Political leaders and national media converge on Brasília to see the country’s newest temple

The temple in Brazil’s capital city will be the 10th dedicated in the country, with another 10 announced or under construction

BRASÍLIA, Brazil — Nearly 500 government officials, members of the media and other influential members of the community visited the Brasília Brazil Temple during the new temple’s open house media day, Tuesday, Aug. 1. Many were guided through the temple by Elder Ulisses Soares, a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles who is from Brazil.

Elder Joni L. Koch, a General Authority Seventy and the new Brazil Area president, began welcoming visitors to the temple in Brazil’s capital city shortly after the sun came over the palm tree canopy to the east of the temple. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints released official images of the inside and outside of the temple as invited guests began to arrive.

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See interior, exterior photos of the Brasília Brazil Temple and its unique architecture and design

Promoting peace

During the next two weeks, community and government leaders — including governors of various states of Brazil — are expected to visit the temple, the 10th in the South American nation. The Church in Brazil has 1.5 million members, 281 stakes, 36 missions and 20 temples — 10 others are under construction or in planning.

Among the first visitors to the Brasília temple open house was Jerônimo Rodrigues, the governor of Bahia; another Latter-day Saint temple is under construction in Bahia’s capital city of Salvador. Rodrigues said he was happy to tour this temple and have a better understanding of what to expect as a temple is built in Salvador.

Elder Ulisses Soares and other Church authorities speak with Federal District’s Tourism Secretary.
Elder Roberto G. F. Leite, Area Seventy in Brazil; Elder Ulisses Soares of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles; and Elder Joni L. Koch, General Authority Seventy and president of the Church’s Brazil Area; speak with Cristiano Araújo, Federal District’s Tourism Secretary during media day at the Brasília Brazil Temple on Tuesday, Aug. 1, 2023. | Bárbara Leite, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

Ibaneis Rocha, the Federal District’s governor, was joined by many of his Cabinet secretaries on a tour with Elder Soares. Elder Soares was complimentary of the many thoughtful questions and observations made by Rocha and the others. The governor expressed his appreciation to the Church and its members when the tour ended.

Elder Soares told the visitors they “are doing a good thing for all of Brazil, not just your constituents. You are promoting goodwill and peace, and we need that.”

Other guests Tuesday included Humberto Martins, Supreme Court of Justice; José Rocha, federal representative; and Maximiliano Martinhão, secretary of telecommunications for the Ministry of Communications. Also participating in temple tours was Gleisi Hoffman, congresswoman from the state of Paraná.

Brazil’s Congress returned to Brasília Tuesday following a two-week, mid-year recess. For those officials coming back to their government roles, the temple’s open doors provide an opportunity to learn about The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and feel the unique peace found in the house of the Lord.

Elder Ulisses Soares of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles leads Jerônimo Rodrigues, the governor of Bahia, and Elder Joni L. Koch, General Authority Seventy and Brazil Area President on a tour of the Brasília Brazil Temple on Monday, July 31, 2023. | Jon Ryan Jensen

Elder Soares said he noticed different expressions of peace in the body language of those who sat quietly in the celestial room.

“Some of them would close their eyes. Some of them spent time looking up past the chandelier — reflecting. Some others would put their hands together in an expression of gratitude. … Their expressions told me that they were feeling something,” he said as the media day concluded.

“Some of them told us they felt complete peace,” Elder Soares added.

Peace was a singular theme among media members emerging from the temple, as well.

Television and radio teams came to the temple to see what it is like inside and left equally in awe of the feeling they felt and the things they saw.

Hugo Carvalho is based in Formosa and works for a local media company.

“It’s very peaceful inside,” Carvalho said. “That’s what I felt. A peace, a different kind of peace.”

What will his team remember most about their visit to the temple? Their answers came quickly — organization, education, comprehension, attention.

A television reporter interviews Elder Ulisses Soares.
Reporter Aline Tavares interviews Elder Ulisses Soares of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles as part of media day for the Brasília Brazil Temple on Tuesday, Aug. 1, 2023. | Jon Ryan Jensen

One of Carvalho’s companions said the peace she felt in the celestial room will be what she remembers most as she returns to the neighboring state of Goiás.

“It’s important for us as members of the media to share stories with people of peace, and not only focus on problems,” said Aline Tavares.

Another journalist who visited a temple for the first time was Alice Ribeiro. She talked about how big everything felt once she was inside the temple.

“Everything inside was very big — even the peace I felt was very big,” she said. “That makes it so you feel you are on a different spiritual plane, with a different kind of energy and peace and silence inside.”

“That silence reaches right to your core because people are accustomed to always being on the move and amid the noise. It can be an uncomfortable feeling at first, but then it felt really good.”

Feelings lead to questions

Elder Soares said he was impressed by the questions that came from the temple’s guests as they felt something special once they finished their tour.

“The questions that they asked us were very interesting because they wanted to know how the temple can make a difference in this environment …, how this will impact the area and the people,” he said. “They wanted to know what benefit this temple is bringing to the people. This meant a lot because it means they are seeing the temple as something positive.”

Those questions also gave Elder Soares and Elder Koch the chance to talk about the connection between covenants and serving all of Heavenly Father’s children outside the walls of chapels and temples.  

“That makes the whole difference — when the media go through the tour [of the temple] first, they see our standards …, the atmosphere that we have in there, our teachings, what we believe in,” Elder Koch said.

Visitors to the Brasilia Brazil Temple look at a map of temples around Brazil.
Visitors look at a map of temples around Brazil as part of media day for the Brasîlia Brazil Temple on Tuesday, Aug. 1, 2023. | Bárbara Leite, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

What Church members believe in extends to humanitarian relief on a global level, self-reliance programs, education programs, community service projects, welfare assistance and many other ways of blessing those in need. Elder Soares and Elder Koch explained this to many of those they interacted with throughout the day.  

“Learning more about what we believe and learning more about what God has offered to His children through the temple of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints made them feel good about what we do and made them ask questions related to the benefits that can come to the lives of people,” Elder Soares said. “They showed real interest in what we were talking about. … They want to know more about it.”

And knowing more about the Church and seeing the ways members contribute to the community brings the conversation back to the temple, Elder Soares said.

“It has a lot of light, and brings light, and shows light to the people … and that can be a conduit of the Spirit to help people know more about the gospel of Jesus Christ,” Elder Soares said.

Visitors prepare to enter the Brasilia Brazil Temple at night as part of the open house media day.
Visitors prepare to enter the Brasília Brazil Temple as part of media day on Tuesday, Aug. 1, 2023. | Bárbara Leite, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

For Elder Koch, he said he knows temples provide an opportunity to help people in Brazil understand the Church better — especially with the number of temples in Brazil doubling in the next few years.

“I feel a lot of responsibility to help the media understand who we are and what we believe in,” Elder Koch said. “I feel the responsibility to make sure they feel something. That responsibility is heavy, and it’s important that we try our best to make that happen.”

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