Johannesburg South Africa Temple

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Announced: April 1, 1981.

Location: 2 miles north of city center; 7 Jubilee Rd., Parktown, Johannesburg 2193, South Africa; phone, (27) 11-645-1540.

Site: 1 acre.

Exterior finish: Masonry exterior.

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

Architects: Church architectural staff; local architect, Hartford & Hartford.

Construction adviser: Stanley G. Smith.

Contractor: Tiber Bonvac.

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

Total floor area: 19,184 square feet.

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

District: 29 stakes and districts in southern Africa.

Groundbreaking, site dedication: Nov. 27, 1982, by Elder Marvin J. Ashton of the Quorum of the Twelve.

Dedication: Aug. 24-25, 1985, by President Gordon B. Hinckley; 4 sessions.


Dedicatory Prayer

Done by President Gordon B. Hinckley

Almighty and Eternal Father in Heaven whom we love and worship, on this day of dedication we come unto Thee in the name of Thy Son Jesus Christ.

We are assembled in this holy house which we present unto Thee. It has been built through the consecrations of Thy faithful sons and daughters. They have given generously of their means to rear it unto Thee as an expression of their love for Thee and of their faith in the eternal ordinances which Thou hast revealed for the salvation and blessing of Thy children. We pray that Thou wilt accept our offering and that Thou wilt honor this house with Thy holy presence. Let Thy Spirit constantly abide here and touch the hearts of all who shall enter.

Beloved Father, our hearts are filled with gratitude on this historic day in the chronicles of Thy work in this nation. We are mindful of the first missionaries who arrived at Cape Town in 1853, and of all who have labored here in the many years that have followed. We thank Thee for their faith and devotion, and for their trust in Thee in their labors. We thank Thee for all who have accepted their testimony of Thee and of Thy Son, and their witness of the restoration of Thy work and Thy priesthood in this the dispensation of the fulness of times.

Thou didst come with Thy Son, the resurrected Lord, to usher in this most glorious season of Thy work. "Angels from heaven and truth from earth" followed that most awesome manifestation to restore the fullness of the everlasting gospel through Thy servant Joseph Smith.

We thank Thee for the strength and stature of Thy Church across the earth, and that it is growing ever stronger. We pray that Thou wilt remove every obstacle from before those who have been sent to bear witness and testimony of the restoration of Thy kingdom.

We thank Thee for the dimensions of Thy Church in this nation of South Africa. We thank Thee for men and women of great strength who constitute its membership, for the goodness of their lives, for the manner in which Thou hast enlightened their minds and quickened their understanding of Thy ways and Thy purposes. Many of them, dear Father, sacrificed much in years past to travel afar to partake of those blessings which are available only in the Lord's house.

Now there is a temple in our midst. It is beautiful and much appreciated. May we visit it frequently, and as we serve in this house may we be reminded of the serious and binding covenants we here make with Thee.

Now, Holy Father, in the authority of the priesthood we Thy servants bear, and in the name of Thy Son Jesus Christ, we dedicate unto Thee and unto Him this the Johannesburg South Africa Temple of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

We dedicate the earth on which it stands. We dedicate the grass and flowers, the trees and shrubs of these grounds that they may enhance the beauty of the structure. We dedicate the building from the footings and foundation to the figure of Moroni which crowns its tallest steeple. We dedicate the baptismal font, the holy altars, the sacred ordinance rooms and other facilities, together with all of the elements which have been assembled to make this a house of instruction, a house of covenants, a house to which Thy people may come in prayer to commune with Thee and to receive those ordinances which are an essential part of Thine eternal plan.

Thou great Elohim, it is Thy house and the house of Thy Son, our Divine Redeemer. Wilt Thou sanctify it and make it holy unto all who shall enter. Wilt Thou ratify in the heavens those sacred ordinances which will here be performed in behalf of the living and the great hosts of the dead.

Wilt Thou whisper peace to Thy people by the power of Thy Spirit when they come here with burdened hearts to seek direction in their perplexities. Wilt Thou comfort and sustain them when they come in times of sorrow. Wilt Thou give them courage, direction, and faith, when they gather, as to a refuge, from the turmoil of the world. Wilt Thou reassure them of Thy reality and divinity, and of the reality and divinity of Thy resurrected Son. Wilt Thou endow them with love in their hearts for their ancestors who have gone before and with a great desire to labor in behalf of these their forebears.

Almighty God, wilt Thou overrule for the blessing and safety of Thy faithful saints. We pray for peace in this troubled land. Bless this nation which has befriended Thy servants. May those who rule in the offices of government be inspired to find a basis for reconciliation among those who now are in conflict one with another. May the presence of Thy house on the soil of this land bring blessings to the entire nation.

May guardian angels stand watch over this holy house we humbly ask Thee. May it be preserved from destruction or defilement. May it be a place of holiness, a haven of peace, a sanctuary from the storms of life.

Prosper Thy faithful people as they contribute their tithes and offerings to the storehouse of the Lord. May they and the generations who follow them be preserved in peace and security by Thine encircling arm, for so long as they worship Thee in spirit and in truth. Shield them against the forces of evil which otherwise would overtake them.

Father, Thou knowest all things. Thou knowest the end from the beginning. Shed knowledge and understanding upon Thy saints that they may be guided to do those things which will preserve them from bondage and ensure freedom for themselves and their posterity. Bless the youth, the young men and the young women, that they may walk in virtue and yearn for truth. Father, bless those who are hospitable to Thy servants. Touch them by Thy Spirit that they may have listening ears and understanding hearts and that they may receive the testimonies of Thy servants who are sent among them to preach the everlasting gospel.

