Ground broken for Brasília temple, which will greatly reduce travel for members in Brazil’s massive interior

With ground being broken for what will be Brazil’s 10th temple of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, that sacred edifice — along with the rest of the 224 operating, under construction or planned temples — is to be a focal point of worship.

So said Elder Adilson de Paula Parrella, General Authority Seventy and president of the Brazil Area, as he presided over the Saturday, Sept. 26, event and offered the dedicatory prayer.

“Make the temple the center of our worship. A place to be taught, comforted, invested with power from above,” he said at the small ceremony conducted before a small gathering due to COVID-19 social-distancing guidelines.

Elder Joaquin E. Costa of the Brazil Area Presidency addresses a small group gathered for the Brasília Brazil Temple on Saturday, Sept. 26, 2020.
Elder Joaquin E. Costa of the Brazil Area Presidency addresses a small group gathered for the Brasília Brazil Temple on Saturday, Sept. 26, 2020. Credit: Intellectual Reserve, Inc.

Elder Parrella encouraged Church members to share the importance of the temple and all of God’s teachings with those around them.

“Share the gospel in a normal and natural way, including using social media that gives us access to friends, acquaintances and with those we meet. Invite everyone to know more about Jesus Christ,” he said. 

Elder Parrella was joined by Elder Joaquin E. Costa and Elder Joni L. Koch of the Brazil Area Presidency, as well as Damares Alves, Brazil’s minister of Women, Family and Human Rights. 

“We had temples in ancient times, we have temples today,” said Elder Costa, one of several speakers at the ceremony. “We had prophets and apostles, we have prophets and apostles today.” 

The Brasília Brazil Temple will be located on a six-acre site at SGA/Norte Quadra 612 – Lote “C” in Brasília, the nation’s capital. Plans call for a single-story building of approximately 25,000 square feet, with patron housing and a new meetinghouse will also be built on the site. 

President Thomas S. Monson announced plans to build the Brasilia temple during the April 2017 general conference. The seven temples in operation in Brazil are the Campinas, Curitiba, Fortaleza, Manaus, Porto Alegre, Recife and Sao Paulo temples.

The Rio de Janeiro Brazil Temple groundbreaking was held on March 4, 2017, with plans to dedicate it in May of this year. The dedication was postponed, however, on March 18 due to COVID-19 concerns. Ground was broken for the Belem Brazil Temple on Saturday, Aug. 17, 2019.

President Russell M. Nelson announced a temple for Salvador — the country’s 11th — in October 2018 general conference.

A limited number of guests attend the Brasília Brazil Temple groundbreaking ceremony on Saturday, Sept. 26, 2020. Damares Alves, Minister of Women, Family and Human Rights in Brazil (right), was present at the groundbreaking ceremony.
A limited number of guests attend the Brasília Brazil Temple groundbreaking ceremony on Saturday, Sept. 26, 2020. Damares Alves, Minister of Women, Family and Human Rights in Brazil (right), was present at the groundbreaking ceremony. Credit: Intellectual Reserve, Inc.

Brazil is home to 35 missions and more than 1.4 million members in close to 2,000 congregations throughout the vast South American country. Brazil has the most members of the Church in the world after the United States and Mexico.

Elder Parrella, who presided at Saturday’s proceeding, remarked during the dedication of the Fortaleza temple in June of last year on the spiritual maturity of members throughout Brazil. “We see a desire and determination from members to follow the living prophet and strive to live their lives in harmony with the teachings of the Savior Jesus Christ,” he said. 

For decades, there was only one temple — the Sao Paulo Brazil Temple, dedicated in 1978 — to serve members throughout the nation, which is as large as the contiguous 48 states of the United States plus Hawaii and two-thirds of Alaska. And for a number of years, it was the only temple on the entire South American continent.

During those years, temple attendance often required many days of travel each way by bus, with some members — like those in the remote areas of Manaus — facing additional travel by boat.

Even with seven operating temples, many Latter-day Saints must still travel long distances at great expense to enjoy the blessings of temple attendance. Brasilia — Brazil’s capital city located at the heart of the sprawling country — will be the first temple in the geographical interior of Brazil.

A group of Latter-day Saints in Brasília, Brazil, participates in the groundbreaking of the Brasília Brazil Temple on Saturday, Sept. 26, 2020. Attendance at the event was limited because of current COVID-19 social guidelines.
A group of Latter-day Saints in Brasília, Brazil, participates in the groundbreaking of the Brasília Brazil Temple on Saturday, Sept. 26, 2020. Attendance at the event was limited because of current COVID-19 social guidelines. Credit: Intellectual Reserve, Inc.

In an article published in 2018 about Brazil’s rich temple heritage, Elder W. Mark Bassett, a General Authority Seventy who was then serving as a Brazil Area presidency counselor, cited a mission tour he conducted in Palmas, where he emphasized the temple as a goal for members and converts.

When he learned from the mission president that the closest temple was in Campinas, he was stunned. “Because it’s a long, long way away,” Elder Bassett said.

Palmas to Campinas — which is from the interior of Brazil to the country’s southern side, close to Sao Paolo — is nearly 1,100 miles away and a nonstop drive by car of 20-plus hours. The temple in Brasilia will halve the time and distance — and hopefully the expense — but it will still be more than a 10-hour drive.