Stockholm Sweden Temple

Information about the Stockholm Sweden Temple and the dedicatory prayer offered by President Hinckley

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Announced: April 1, 1981.

Location: Vasterhaninge, 13 miles southeast of Stockholm; Tempelvagen 5, SE-137 41, Vasterhaninge, Sweden; phone: (46) 8-500-65500.

Exterior finish: Masonry exterior, copper roof.

Temple design: Modern adaptation of earlier six-spire design.

Site: 4.47 acres.

Architects: Church architectural staff; local architect, John Sjostrom.

Construction adviser: Henry Haurand.

Contractor: Johnson Construction Co.

Rooms: Baptistry, celestial room, four ordinance rooms; three sealing rooms.

Total floor area: 16,366 square feet.

Dimensions: 178 feet by 71 feet; Angel Moroni statue is atop tallest spire at 112 feet.

District: 38 stakes and districts in Sweden, Finland, Norway, Russia, Latvia, Lithuania, Belarus, Armenia, Ukraine and Estonia.

Groundbreaking, site dedication: March 17, 1984, by Elder Thomas S. Monson of the Quorum of the Twelve.

Dedication: July 2-4, 1985, by President Gordon B. Hinckley; 11 sessions.

Dedicatory Prayer

Done by President Gordon B. Hinckley

Eternal Father, Judge of the nations, Thou great Elohim, we bow before Thee on this glorious day and in the name of Thy Beloved Son, Jesus Christ, come unto Thee in a prayer of dedication as we offer to Thee our offering of this beautiful temple.

We are grateful for this day when Thy house has been completed in this good land. We are grateful for the growth of Thy work in this nation and in the other nations of Scandinavia and Finland. We have waited long and hoped and prayed for this blessing. Our hearts are filled with gratitude, our voices speak praise and thanks unto Thee our kind and gracious Father.

We thank Thee for the restoration of the everlasting gospel through Thine appointed servant, Joseph Smith. We thank Thee for every gift and grace, right and authority that has been given Thy children by the manifestations of Thy power, bringing together all of the doctrine, ordinances, and authority of previous dispensations in this the dispensation of the fulness of times.

We thank Thee for those faithful missionaries who came here at great sacrifice in early days to open the work in this area of the world. We thank Thee for all who have followed them, and for all who have hearkened to their words and accepted of their testimonies. We thank Thee for all who have entered the waters of baptism and who then received the gift of the Holy Ghost and confirmation of membership in Thy true Church.

We have longed for this day when we might receive our washing and anointings, our endowments and our sealings, and when we might extend these blessings to our forebears. Forgive our sins that we may stand clean before Thee and worthy to serve in this sanctified house as Thy sons and daughters.

We thank Thee for this sacred structure, for its beauty in a land where there is much that is beautiful, and for the great purposes for which it has been built. And now as Thy servants, acting in the authority of the Holy Priesthood—that divine power which has come from Thee—and in the name of Jesus Christ, we dedicate unto Thee and unto Thy Son, this the Stockholm Sweden Temple of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. We dedicate the ground on which it stands with the vegetation which beautifies it. We dedicate the building and all of its parts, from the footings to the top of the steeple. We dedicate each room and hall, the fixtures, the equipment and all elements which have been brought together that it may function in a proper manner and be conducive to a spirit of worship on the part of all who shall enter here.

Preserve and protect it. Sanctify it and watch over it. May Thy glory rest upon it, and Thy Spirit dwell within it.

May it be a haven of refuge from the world. May it be a source of inspiration and peace. May it be looked upon as Thy holy house, a house of divine covenants and everlasting promises. May those who enter it cast off the cares of the world and labor here with an eye single to Thy glory. Wilt Thou pour out upon their heads knowledge of things divine and eternal. May they be strengthened in faith and testimony and grow in worthiness before Thee.

Smile upon Thy faithful saints and prosper them as they live honestly with Thee in the payment of their tithes and offerings. Bless their homes that love and peace may abide with them. Bless them that they shall not lack the good things of the earth and that they shall feast upon the peaceable things of heaven. Bless this nation where is found Thy temple, and its sister nations, that these may be lands of freedom and peace, and may their people walk in righteousness that they may be deserving of Thine overseeing power.

