Santo Domingo Dominican Republic Temple

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Announced: Nov. 16, 1993.

Location: Avenida Bolivar and Avenida Genesis; Avenida Bolivar No. 825, los Robles, Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic; phone: (809) 731-2000.

Site: 6.42 acres.

Exterior finish: Granite, regina white.

Temple design: Classic modern.

Architects: Scott Partnership and Church A&E Services.

Project manager: Robert Prina.

Contractor: Caralva.

Rooms: Four ordinance rooms and four sealing rooms, celestial rooms, baptistry.

Total floor area: 67,000 square feet.

Dimensions: 88 feet by 190 feet.

District: 14 stakes and 17 districts in the Caribbean.

Groundbreaking, site dedication: Aug. 18, 1996, by Elder Richard G. Scott of the Quorum of the Twelve.

Dedication: Sept. 17, 2000, by Gordon B. Hinckley; 4 sessions.

Dedicatory Prayer

Done by President Gordon B. Hinckley

Almighty God, Thou who art the Father of all men, we come unto Thee in prayer in the name of Thy Son, Jesus Christ. Hear our petition, O Lord, and grant our pleadings.

Today our hearts are filled with thanksgiving, and with love for Thee and Thy Son. We also express our love for Thy Church and kingdom which has touched our lives for everlasting good.

Dear Father, we thank Thee that Thy divine plan hast made provision for all of Thy sons and daughters, regardless of when they walked the earth, to move forward on the road to immortality and eternal life. All will receive the blessings of the Resurrection that come of the Atonement of Thy Beloved Son whom Thou gavest to the world that all who believe in Him may not perish but have everlasting life. Glorious is the opportunity for growth and exaltation through obedience to the laws and commandments of the gospel of Jesus Christ.

We acknowledge with gratitude this beautiful House of the Lord which now stands in our midst. We gather before Thee this day to present it unto Thee and to Thy Beloved Son. It is sacred unto us and we pray that it will be acceptable unto Thee.

Acting in the authority of that priesthood which Thou hast conferred upon us and in the sacred name of Jesus Christ we dedicate and consecrate unto Thee and unto Him this the Santo Domingo Dominican Republic Temple of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

It is our gift to Thee. It comes of our love and our desire to carry forward the great work which Thou hast given us to do.

We dedicate the grounds on which stand this temple and the associated buildings. We dedicate every part of this Thy house from the footings to the figure of Moroni which crowns its steeple. We dedicate the Baptistry, the endowment rooms, the celestial room, the sealing rooms with their sacred altars, the offices, the priesthood assembly room, and every other part of this beautiful structure. We also dedicate the ancillary buildings for their important purposes.

We pray that Thou wilt let Thy blessing rest upon this holy temple. May it be hallowed and sanctified as Thy house. May Thy Holy Spirit abide here. May all who come within these walls feel of that Spirit.

May this be a house of peace, and a refuge from the noise and confusion of the world. May there grow in the hearts of those who come here a certain conviction concerning the validity and the purpose of that which they do in service to Thee and Thy children.

May all who come here with personal problems and worries, find answers to their questions and be inspired with solutions to their difficulties. May reverence prevail at all times and in all circumstances.

May those who pass this way look upon this Thy house as sacred. May no unclean thing enter these sacred portals. Wilt Thou preserve it by Thy strong arm from the destructive elements of nature and the evil doings of men.

Bless the young men and young women that they may look forward with resolution in their hearts to marriage in this Thy holy house under a covenant that time cannot destroy and death cannot break. May they ever live worthy of one another, and may they ever remain faithful unto Thee.

Dear Father, please look down with love upon Thy sons and daughters in this island nation and in surrounding lands. Prosper them in their labors that they may have food upon their tables and shelter over their heads. As they look to Thee, reward their faith and open Thy hand of providence toward them. May they find peace in the midst of conflict, and faith amidst the stress of the world. Open the windows of heaven, as Thou hast promised, and let blessings flow down upon them. May they be strengthened in their love one for another. May they find happiness in their association together as Thy faithful Saints.

