Three more temples have been announced by the First Presidency, to be built in Melbourne, Australia; Montevideo, Uruguay; and Villahermosa, Tabasco, Mexico. The new temples bring the total in service or announced to 98.
The new temples in Australia and Mexico were announced by a letter from the First Presidency to local priesthood leaders on Oct. 30, and the temple in Uruguay was announced by the First Presidency to local leaders on Nov. 2. These temples will be the third for Australia, the eighth for Mexico, and the first for Uruguay.Twenty-six temples have been announced since last April conference when President Gordon B. Hinckley said that 30 additional small temples would be constructed as soon as possible. The Church currently has 53 temples in operation, 14 under construction and 21 awaiting construction starts. Thirteen temple groundbreakings have been held this year with more to come in the near future. Construction on the small temples is usually completed in less than a year.
Melbourne Australia Temple
The Melbourne Australia Temple district will be made up of 10 stakes, three districts, and the Australia Adelaide, Australia Melbourne and Australia Melbourne West missions in southeast Australia. It will include the nearby island of Tasmania, a state of Australia.
Missionary work began early in Australia. The first missionary arrived in 1840, but more organized efforts began in Sydney in 1851. Most early converts immigrated to America. However, descendants of some of the families remained and have provided leadership in southeast Australia for many years.
The first meetinghouse in Melbourne was completed in 1922, but membership remained small for many years. In 1930, membership throughout Australia was 1,313. In 1955, when President David O. McKay visited, a renewal occurred as President McKay authorized the building of many new meetinghouses throughout Australia and challenged members to help build them. Members met this challenge and, as the Church became more visible with new meetinghouses, missionary work and conversions increased dramatically.
The Melbourne stake was created on Oct. 30, 1960, and since that time, five other stakes have been created in Melbourne, and three in Adelaide. Stakes have also been created in Hobart and Devonport in Tasmania. (From "Australia Today: And Now the Harvest," by Michael Otterson, Ensign, October 1986.)
Villahermosa Tabasco Temple
Included in the new district of the Villahermosa Tabasco Temple will be 14 stakes and three districts, and the Mexico Oaxaca, Tuxtla-Gutierrez and Vera Cruz missions in the isthmus area of Mexico.
When President Gordon B. Hinckley visited Villahermosa on Nov. 11, 1997, some 5,300 members gathered to hear his remarks. He also paid a visit to Gov. Roberto Madrazo of Tabasco.
Missionary work progressed in the peninsula area of Mexico in the 1960s and the first mission in the region, the Southeast Mexican Mission (now the Mexico Veracruz Mission), was created in 1963. This mission was followed by the Mexico Villahermosa Mission created in 1975 but was changed to the Mexico Merida Mission in 1978. The Mexico Tuxtla Gutierrez Mission was created in 1988.
Missionary progress in the area has been consistent as new stakes have been organized regularly. The Veracruz stake was created in 1975, followed by Villahermosa and Tuxtla Gutierrez in 1980 and Oaxaca in 1981. (From Deseret News 1999-2000 Church Almanac.)
Montevideo Uruguay Temple
The Montevideo Uruguay Temple District is made up of 13 Uruguayan stakes and two missions, as well as five districts. At year-end 1997, there were 15 stakes in Uruguay. The two remaining stakes attend temples in Argentina and Brazil. Frederick S. Williams, former president of the Argentine Mission, moved to Uruguay on U.S. government service and started the first branch in 1944. As mission president, he started work there in 1947. By the end of 1948, there were 14 branches, mostly attended by non-member investigators. After the first converts, Avelino Juan and Maria Esther Rodriguez, were baptized in November 1948, many others soon followed. The Montevideo stake was created in 1967, when the total membership in Uruguay was 14,800. At one time, Uruguay was completely covered with stakes, but districts have since been created. (From Acorn to Oak Tree, by Frederick S. Williams and Frederick G. Williams.)
The year 1997 was a jubilee year for the Church in this nation. President Gordon B. Hinckley visited Montevideo on Aug. 9, 1997, and spoke to some 11,000 members at a regional conference. Also during 1997, a second mission, the Uruguay Montevideo West, was created. Membership continues to grow, increasing from 52,000 in 1990 to 69,000 at year-end 1997. (From Deseret News 1999-2000 Church Almanac.)