Save these nations from war and oppression, and may their people look to Thee and open their doors and hearts to Thy messengers of eternal truth. Tens of thousands have walked reverently through this sacred structure. May the impressions of their visits stir within them a desire to learn more of Thee and Thy purposes with reference to Thy children. May they seek and find and learn.

May the dedication of this temple usher in a new era for Thy work in all of Scandinavia and Finland. Bless the missionaries and lead them to those whose hearts are inclined unto the truth.

Bless the officers of the stakes, wards, and missions. Sustain and inspire the president of the temple and his counselors, the matron and her assistants, and all who have responsibility in Thy holy house. Give them strength and vitality, and a great love in their hearts for those who come here to serve Thee and to do that work which must be done if Thine eternal purposes are to be realized.

Beloved Father, we remember before Thee Thine appointed servant, President Spencer W. Kimball. He is loved by Thy people. We pray for him, our dear prophet. Wilt Thou hear our prayers and answer them with a blessing upon his head. Bless all who are associated with him in this glorious latter-day work.

Father, we pray that Thou wilt bless Thy cause in all the world. Smile with love upon Thy people wherever they may be found. May the spirit of Zion grow in their hearts. May they look to Thee and live. Bless the officers of Thy work in every land and bless Thy faithful saints each one that testimony of Thee and Thy Beloved Son may grow and mature in the hearts of all, and become as a bulwark against every adversary that may beat upon them.

Almighty God, the Father of our spirits, accept our thanks. Pour out Thy healing influence upon us. May love for Thee and Thy Son grow in our hearts and may we reach out in love one toward another. Forgive our sins and strengthen us against evil. Magnify us in our service in Thy great cause and bless us as we seek to build Thy kingdom, we humbly pray as Thy thankful sons and daughters, in the name of Thy Beloved Son, the Lord Jesus Christ. Amen.

Royal couple visits at Swedish temple with President Monson

By Gerry Avant

Church News editor

Swedish tradition from the 1200s and contemporary events of the Church in Scandinavia were blended Aug. 23 as President Thomas S. Monson, first counselor in the First Presidency, helped welcome Their Majesties King Carl XVI Gustaf and Queen Silvia to the grounds of the Stockholm Sweden Temple.

Sweden's royal couple visited the temple site in a revival of "Eriksgata," a tradition that dates back to the 13th century in which the king traveled through the country to be met by its citizens. The tradition was discontinued during the 1600s but was revived by the present king's grandfather, King Gustav VI.Each year, a Swedish television station films the royal couple's visit to a different area of Sweden. On Christmas Eve, a special program is broadcast featuring the visits within that region. This year, the couple visited sites in the community of Haninge in the county of Stockholm, which includes the temple grounds in Vasterhaninge (West Haninge), located about 20 miles south of Stockholm.

On an unusually warm day in this "Land of the North," several thousand people gathered on the temple grounds for the royal couple's visit. Accompanied by President Monson and his wife, Frances; Stockholm Sweden South Stake Pres. Ulf Arne Girhammar, and other local Church leaders and their wives, the king and queen walked up the cobblestone path that leads to the temple. The pathway was lined with Boy Scouts dressed in Scout uniforms and by young women, each of whom held a small Swedish flag. LDS families and missionaries also lined the pathway. Several couples, including some who serve as workers in the temple, held flags of many nations, among which was the flag of the United States and those of the countries located within the Stockholm temple district.

Before they reached the temple, the king and queen paused to listen to Primary children sing "I Am a Child of God." In a garden, Stockholm temple Pres. Bo G Wennerlund welcomed the visitors to the grounds. The entourage paused in the garden to listen as an adult chorus sang an LDS hymn.

Elder Graham W. Doxey of the Seventy and president of the Europe North Area and his wife, Mary Lou Young Doxey, were among those who greeted the king and queen at the steps leading to the temple. In a brief ceremony on the steps, President Monson presented gifts to the king and queen on behalf of the Church. First, he presented to Queen Silvia an extensive history of her family. The history was gathered from the Church's archives and copies were made for the king's and queen's three children.

In making the presentation of the family history to the queen, President Monson spoke of the strong family values evident in what he referred to as "a royal family."

Queen Silvia expressed surprise and delight in the gift. She told President Monson that she looked forward to reading the history of her ancestors.

