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Scott Taylor: ‘Saudades’ — 3-year anniversary of the Lisbon Portugal Temple

Scott Taylor shares his memories and ‘saudades’ on the 3-year anniversary of the Lisbon Portugal Temple dedication

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The Lisbon Portugal Temple, photographed at night on Sept. 13, 2019.

Scott Taylor


*Saudade: a deep emotional state of nostalgic or profound melancholic longing for something or someone that one cares for, or loves. Many say the word is untranslatable, and is characteristic of the Brazilian and Portuguese temperament.


Reminded this week of the three-year anniversary of the Lisbon Portugal Temple and then seeing photos of Elder Ulisses Soares and Sister Rosana Soares on the temple grounds this month, I found myself caught up in a sea of memories linking Lisbon and the dedicated temple with a number of subsequent personal experiences and assignments.

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Elder Neil L. Andersen of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles helps direct young children to the cornerstone of the Lisbon Portugal Temple during the Sept. 15, 2019, cornerstone ceremony in Lisbon, Portugal.

Scott Taylor, Church News

Elder Neil L. Andersen of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles dedicated the Lisbon temple on Sept. 15, 2019, in the country’s Portuguese language. “We can never look at the Church in quite the same way once the House of the Lord is here,” said Elder Andersen, adding, “We’re moving into a new chapter of the Church in Portugal.”

Joined by his wife, Sister Kathy Andersen, and Elder José A. Teixeira of the Presidency of the Seventy and his wife, Sister Filomena Teixeira, Elder Andersen paid tribute to the imagery and accomplishments of the 15th- and 16th-century sea-traveling Portuguese explorers, likening the fascinating history of global discovery to Latter-day Saints going to the temple as explorers seeking to discover something greater than lands and riches.

“In this dedicated and consecrated house of the Lord, we too are explorers, searching not for new lands but for something much more precious,” Elder Andersen said, then quoting John 17:3: “ ‘This is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou has sent.’

“As disciples of Jesus Christ, we enter into this house to discover the things of eternity and to prepare us to one day travel through the veil back to our heavenly home.”

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Family members gather for a photograph at the cornerstone of the Lisbon Portugal Temple following the temple’s dedication on Sept. 15, 2019, in Lisbon, Portugal.

Scott Taylor

A similar theme was pronounced in a prayer offered on April 22, 1975, by then-Elder Thomas S. Monson of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles when he dedicated Portugal for missionary work.

“We recognize, Father, that from this land went navigators and seafaring men in days of yore and that the Portuguese people have had an adventurous spirit, as they trusted in Thee, as they looked for lands unknown,” prayed the future Church president on the outskirts of Lisbon, overlooking the country’s Atlantic Ocean coast. “Grant that they may trust in Thee as they now search for those truths that will lead them to life eternal.”

Thirty-five years later, during October 2010 general conference, President Monson announced a new temple to be located in Lisbon.

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The view over Lisbon, Portugal, and Praça do Marqués de Pombal Square in September 2019.

Scott Taylor

The temple dedication weekend was memorable — Saturday meetings with missionaries and pioneer members, followed by the evening youth devotional — as I visited with Latter-day Saints from Lisbon and beyond about the importance of having a house of the Lord and the availability of receiving temple covenants in their own country.

Equally as memorable was a stop to the Azores on my return home from Lisbon in 2019, as President Paulo Alves, the Açores Portugal District president, introduced me to family, members and missionaries as I spent learning about the Church’s history, growth and ongoing potential there on the islands.

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A view of the central area of Ponta Delgado, the Azores’ largest city, on Sept. 16, 2019.

Scott Taylor

The dedication of the Lisbon Portugal Temple meant temple worship and work moved even closer to the Azores, which now had a temple “only” about 900 miles away over the north Atlantic Ocean.

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Elder Neil L. Andersen of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and his wife, Sister Kathy Andersen, greet those outside the Praia Cape Verde Temple prior to the first of three dedicatory sessions on Sunday, June 19, 2022.

Scott G Winterton, Deseret News

Earlier this summer, Elder Andersen dedicated another temple with ties to Portugal — the Praia Cape Verde Temple, the capital city of the 10-island archipelago in the central Atlantic Ocean off the coast of West Africa. Once again, he spoke and offered the dedicatory prayer in Portuguese, and thoughts of Lisbon and the Azores and sea explorers from centuries past came rushing back.

I had scheduled time during layovers in Lisbon to hopefully introduce my traveling companion, Deseret News photographer Scott Winterton, the Portugal’s vibrant capital city and to the temple and grounds on the city’s east side. However, major airport delays at stops in other European airports scuttled that plan.

Elder Ulisses Soares and Sister Rosana Soares walk across the the Lisbon Portugal Temple grounds.

Elder Ulisses Soares and Sister Rosana Soares walk across the the Lisbon Portugal Temple grounds.

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

And this week, I saw the familiar sights of the Lisbon Portugal Temple and its grounds were back in the Church News, as Elder Soares of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles and Sister Soares have returned to Portugal, where he presided over the Portugal Porto Mission two decades earlier. They have been thrilled to return for the first time to a country they love.

And for the first time, I fully understood the true meaning of the word saudades.

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