COLONIA JUAREZ, MEXICO
The "beautiful concept" of smaller temples came as a revelation from the Lord, said President Gordon B. Hinckley. "It's a very workable concept.
President Hinckley commented to the Church News between dedicatory sessions of the Colonia Juarez temple.
"I am pleased, of course, to see this beautiful temple. It is a beautiful temple, a magnificent temple. It occupies this beautiful site, which was made available to us through the generosity of good families here, and it is a crowning glory to this community. It is an absolutely beautiful temple, and to see it come to pass, and to actually be standing here brings a harvest of satisfaction.
"It will be a great blessing to the people of these communities and will stand as a monument to the faith of these Latter-day Saints through the years to come."
President Boyd K. Packer, acting president of the Quorum of the Twelve, also noted that "It was here in Mexico that President Hinckley received the inspiration on the small temples, and now this one is in place."
Elder Eran A. Call of the Seventy and president of the Mexico North Area also observed, "It is just glorious that President Hinckley was here for the centennial of the Juarez Stake Academy. At that time he had the vision, and as he said, "the revelation," to build small temples here in gratitude and appreciation for the faithfulness of those who have been here before, and those who are still here."
President Hinckley introduced the smaller-temple concept to Church members at the October 1997 general conference and announced the first three such temples, to be built in Monticello, Utah; the LDS colonies in northern Mexico; and Anchorage, Alaska. The colonies' temple was the last of the three to be completed. Some 31 small temples have since been announced.
President Hinckley was the guest of honor at the graduation ceremony of the Juarez Academy on June 5-6, 1997, which was the culmination of a weeklong celebration, commemorating the 100th anniversary of the school. His visit was the first of a Church president to the colonies, which are located about 200 miles southwest of El Paso, Texas.
But it was while he was returning to El Paso, Texas, with then-stake Pres. Meredith I. Romney that the floor plan for such a temple came to him.
"As we were riding to El Paso, I reflected on what we could do to help these people in the Church colonies in Mexico," President Hinckley said in an interview last July 27 with Church News Editor Dell Van Orden, between dedicatory sessions of the Monticello Utah Temple.
He said as Pres. Meredith and he quietly drove along, "I thought of these things and what could be done. The concept of these smaller temples came into my mind. I concluded we didn't need the laundry. We didn't need to rent temple clothing. We didn't need eating facilities. These have been added for the convenience of the people, but are not necessary [for the temple ordinances]." Once on the airplane, President Hinckley put his ideas onto paper. "I took a piece of paper," he said, "and sketched out the [floor] plan, and turned it over to the architects to refine it."