Then, turning to King Carl XVI Gustaf, President Monson said, "I would like to express appreciation to His Majesty. He is a Scouter of world-renown, the recipient of the Bronze Wolf. Our Church is the oldest sponsor of Scouting of any religious organization in America. I, too, am honored to serve on the International Committee and to be a fellow recipient of the Bronze Wolf. Not only is His Majesty supportive of the Boy Scouts, he is supportive of the Girl Scouts as well. His influence is felt worldwide."

President Monson spoke of the interest of the king and queen in families, and said the Church had a special gift for them that is typical of the family. Two Boy Scouts then stepped forward, carrying a small bronze casting of Dennis Smith's sculpture, "First Step."

"This shows mother helping daughter take her first step toward father," President Monson said to the king. "We know you will appreciate this gift. It is typical of your family, and we express appreciation once again. We wish you well in your service to the youth of the world, and thank you for being here."

President Monson referred to having met the king and queen in 1988 at a dinner hosted by then U.S. Ambassador Gregory J. Newell and his wife, Candilynne, who are active members of the Church, at their embassy residence in Stockholm.

"Your Majesty and I sat side by side at the table and my wife, Frances, sat with Her Majesty Queen Silvia," President Monson said to the king. President Monson reminded the king and queen that the song they heard the children of the ambassador and his wife sing was the same that was sung by the Primary children on the walkway to the temple.

As the king and queen left the grounds with their party, they conversed with President and Sister Monson and local Church leaders along the way.

In an informal program after the royal party left, President Monson stood on the top step leading to the temple and addressed members of the Church who remained on the temple grounds.

"This has been grand, a historic day," President Monson said. He spoke of Sister Monson's parents, Franz E. and Hildur Booth Johnson, who were born in Sweden, and of his paternal grandfather, Nels Monson, who was born in Torhamn, Sweden, in 1867. (See Church News, Aug. 26, p. 12.)

"I think of my dear wife's parents, and I think of my grandfather and his family, and of all the immigrants who came from Sweden to America, and what they would think as the Church has been honored by Their Majesties, the King and Queen of Sweden," President Monson said.

He noted that Queen Silvia "was pleased and genuinely excited about looking through her family history." He said the king and queen extended an invitation for representatives of the Church to call at the castle to explain the details of the research that went into gathering the queen's family history.

Of King Carl XVI Gustaf, President Monson said, "There is no question that he is a representative of Scouting in all the world. He gives freely of his time in the interest of young men and young women. . . .

"You are privileged to have good people as King and Queen of Sweden," President Monson said.

In his remarks, President Monson spoke of the temple and grounds, which, through the visit of the king and queen, were being called to the attention of all Sweden. "Some of you were here when Sister Monson and I were here, and we broke ground for this majestic temple

March 17, 1984T," he said. "The sun was not shining. It was cold. . . . With the help of a torch we cut through the ice so that we could turn the sod. Overnight it froze over again, and we had to clear the ice again. . . . Now you have a lovely temple." The temple was dedicated July 2, 1985.

President Monson spoke of the three stakes in Sweden, two in Stockholm and one in Goteborg, and of stakes in other Nordic countries, and of stakes yet to be created. "The North is awakening from a long hibernation," he said.

He spoke of having checked historical records of the Church in Sweden and of having discovered that there was no formal dedication of Sweden itself for missionary work. (The nations of Scandinavia are believed to have been dedicated by Apostle Erastus Snow on June 14, 1850, in a prayer offered in Copenhagen, Denmark.) On July 7, 1977, President Monson rededicated Sweden for the preaching of the gospel.

"As I offered the prayer of rededication of Sweden, I emphasized that the future of the Church in Sweden will be maximized when the membership of the Church and the missionaries work hand in hand in meeting and teaching the gospel to others," he said.

Further, President Monson added, "This is God's work. We are His children. We love Him. . . . Let's show the Lord that we love Him. Let's keep His commandments, and Zion will flourish in the Lands of the North. Let this day be a day of a new beginning. If there is anything that we're doing that we shouldn't be doing, today is the day to make a change. If there is any commandment where we've been a little lax in honoring it, let this day - the day of the visit of Their Majesties, the King and Queen - mark the day of further righteousness on our part."

