Bogota Colombia Temple

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Announced: April 7, 1984.

Location: Carrera 37 No. 125A-65, Bogota D.C., Colombia; phone: (57) 1-625-8000.

Site: 3.71 acres.

Exterior finish: granite, Asa Branca.

Temple design: Classic modern.

Architects: Cuellar, Cerrano y Gomez, S.A. and Church A&E Services.

Project manager: Cesar Davila.

Contractor: Capital City Construction.

Rooms: Celestial room, baptistry, four ordinance rooms, three sealing rooms.

Total floor area: 53,500 square feet.

Dimensions: 76 feet by 186 feet.; spire, 124 feet high.

District: 44 stakes and districts in Colombia.

Groundbreaking, site dedication: June 26, 1993, by Elder William R. Bradford of the Seventy and president South America North Area.

Dedication: April 24, 1999, by President Gordon B. Hinckley; 11 sessions.

Dedicatory Prayer

By President Gordon B. Hinckley

O God, the Eternal Father, we are gathered together in the name of Thy Beloved Son to dedicate this, the Bogotá Colombia Temple of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Thou hast blessed us, Thy servants, with the holy priesthood, even the fulness of the everlasting priesthood, and acting in this authority, and in the name of Jesus Christ, our Redeemer and our Lord, we dedicate and consecrate unto Thee and unto Him this sacred edifice. It is verily the house of the Lord, Thy temple. Wilt Thou accept it as the offering of Thy sons and daughters throughout the earth who have contributed their tithes to the advancement of Thy work and thereby made possible this sacred structure. Additionally, the faithful Saints of Colombia have given generously of their means to this cause.

Bless them, dear Father, for their faith. Open the windows of heaven and shower down blessings upon them, and bless their posterity after them, that they may continue in faithfulness.

Almighty God, Thou Great Elohim, we bow in reverence and love before Thee, and invite Thy watch care over this, Thy sacred house. We dedicate the structure in its entirety from the footings to the figure of Moroni, with all of its facilities, including the sacred altars where Thy people will enter into covenants with Thee.

We dedicate the grounds with the plant life that grows thereon. We dedicate the auxiliary structure associated with this temple, which will provide housing for workers and patrons, as well as other purposes. We pray that Thou wilt safe-guard these buildings against the elements. Keep them secure from violation by any who seek to enter with evil intent. May all who come into the house of the Lord be acceptable unto Thee, and do so in cleanliness before Thee.

May Thy Saints gather from near and far to Thy house to receive the great blessings of eternity, and to extend these to those beyond the veil of death, that Thy divine plan for Thy sons and daughters of all generations may come to full fruition.

We pray for the temple president and his counselors, together with their wives and all who serve herein. Bless all who come as patrons that they may find joy and inspiration in their service in this Thy holy house. Eternal Father, we are Thy children who delight to honor Thee and who look to Thee for direction and guidance in our lives. We thank Thee for the doctrine and authority of Thy restored Church, and for the inspired practices of Thy people. We walk in the sunlight of everlasting truth, and pray that we may never stray therefrom.

Bless Thy work in all the earth. Bless Thy people everywhere. May light and knowledge distill upon them and bring gladness and peace to their hearts.

We invoke Thy divine favor upon this nation of Colombia. Bless its people and its government for their kindness to Thy servants. May peace reign in the land and the noise of conflict be silenced. May Thy work roll on without hindrance and may Thy servants, whose message is one of peace, be protected and guided in their ministry.

Holy Father, bless Thy Church and all its people wherever they may be found, and in a particular way bless those who have been given the responsibilities of leadership. Let the Spirit of Revelation rest upon them. Sustain and magnify them before the people. We thank Thee for the Prophet Joseph Smith and for all that has come through him in the establishment of Thy Zion in the earth. May Thy Church "come forth out of the wilderness of darkness, and shine forth fair as the moon, clear as the sun, and terrible as an army with banners" (D&C 109:73).

We are grateful for those who have gone before us in establishing and strengthening Thy kingdom in this part of the earth. Now stands this beautiful temple as a witness and testimony of the truth of all that they taught and did. It offers the crowning blessing of the gospel to everyone who accepts the ordinances to be given herein. It extends Thy holy work from mortal life to the eternities that lie beyond. It gives greater understanding of the atonement wrought by the Savior of all mankind.

To Thee, dear Father, be the honor, and the praise and the glory, now and forever more, we pray in the name of Thy Divine Son, the Redeemer of the world, even the Lord Jesus Christ, amen.

Bogota Colombia Temple: 'Most beautiful building' opens doors to public

BOGOTA, Colombia — Doors of "the most beautiful building ever built in this nation" have been opened to VIPs and the general public, and visitors have responded warmly.