Bless Thy prophet and all associated with him in administering the affairs of Thy kingdom. Open the windows of heaven and pour out Thy blessings upon Thy people everywhere.

We look to Thee for strength and guidance. Hear our pleas. Forgive our sins and smile with favor upon us. Direct our lives for the accomplishment of great good. Accept of our thanks and answer the petitions of our hearts we humbly ask, acknowledging that Thou art the giver of every good gift and that every power is Thine. We so pray in the name of our Redeemer, Thy Beloved Son, the Prince of Peace, the Holy One, even the Lord Jesus Christ. Amen.


Temple moment: 'It is very good'

Moses Mahlagu was a preacher in Soweto, South Africa, who had a small library in his church building. One day, a copy of the Book of Mormon showed up in the library, probably put there by a relative. The book did not have the lower half of its title page, however, so he did not know who published the book.

"It is very good," he told his fellow preachers. "We fight every day over what the Bible says about baptism. We fight about the name of the church. The Book of Mormon is very clear on these points, and on the sacrament. People will have no need to fight if they read both the Bible and the Book of Mormon."

He began to preach from the Book of Mormon and gathered many followers. Eventually, friends told him about the Church that published the Book of Mormon, and where this Church had a meetinghouse in the city. The first time he traveled to the meetinghouse, no one was there. On his second visit, however, he made contact with Church members and was taught by the missionaries. However, he was not baptized for 14 years until the revelation on the priesthood was received.

"It was not difficult for me to wait to be baptized because from the time I received the teachings of the Church, almost everything became clear to me," he said. "I got pamphlets and copies of the Book of Mormon and read them to my friends. I gave people copies of the Book of Mormon and the pamphlets, and told them how good and true the Church was. In my heart I knew the Church was true, and that there was no other true Church."

Others responded to his teachings. Fluent in nine languages, he taught many people in his home about the teachings of the Book of Mormon. A number of these people have been baptized also.

"The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is true. You can read about it in the Bible, and even more clearly in the Book of Mormon," he said.

Brother Mahlagu has served as elders quorum president in the Soweto Ward, and as a groundskeeper at the Johannesburg South Africa Temple.

"Going to the temple with my wife was a high step," he said.


Trip to temple 'special' for Kenya family

By Mary Mostert, Africa Area Public affairs director

For Joseph and Gladys Sitati and their five children, the 2,000-mile trip from their home in Nairobi, Kenya, to Johannesburg, South Africa, was special in many ways. For one thing, it was made to keep a promise they made to Heavenly Father that they would be sealed as a family in the Johannesburg South Africa Temple.

"Just from the social side, my family has never been on a trip like that before," said Pres. Sitati, president of the Nairobi Kenya District. The children were excited about their first airplane ride and seeing new and different things in a more developed country.However, for the parents, the thing that seemed to set the stage for a very special week was the love they felt while being hosted by Elder Richard P. Lindsay and his wife, Marian. Elder Lindsay is president of the Africa Area.

"You come to appreciate truly that these are servants of the Lord and they are really committed to the principles of the gospel," Pres. Sitati said. "It is their love, their commitment to one another that is very special. You cannot fail to be affected by it.

"Now I see things differently. For example, I now realize my wife's spiritual growth is also my personal [concernT. It is not that I can say, `I'm going to do this on my own. I'll help her, but if she doesn't do it, that is her problem.'

"As we went to the temple and met Pres. Charles Canfield and the temple missionaries, we could feel that there is something about this Church that you don't find anywhere else. I feel it is the spirit of service and the spirit of love."

Elder J. Ballard Washburn, first counselor in the Africa Area presidency, performed the sealing ordinance for the Sitati family. "It was one of the sweetest experiences," Elder Washburn said. "The father and mother had worked hard, and planned a long time. As they knelt at the altar in fulfillment of their dream, the Spirit of the Lord was there with such power."

Pres. Sitati observed, "With what has happened this one week in the temple and receiving our patriarchal blessings, I would say that our family will never be the same again. The light has been lit and we have something to follow. There is a guide.

"What I pray for most is that the Lord will forgive our weaknesses and help us to strive to do our very best to make these promises possible in our lives. Now we have to plan our spiritual growth together as husband and wife, as a family. We shall read the scriptures together. We shall grow together."

As a Church leader in Kenya, Pres. Sitati plans to teach other members in his country as he has been taught – by example. "Choose the right," he said. "Is it according to the restored gospel of Jesus Christ? If it is, then I'll do it. And, because it is right, people will see the effect of it and they will have a desire to do it – in the same way that we look at the Lindsays and what they are, and we have a desire in our hearts to try to be like them. It will not be necessary for me to try to tell others, `You should try to be like this.' They will see it. If they have a desire in their hearts to apply the principles of the restored gospel in their lives, they will do it. It is important for people to have a testimony of the doctrine that they will be blessed if they are righteous."

Pres. Sitati praised LDS families from the United States and other countries who are living in Kenya because of their employment. "They will have a big role to play in order to be the example of what a good Latter-day Saint is, and from their experience to teach those things that people should know so they can grow up to have an understanding of the gospel that you find in Johannesburg or in Salt Lake City," he said.