A sense of brotherhood at Perth groundbreaking

PERTH, Australia — A temple groundbreaking here recently gave religious, civic and political leaders an opportunity to express their respect for the members, initiatives and values of the Church.

Community leaders joined more than 700 Church members Nov. 20 for the groundbreaking for the Perth Australia Temple in this remote capital city. The temple, the farthest temple from Salt Lake City, will be constructed adjacent to the Dianella Australia Stake center.

Elder Kenneth Johnson, first counselor in the Australia/New Zealand Area Presidency, presided over the groundbreaking and joined with other leaders in offering expressions of gratitude and admiration for the Church in Perth.

Those in attendance were uplifted by talks from pioneer members and Church leaders before Elder Johnson offered the closing remarks and the site dedicatory prayer. The Perth multi-stake young adult choir provided the music.

During his remarks, Elder Johnson noted that President Gordon B. Hinckley plans to dedicate an estimated 42 temples next year. Temples, said Elder Johnson, have only been constructed when the Lord has instructed the prophets to do so; "man cannot assume that opportunity, God has to assign it."

Elder Johnson also quoted from letters of congratulations received from Major Michael Jeffrey, governor of Western Australia, and Richard Court, premier of Western Australia.

"I have no doubt that the temple will contribute to the growth and stability of the Church here. But more importantly it will contribute to the growth and stability of members and their families," Elder Johnson read from Gov. Jeffrey's letter. "This is the most significant step forward since the Church was established in Western Australia 103 years ago and I congratulate you all on reaching this important and exciting milestone."

Premier Court was equally positive. "The significant growth of the membership of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints throughout the world is accompanied by the growing respect and influence for good in the Western Australian community," he wrote.

"Now at the end of the 20th Century an important extension of the work and witness of the Church is about to be built in Perth."

Other community leaders also shared expressions of congratulations for the future temple.

In recognition of the temple, the leader of the Perth Russian Orthodox Community, the Rev. Wally Mowtschan, presented the Church with a gift of frankincense, symbolizing one of the gifts given to Jesus by the wise men.

Elder Johnson said that the enthusiasm for the new temple — from members as well as from civic, political and religious leaders in the community — was evident at the groundbreaking.

At the conclusion of the service, all three Perth stake presidents, along with community leaders, pioneer members, youth and children were invited to turn the soil with gold-painted shovels.

Rockingham Australia Stake president, Adrian S. Palm, said, "It was thrilling to see so many friends of the Church participate in the groundbreaking service.

"I was overwhelmed with a real sense of brotherhood. The influence of the temple is already touching lives."

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