We pray for the temple presidency that they may have strength and vitality to carry forward the rigorous work of Thy house. Bless all who serve here and imbue them with a love for the work. Bless all who come as patrons that they may recognize the necessity of that which they do and reward them for their service. We ask, dear Father, that wherever Thy people may live in this temple district, they may be provided with the means to come to serve in this Thy holy house. May its very presence increase the faith and strengthen the testimonies of Thy people.

O God, wilt Thou help us as Thy children. Let Thy watchful care be over us. Save us from harm and evil. May we worship Thee in spirit and in truth, and may our worship be pleasing unto Thee.

We thus invoke Thy blessings on this sacred day of dedication. May we be found acceptable before Thee, clean of heart and hand and worthy of Thy smiles of approbation. For this we humbly plead with Thee, Thou great Elohim, in the sacred name of our Redeemer and our Lord, even Thy Beloved Son, Jesus Christ, amen.

"Dedicatory prayer: 'Reward their faith and open Thy hand,'" Church News 23 Sept. 2000, 25 Jun. 2005,1721,120001157,00.html.

Excitement growing as members prepare for Caribbean temple

Work on the Santo Domingo Dominican Republic Temple has started, and members are eagerly keeping track of its progress.

Ground was broken for the first temple in the Caribbean area on Aug. 18 by Elder Richard G. Scott of the Quorum of the Twelve. Some 4,000 members attended the ceremony. Since that time, progress has moved forward on two fronts: in construction, and with members preparing for the temple, said Elder F. Burton Howard of the Seventy and president of the North America Southeast Area.Regarding construction, excavation for the temple is nearly complete and a local contractor will soon begin placing footings for the foundation. Up to now, excavation of the rocky soil has been done by jackhammers and by hand. First attempts were made to dig through the coral with a bulldozer, but the equipment broke on the hard rock. Next, parallel trenches were dug in hopes that the coral sections between could be broken, but again the hard substance resisted. Finally, jackhammers and hand labor were resorted to, and these have brought the digging to near completion.

The contractor for the building is Caralva S.A. The temple was announced by the First Presidency on Dec. 4, 1993. Construction is expected to be complete within two to three years. The temple is located on a rise in the west part of Santo Domingo at the side of a park for the National Music Conservatory.

Regarding preparation of the members, Elder Howard said several General Authority training sessions for local priesthood leaders have been held.

"They are enthused," said Elder Howard.

Pres. Jose Castro of the Santo Domingo Dominican Republic Stake agreed that there is a growing excitement among members for the new temple.

"In preparation for the Santo Domingo Temple, the enthusiasm of the members here in the Dominican Republic is considerable," he said. "We are working in the area of obtaining family history information for temple work. Members are to receive help from stake family history specialists. Our goal is to have at least 170,000 names available when the temple doors open."

He said that home teachers and visiting teachers are contacting less-active members to tell them about the temple, in hopes of motivating them to return to activity.

"Many of the less-active members are very receptive to this special invitation, thanks to the temple," continued Pres. Castro. "I know that a great number of the active members are preparing to receive a temple recommend. Many members are calling their bishops, and are ready to enter the temple. When the temple opens, the members want to be within its walls. They want to prepare; it is very important to them."

He said that as the result of training by Elder Richard G. Scott of the Quorum of the Twelve and members of the area presidency, local priesthood leaders are becoming more conscientious about their responsibilities.

"They are more dedicated," he said. He noted that in preparation for the temple, "in the year 1996, we took 10 excursions to the Lima Peru Temple. Also another group traveled to the Orlando Florida Temple.

"In 1997, we have made plans and will take nine trips to Peru and other trips to other temples. The members who are preparing themselves for the temple are serving as missionaries and look forward to being temple workers. Their enthusiasm is very, very great."

Pres. Castro said that many children were present at the groundbreaking ceremony. They were invited by Elder Scott to come forward and "turn over a little earth, and many did so."

"In family home evenings, parents teach their children what the temple is and what it is for. They also visit the temple site in anticipation of its construction and keep track of its progress.

"Children are taught to prepare for the temple and of the reverence they must keep while in the temple."

Pres. Castro said he hopes that the great enthusiasm among the members will continue to inspire them after the temple is complete and after families receive their ordinances.

