, we will be fashioning temples prepared for eternity. If we truly follow that blueprint. . . we shall come closer to our objective of exaltation in the kingdom of God."

In the second session, President Monson told a story illustrating that temple ordinances bridge the chasm between life and death.

"I recognize full well that life marches on and there are difficulties which come," he said. "There are separations which occur. Many years ago I received a telephone call from a lovely lady - a temple worker - who advised me that her precious daughter had passed away, succumbing to the same dreaded blood disease that had taken her husband." The death of the woman left seven children motherless.

"I went to the mortuary that evening to see if I could offer some comfort. That's a difficult assignment. There in the casket was the body of that beautiful mother. By the side of the casket was her stalwart husband, and then each of the seven children lined up according to age.

"The tiniest girl recognized me and came over. She said, `Oh, Brother Monson, come and see my Mommy. There, isn't she pretty?' I acknowledged that she was.

"Then she noticed a big tear in my eye. She said, Oh, Brother Monson, you musn't cry. Mommy told me not to cry when this took place.' She said,Brother Monson, Mommy taught me that we will be together forever, that I'll see her again, and my mother never told a lie.'

"I put my arm around that precious little girl and I knew that she was part of a forever family. I told her that they would be together again because of the sacred and holy ordinances which had been performed in the house of God."

During the week of dedication, 25 General Authorities, in addition to Young Women Gen. Pres. Janette C. Hales, spoke at various sessions.

In addition to President Hinckley and President Monson, other General Authorities participating in the dedication were: President Howard W. Hunter and Elders Boyd K. Packer, Marvin J. Ashton, L. Tom Perry, David B. Haight, James E. Faust, Neal A. Maxwell, Russell M. Nelson, Dallin H. Oaks, M. Russell Ballard, Joseph B. Wirthlin and Richard G. Scott, of the Council of the Twelve.

Also Elders Dean L. Larsen, Charles Didier and L. Aldin Porter of the Presidency of the Seventy; and Elders F. Enzio Busche, Henry B. Eyring, Jacob de Jager, Jack H Goaslind, John H. Groberg, H. Burke Peterson and David E. Sorensen of the Seventy; and Presiding Bishop Robert D. Hales.

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