After waiting eagerly for 15 years, Colombian members were able to see the realization of their dreams as the Bogota Colombia Temple open house began March 24 for special visitors, and March 27 for the general public.

The Bogota temple, which was announced during the presidency of President Spencer W. Kimball on April 7, 1984, by President Gordon B. Hinckley, then second counselor in the First Presidency, will be dedicated as the Church's 57th temple on April 24-26.

Some 6,180 people, including construction workers, architects, contractors, and neighbors, toured the temple the first day. The following two days, ambassadors, elected officials, clerics, educators, businessmen and representatives of the media toured the temple.

There to welcome them and to serve as their guides were members of the South America Area presidency: Elder Francisco J. Vinas, president; and his counselors, Elder Robert J. Whetten and Elder Walter F. Gonzalez, all of the Seventy. Also welcoming visitors was Elder Cesar A. Davila, Area Authority Seventy for Colombia.

During the three-week open house for the general public, which will continue through April 17, some 100,000 visitors are expected to visit the first temple in northern South America.

Members in Colombia have been preparing long to make the visit a spiritual experience for each person, said Elder Davila.

"As they leave the temple, visitors reflect the impact from being edified within. Without a doubt, the temple is the most beautiful building ever built in Colombia, and is especially significant in relation to uniting families.

"We heard comments such as, 'While in the temple, we felt far away from the world, and from our problems.'

"Another visitor commented, 'In the beautiful room where we were not to speak, we felt a desire to meditate and reflect.'

"One well-known cleric of a local college, as he left, said, 'We were able to enter a new world.'

"The wife of a prominent businessman commented, 'I wish I could have in my life and in my soul what this building has.'

"Such expressions demonstrate that the temple is fundamental to the mission of the Church, which is to invite all to come unto Christ and be perfected in Him," said Elder Davila.

Bogota Temple -- Gift of inner peace in a troubled land 'Greatest event in history of Colombia'

By John L. Hart

BOGOTA, COLOMBIA -- The dedication of the Bogota Colombia Temple by President Gordon B. Hinckley was "the greatest event in the history of Colombia," according to many who attended the dedication April 24-26.

Maria Berta Ibarguen awaits entering temple to attend dedication.Photo by John L. HartColombian members from throughout the nation rejoiced at the dedication, grateful that the temple provides them a place of refuge in their troubled land.

Many consider the elegant edifice to be the most beautiful building in Bogota, if not all of Colombia. Much of the design and craftsmanship was done by Colombians. The temple's Brazilian granite exterior glistens in the sunlight and is subdued in rain, its grayness harmonizing with mists around it. Within a red-grained wood highlights soft pastels. The celestial room's crema marfil marble imported from Italy curves gracefully above the doors, counterpoint to a dazzling crystal chandelier.

At the dedication of the Church's 57th temple, President Hinckley was accompanied by his wife, Marjorie. As soon as the cornerstone was put in place and the first session ended April 24, the fast-paced Church president traveled to Santiago, Chile, for a large regional conference. In his absence, President James E. Faust, who attended with his wife, Ruth, presided at six subsequent sessions. President and Sister Hinckley returned April 26, for the final four sessions. Accompanying them were Elder Russell M. Nelson of the Quorum of the Twelve, and his wife, Dantzel.

Elder Francisco J. Vinas of the Seventy and president of the South America North Area, and his first counselor, Elder Robert J. Whetten, attended and spoke at each session. They were accompanied by their wives, Cristina Vinas and Raquel Whetten.

More than 11,300 members attended the 11 dedicatory sessions. Another 500 or so members were not able to attend because of a transportation strike. Others experienced various problems during lengthy trips by bus to the nation's largest city of 9 million people.

Among those who rejoiced at the temple's completion was President Hinckley.

Pres. Hinckley watches as Daniel Alejandro Moscovo of Bogota, Colombia, applies mortar to cornerstone.Photo by John L. Hart

"What a marvelous occasion this is," he said in a Church News interview. "From the initial announcement of this temple until now has been 15 years. We've had trouble of one kind or another -- the location, the site, trying to get property and many other factors, but finally it has happened.

"And what a beautiful building it is -- the workmanship is superb. I have never seen any (stonework) finer, anywhere. It is beautiful, a fitting monument to the good people of Colombia."

President and Sister Faust remarked at how much they enjoyed the occasion and of the beauty of the new temple.

"We are overwhelmed by the magnificent beauty of the temple," President Faust said. "It exceeds our expectations -- the architecture is extraordinary and the many features of it make it really quite distinct. The beautiful stonework, which is found in the floors and elsewhere in the celestial room, is extraordinary."

He reflected that in 1975 he had been assigned to preside over South America when there was but one mission in Colombia. There are now four missions in Colombia.

