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'Marvelous' event

Thousands participate in Panama temple open house

Two temples slated for dedication in August have opened to public visits. The Panama City Panama Temple is scheduled for dedication Aug. 10. The Twin Falls Idaho Temple will be dedicated Aug. 24.

With its ornate design and stunning views of the Panama Canal, the recently completed Panama City Panama Temple is being welcomed by folks of all backgrounds.

Thousands of Panamanians have visited the edifice during the opening week of the temple's open house activities. Highlights have included wide media coverage and visits from Panama's First Lady, Vivian Fernandez de Torrijos, and hundreds of other local dignitaries.

"The experience has been marvelous," said Central America Area public affairs director Julio Alvarado. "More than 5,000 people passed through the temple in just the first two days."

Panama City Panama Stake President Brent Lamb has been serving as public affairs director for the temple open house.

"I had the opportunity to be one of the guides for the first three days of visits," President Lamb said. "It was amazing to see the effect the temple had on those who passed through the open house. I had many people come up to me afterwards and say that was nothing like what they had expected."

Open house visitors toured the China stone 19,000-square-foot temple, enjoying the outdoor landscaping and the many peaceful rooms and hallways that fill the edifice. Interior features include several original murals, wood doors and decorations crafted from Panama mahogany and floors and countertops made of Spanish stone.

Michelle Delgado, 7, and Megan Junca, 9, help prepare temple gardens for open house.
Michelle Delgado, 7, and Megan Junca, 9, help prepare temple gardens for open house. | Courtesy Central America Area

Positive press coverage of the open house included a front page story in Panama's largest newspaper, La Prensa. One radio commentator reportedly told his audience that if they didn't visit the "Mormon temple," they were missing a once-in-a-lifetime experience.

President Lamb hosted one reporter whose cynical attitude of the open house was softened by a visit to the temple's celestial room. "He was overcome and didn't have words to describe the feelings he had experienced. He said that he was deeply moved by the spiritual feeling that resides there."

Once dedicated, the Panama City Panama Temple — the Church's 127th temple — will serve more than 40,000 members in Panama from eight stakes and six districts.

Baptismal font
Baptismal font | Copyright Intellectual Reserve
Celestial room
Celestial room | Copyright Intellectual Reserve

E-mail to: jswensen@desnews.com

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