Temple in Sweden is as spiritual magnet to grateful members

By Gerry Avant

Church News editor

Several weeks ago, Stockholm Sweden Temple Pres. Bo G Wennerlund listened as members of the Church from Russia bore their testimonies in a meetinghouse just a few hundred yards from the temple. The special meeting was held the evening before the members, numbering about 100, returned to Russia after spending nearly a week at the temple. During that week, most received their own endowments; a few had been to the temple before and had returned to perform ordinances for their ancestors.

Pres. Wennerlund, a convert to the Church in 1949, has listened to and been inspired by hundreds of testimonies. But those borne by this particular group of Russian Latter-day Saints awakened deep-seated emotions."Those Russian Saints stood up there bearing their testimonies, so humble, so grateful to be able to come to the house of the Lord," Pres. Wennerlund said. "They were impressed with the temple and its beautiful surroundings, and with the meetinghouse, which they said was like a temple to them because it is so beautiful.

"As I listened to them, I suddenly remembered my first visit to Salt Lake City in April 1976, and I knew just how those Russian Saints felt. On my first visit to Utah, I saw the Salt Lake Temple, and as I walked around in the beauty of Temple Square, I thought to myself, `Here I would like to live and die.' I loved going to the temple. I was so impressed with everything I saw. I looked and looked, trying to commit everything to memory. I couldn't believe I was actually there; I didn't want to think about leaving such a wonderful place. I dreaded the thought of returning home.

"I went to general conference in the Tabernacle and heard the Tabernacle Choir. It was all too marvelous to comprehend. Then I remember distinctly that a certain feeling came over me as one of the General Authorities was speaking. I didn't understand what was happening but I had the strongest desire to return home. I couldn't wait to get back to Sweden. I thought, `I am a Swede. Sweden, not Utah, is my place. I am going to return home and help build the Church in Sweden. Someday, members of the Church will come to a place in Sweden and feel about it the way I felt when I saw Temple Square the first time.'

"As I listened to the Russian members speak about how grateful they were for the opportunity to come to the temple in Sweden and how they hated to leave, I realized that our temple grounds are to them what Temple Square had been to me. As I spoke to them at the end of the meeting, I told them about the feelings I had 19 years ago. Then I said, `You are Russians. You should be proud of your country. Go home and be a blessing to your nation.' "

Now, as Pres. Wennerlund stands at the door of the temple and welcomes members from far-away places, he warmly greets them with one hand and gently nudges them back to their homelands with the other. As a Church leader in Sweden whose past callings have included serving as a branch president, mission president and regional representative, Pres. Wennerlund knows the strength that comes to small units of the Church as members go to the temple.

He also knows how difficult trips to the temple can be for members who live far away from them. "I know it was a great, great sacrifice for many of us to make the trip to the Swiss Temple all those years before the Stockholm temple was dedicated in 1985," Pres. Wennerlund said. "I was a branch president when the Swiss Temple opened in September 1955. Our district planned a temple trip in June 1956. I felt my family didn't have enough money to travel abroad. The mission president, Eben R.T. Blomquist, came up to me one evening in January and said, `You are going to the temple, aren't you? You're the branch president; you ought to set an example for the members.' I told him that we had budgeted everything as tightly as possible, that we barely had enough money to buy food after we had paid our bills. I told him that if the temple were in Norrkoping, a Swedish city about a two-hour ride by car, that I couldn't afford to go even there."

Following Pres. Blomquist's counsel, Pres. Wennerlund became committed to finding a way to take his family to the temple. He and his wife, Maude, discussed how much money they would need to save. "She told me I shouldn't complain if we had gruel several nights a week for dinner," Pres. Wennerlund said. "I told her that would be OK. But even with her expertise in cutting back on our finances, we still needed another 100 kroner a month to save enough to go to the temple in June."

With strict budgeting and an unexpected raise at work, he was able to take his family to the temple. "This is just my story," he said. "I know there are many others; I don't know the details of all of them, but I know that members have really prayed for the way to be opened for them to go to the temple."

Now, Pres. Wennerlund and other Swedish members greet temple patrons who have come from other countries to the Stockholm temple. He was a regional representative who had traveled to Salt Lake City for general conference when he learned that the Church planned to build nine temples. The Stockholm Sweden Temple was among the temples announced by President Spencer W. Kimball on April 1, 1981. The other eight were announced for Chicago, Ill.; Dallas, Texas; Guatemala City, Guatemala; Lima, Peru; Frankfurt, Germany, Seoul Korea; Manila, Philippines; and Johannesburg, South Africa.