"Now to see the progress and growth of the Church has been thrilling and exciting," he said.

"So with all our hearts we rejoice in the progress that has taken place, and the fact that we now have this beautiful temple here in this city. The temple appears to be the outstanding building in Bogota, and possibly in the whole country, and it has attracted much attention."

President Faust said that in the dedicatory sessions, "the choirs sang wonderfully well, the remarks of the Brethren were uplifting, inspiring and special. We consider it a distinct honor and privilege to have had President Hinckley attending these dedicatory sessions.

"We felt the presence of the Spirt in all of the sessions, and the comforting Spirit of the Holy Ghost in all the proceedings of the temple."

President Faust observed that "Our Saints have been moved to tears to be able to participate in the dedicatory sessions. People have come from as far as Pasto and Medellin and other places, traveling by bus up to 22 hours, and then getting on the bus and going back to Medellin and other places that are so far distant."

Longtime members from Medellin are Herman B. Goya R. and Danilo Aguirre T.Photo by John L. Hart

Elder Nelson said that "it was a privilege to participate in the dedicatory services of the Bogota Colombia Temple, to speak with the people who were lined up to enter the temple on Tuesday morning after the temple was dedicated. They were lined up waiting for the doors of the temple to be open. That was a thrill. They were lined up by the hundreds to enter that dedicated temple to receive their endowments, great joy in their faces, tears in many of their eyes.

"It was also a great experience to witness the power of the Lord descend upon the president of the Church, President Hinckley, and his counselor, President Faust, as they spoke to the people with great power and majesty."

Elder Vinas, who served as chairman of the temple committee, also noted the emotion of the members in the sessions as he spoke to the Church News, and attributed it to their spiritual readiness for a temple. Their readiness and the readiness of many of their friends and neighbors was also shown at the open house, at which some 10,000 missionary referrals were received. For the past three weeks, missionaries have worked long days and skipped their preparation days to respond to the requests to hear the gospel. In one small branch, for example, two sets of missionaries had 400 referrals to which to respond. Missionaries said an average of 20 people each day expressed interest in joining the Church.

This outpouring of interest, along with the great number of members -- some 130,000 -- now in Colombia, represents a fulfilling of prophecy made by President Spencer W. Kimball when he dedicated Colombia for the preaching of the gospel in 1978, Elder Vinas said.

"The members here worked very hard to invite the people to attend the open house," he explained, "and the people who attended spoke very highly of the concept of the eternal family. They felt the temple was important. There was a lot of interest among the public about the sealing ordinances for the family, to have children sealed to parents.

"Now, no one is justified in not receiving their ordinances because the temple we have long dreamed about is here."

Members use umbrellas for protection from both sun and rain.Photo by John L. Hart

Elder Whetten described the temple dedication as "a watershed event for the Church in Colombia."

"I am also impressed that this is a great day, not just for those of the present, but also for many others who have accepted the gospel in the spirit world."

He said that the peace in the temple contrasts with the difficulties that members "of this beautiful country with tremendous resources" face on a daily basis. "Colombia has real problems of internal strife and conflict that won't resolve themselves. So many areas are remote, and the culture engenders conflicts that won't go away tomorrow. So, for Colombia, the temple is a great blessing."

Berta Cruz, a member of 28 years, said that for her, the temple is a refuge. "We need a refuge," she said. "Life is very difficult. I always want to go to the temple because then I feel differently at home."

Newly called temple Pres. Jerry P. Cahill, a former mission president in Bogota, called his assignment "a homecoming of sorts" and a return to the "happy days" of serving in Colombia.

He said that after the dedication, an influx of faithful members would come to the temple and receive their long-awaited blessings, the ordinances for some 165 men and 165 women, and 36 sealings in the first two days.

As the people come to the temple, he continued, "I hope they will savor their experience and come back again and again. We will try to make it a wonderful experience for them."

He said the temple has already had a beneficial effect among the people, who have submitted 28,000 family names for ordinance work.

"This can't help but have a whole change of attitude in the perception of what the gospel of Jesus Christ really is, and it will mean more now than ever before."

Rosamenta Escobar was baptized 32 years ago and just last year her husband joined the Church. They plan to be sealed in July. "I am now able to have all my family go to the temple," she said. "I feel very blessed."

Another family that has waited is Orlando Parraga, 73, and his wife, Claudia Medrano de Parraga of the Las Villas Branch of the Soacha District. Baptized 24 years ago, he expressed appreciation for the privilege of attending the temple. "Heavenly Father has allowed us to take part in this marvelous opportunity, and we are ready now," he said. "It was not hard to wait; with Heavenly Father, nothing is difficult."

Pres. Gordon B. Hinckley and his wife, Marjorie, Pres. James E. Faust and his wife, Ruth, and Elder Francisco J. Vi

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