President Eyring Dedicates El Salvador Temple
Contributed By Heather Wrigley and Aaron West
Gathered around a temple in the land Bountiful, ancient Nephites and Lamanites recognized that the resurrected Jesus Christ had come among them, and “they did cry out with one accord, saying: Hosanna! Blessed be the name of the Most High God!” (3 Nephi 11:3, 16–17).
On August 21, 2011, Latter-day Saints in Central America gathered around a temple in San Salvador, El Salvador. Some entered the temple itself, and others witnessed the proceedings by satellite in stake centers throughout El Salvador, Belize, Nicaragua, and Honduras. And like the Lamanites and Nephites of old, they cried out “Hosanna!” with one accord.
Almost four years after hearing President Gordon B. Hinckley announce that a temple would be built in their homeland, and after years of faithful preparation, the people welcomed President Henry B. Eyring, First Counselor in the First Presidency, who dedicated the San Salvador El Salvador Temple, the fourth temple in Central America.
Three dedicatory sessions, which were broadcast to congregations of the Church within the temple district, accommodated the large number of Latter-day Saints in the area who attended.
The Church’s 135th operating temple and the first in El Salvador, the San Salvador Temple will serve the more than 105,000 members of the Church in more than 161 congregations throughout the country.
In the dedicatory prayer, President Eyring said that with the completion of the temple the Saints of El Salvador had been provided with “every blessing of the restored gospel of Jesus Christ.”
He prayed for God's blessings upon the people and leaders of El Salvador “that the people may be blessed with freedom and opportunity. May peace reign in the land.”
He prayed in conclusion that the temple's “influence may be felt throughout the land as a light upon a hill.”
The dedication came a day after Saturday’s cultural celebration in the José Adolfo Pineda National Gymnasium, which seats 12,500. More than 2,000 Latter-day Saint youth participated through song and dance.
President Eyring enjoyed the performance with other Church leaders in attendance, including Elder D. Todd Christofferson of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles.
With its granite exterior, the temple is a stunning representation of Spanish colonial architecture, complete with prominent arches and conches.
Much of the decoration features the flor de izote, El Salvador’s national flower. This flower design is highlighted in the art-glass windows and the exterior granite, as well as in the detail of the interior wood, which is mahogany from Honduras and nearby countries. Flooring and interior ornamentation are of limestone from Israel.
During the cornerstone ceremony, President Eyring explained that placing the cornerstone is symbolic. “It’s good,” he taught, “to remember that we try, all of us, to place the Savior as the cornerstone of our lives.”
After several Church leaders had helped participate in the cornerstone ceremony, President Eyring invited four children to place mortar around the cornerstone.
Nefi Oliva, 8, said, “I felt the Holy Ghost when it was under construction. Whenever you would see it, you would feel the Holy Ghost.” But now, he said, “I feel it even stronger.”
Adjacent to the temple is a meetinghouse and a patron housing facility, which includes a cafeteria and a residence for the temple president.
Joaquín and María Dolores Blanco, members of the Church in El Salvador attended the dedication. “I feel so happy, because I never thought there would be a temple in my homeland,“ said Sister Blanco. Brother and Sister Blanco were sealed earlier in a different temple after she waited 25 years for him to join the Church. ”I tell the Lord now that I’m ready for Him to take me.“
Public tours for the temple ran from July 1 through 23, 2011. More than 167,000 people toured the building.
The temple will officially open for member ordinance work on Tuesday, August 23, 2011.
Three other temples are located in Central America—in Guatemala City, Guatemala; San José, Costa Rica; and Panama City, Panama. Two more temples are under construction—one in Quetzaltenango, Guatemala, and another in Tegucigalpa, Honduras.