Temple 'will add to peace in the Yucatan Peninsula'

MERIDA, Mexico — In an area known for its magnificent Mayan ruins, ground was broken Jan. 16 for Mexico's sixth temple.

Elder Carl B. Pratt of the Seventy and president of the Mexico South Area presided and spoke at the ceremonial start of the Merida Yucatan Temple. The site is in a city near the famous Uxmal and Chichen Itza Mayan ruins on the Yucatan Peninsula. A gathering of some 550 members from throughout the states of Yucatan, Campeche and Quintana Roo attended the ceremony.

Elder Pratt was accompanied by Elder Octaviano Tenorio, Area Authority Seventy and second counselor in the area presidency, who also spoke. Presidents Luis F. Cejin Ortiz of the Merida stake, Fermin Herrera Baez of Merida Central stake, and Abel Ordaz Rosado, the first president of the Merida stake, also addressed the gathering.

A choir of 47 voices, under the direction of Villegas Gongora, performed several hymns.

In his address, Elder Pratt recalled that when President Gordon B. Hinckley announced in April 1998 that 30 small temples would be built, each of the stake presidents in Merida hoped that a temple would be built in this city.

He said that when he heard that "a temple would be built in Merida, my heart was filled with joy."

"We want to establish a culture of temple attendance," Elder Pratt said. "From sacrifice comes blessings. I know that the construction of this temple will add to the strength of the home; it will add to the love of husbands and wives; it will add to the peace in the Yucatan Peninsula."

He said that the maintenance of the temple would become the responsibility of all the members and the gardens of the temple grounds would be in the care of the Aaronic Priesthood.

In his remarks, Elder Tenorio said that "in the year 2000 or shortly thereafter, there will be 100 temples throughout the earth. The temples are for marriages and sealings for this life and for eternity. We do not forget that the greatest success for the Church comes when families have been sealed in the temple."

Pres. Herrera said, "We have received an eternal hope through the atonement of Jesus Christ. Without this, the work of the temple is not possible. In this beautiful city, the sun is always radiant, but it is no more resplendent than the hearts of the Saints who know that in this land of the Mayas there will be built a House of the Lord."

Pres. Cejin encouraged members to "maintain our lives in order, in order to always be worthy before the Lord."

Brother Ordaz recalled the 1959 dedication of the first meetinghouse, and then later the dedication of the first stake center.

He said that the building of the temple is symbolic of the changes that must come in the lives of members. As old buildings are demolished and removed to make way for the new, so must members "demolish the barrier of unbelief, and have faith in the Lord. As the old material is removed, so must the sins be removed through repentance. As the ground is cleared and made clean for construction, so must lives be made clean through baptism. Then, just as construction commences, also begins the growth of the delicious fruit, the word of God."

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