"When the Stockholm Sweden Temple opened in 1985, there were 17,000 members in our temple district, which included Scandinavia and the Nordic countries: Sweden, Denmark, Finland and Norway. We have 20,100 members now. In addition to the original countries in the temple district, we have Russia and the Baltic States - Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania. These came into the district after 1989, when missionaries could go behind what had been the Iron Curtain and begin baptizing people. There are about 4,000 temple recommend holders in the stakes and missions in the temple district; they perform between 42,000 and 50,000 endowments every year."

As with other temples that serve members from many nations, the Stockholm Sweden Temple is as a spiritual magnet that attracts and unites patrons who speak different languages. Sessions are regularly offered in nine languages: Swedish, Finnish, Norwegian, Danish, Icelandic, Russian, Estonian, Spanish and English. Special provisions are made for other languages as needs arise.

When the temple opened for ordinance work on July 5, 1985, it was the Church's 34th operating temple worldwide; there are 47 working temples today. Before the Stockholm temple opened, members from Scandinavia and Finland went to the Swiss Temple; members in Norway generally went to the London Temple.

A Church-owned and operated guest house is located near the Stockholm temple, with 120 beds to accommodate patrons who travel long distances. In addition, many members in the vicinity of the temple open their homes to temple patrons. "Some people combine their vacation with their temple work and camp near the Baltic Sea," Pres. Wennerlund said.

When Swedish members see Latter-day Saints coming from great distances to the temple at Vasterhaninge, about 20 miles south of Stockholm, they empathize with the sacrifice of worldly goods and time they are making.

One temple worker, Gunnar L Balck, is among the Swedish members who made twice-yearly trips to the temple in Switzerland. "It was wonderful to have a temple so near to us," he said.

It generally took members two to three days to reach the Swiss Temple from Sweden.T Temple trips were organized. Traveling took place in different ways - by bus, by train, by ferry, and even occasionally by plane. The groups were varied since they included members from throughout the country.

"Our prayer was that some day we would have a temple in our own country. The time came when we were going to get a temple in our own land. We felt our prayers had been answered. In 1985 there stood a beautiful temple in Vasterhaninge, ready to receive members from Scandinavian and Nordic countries."

Brother Balck said that while many Swedish members in the Stockholm area miss the camaraderie of getting together and traveling to the temple in Switzerland, they are blessed in being able to attend the temple more often, not as a group but one by one. "For our spiritual development, we need to visit the temple as often as possible," he said. "The temple strengthens family ties and brotherly love in our wards, and it gives us strength to grow individually."

For years, Gustav and Agnes Palm went to the temple in Switzerland, sometimes taking their five children along so they could participate with other youth in baptismal ordinances. The children are all grown now, and the Palms have 25 grandchildren, most of whom live within walking distance of Brother and Sister Palm's home near Stockholm. Brother Palm was called to serve in the temple as a sealer last August. This call, he said, enables him to "go to heaven a couple of times every week."

Pres. Wennerlund looks forward to the day when the Stockholm temple is self-sustaining. "We would like for all of our temple workers to come from the membership of the temple district, but right now we have many temple missionaries coming from the United States," he said.

Elder Ike Olson and Sister Carol Olson will soon complete their 18-month tenure as missionaries serving in the Stockholm temple. "We didn't realize the challenge the languages here in the temple would present," Sister Olson said.

"Early on, we found out that the temple is truly the Lord's house," Elder Olson commented. They spoke of how the temple brings together people from nations that "have been mortal enemies for generations. Here, Estonians, Finns, Russians, Germans, Danes, Swedes and Norwegians work with one another, learn to love one another."

One emotional moment of the temple experience is when patrons from far-away places and temple workers and missionaries say their farewells. Hugs, kisses, tears and handshakes, accompanied by brave smiles, abound as the patrons prepare to leave on a journey that sometimes takes four to six days to their homes. "They wave goodbye," Sister Olson said. "Some look up at the statue of the angel Moroni and say, "Goodbye, Moroni; we may never see you again.' And then they sing Church hymns."

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