Caribbean's first temple prompts rejoicing

By Jason Swensen

Church News staff writer

SANTO DOMINGO, Dominican Republic — Steve Roberts remembers stepping off a plane at the Santo Domingo airport with a group of fellow missionaries in 1978 and being greeted at the tiny terminal gate by every Church member in the Dominican Republic.

"They were all there at the airport waving at us. . . all 12 or 14 of them," he laughed.

Today there are few football stadiums that could hold the entire Dominican membership. The Church arrived in this Caribbean land of baseball and merengue music long after many of the other Latin American countries. The members and missionaries have spent the past two decades playing catch-up. They play well. In a country where a few still remember the first branch and sacrament services in missionaries' sparse living rooms, there are now 11 stakes and an estimated 80,000 members.

Many who recall once praying for a chapel are now rejoicing the opening of a temple of their own. Thousands of Dominicans and their neighbors from Haiti and Puerto Rico gathered to witness the Sept. 17 dedication of the Santo Domingo Dominican Republic Temple — the Church's 99th temple and the first such holy edifice in the West Indies. President Gordon B. Hinckley presided over the four sessions, offering his counsel, spirit and presence to faithful members, many who were seeing the Lord's prophet for the first time. All felt part of a remarkable moment.

"This is the most special day in the history of our country," said Georgina Rosario, a young woman who joined the Church a decade ago after a member friend shared the gospel's happy message. "The Church is growing in Santo Domingo because of the importance of the family in this country. Our country and our families will grow because of the influence of the temple."

For years, members living on the island of Hispaniola that is divided between Haiti and the Dominican Republic have had to travel to temples in Guatemala, Orlando, Fla., or Washington D.C. to claim their temple blessings. Economic limitations have prevented many from ever visiting the temple. The president of the new temple, Arthur F. Coombs Jr., knows one Dominican couple that traveled to a foreign temple over a decade ago to be sealed but did not have the money to pay for all their children to make the trip.

Now that entire family will be sealed in this temple, President Coombs said.

Domingo Aybar is a reflection of the Church here. He is young, talented, teachable and faithful. He was baptized with his family in Santo Domingo when he was 15, served a mission in the Dominican city of Santiago, worked hard and matured in faith. Brother Aybar is only 30 but has already presided over the Santo Domingo Villa Mella Stake for five years.

"The Church is growing here because of the quality of the people — Dominicans are believers," President Aybar said. "The faith of the members in our stake has increased abundantly in the past two years. Their lives are changing. I have witnessed people working day and night for this temple."

The excitement of the new temple extends beyond Dominican borders. For the first time, Haitian members will now be able drive to a temple.

"I have been a Church member for 13 years and I will be getting my endowment for the first time," said Roland Ciochy, a member of the Jacmel Branch on Haiti's southern coast. "Many other Haitians would like to have been here but could not, but I know they are happy watching the dedication (via) satellite."

Marie Berpetue Robert, a Haitian woman who joined the Church three years ago after being befriended by LDS co-workers, believes the spirit of the temple will pervade Hispaniola.

"There has been a history of trouble between our two countries, but when we are in the celestial room of this temple there will be no Dominicans, no Haitians — only daughters and sons of our Heavenly Father," Sister Robert said.

Many of the land's "pioneers" are still fairly young men and women. Rodolfo Bodden was baptized in a swimming pool in 1978, becoming the first person to join the Church in the Dominican Republic. The ordinance was performed by John Rappleye, an American friend and co-worker who was doing business in the Dominican Republic and served as the country's first branch president. The rest of the Bodden family also joined the Church and became part of the tiny branch that included Brother Rappleye and his wife, Nancy, and the Eddie and Mercedes Amparo family, a Dominican-born family who joined the Church while living in the United States.

"I remember President Spencer W. Kimball visiting this country and saying that one day there would be a temple here," said Brother Bodden, who has served many years as a patriarch. President Kimball's promise has been realized. A temple replete with beautiful interior stonework, ornate chandeliers and tile floors typical of Latin American homes now stands as a Caribbean sentinel of faith. The temple is built on a hill offering a striking vista of blue sea, beckoning member and non-member alike.

"Christopher Columbus came here over 500 years ago and they built lighthouses in those days for protection," said Kevin Mortensen, one of the 10 original missionaries in the Dominican Republic. "Now the real lighthouse has come."

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