Celebrating the Temple in Finland

By Anna Culp

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    The Helsinki Finland Temple was dedicated on October 22, 2006. Janna Koivu, 18, and Aleksi Kiikko, 17, were asked to share how they felt about the temple.

    Janna says, “When the temple was finished and I went to the open house, I said it was the most beautiful building in Finland. I began to understand how very blessed we are to have our own temple.”

    Aleksi notes that even during construction, the workers (who are not always Latter-day Saints) honored the temple grounds by not cussing, not drinking, and not listening to inappropriate music.

    Before the Helsinki temple was dedicated, members of the Church traveled to the Stockholm Sweden Temple, which sometimes included a two-hour bus ride and an 11-hour overnight ship ride. Aleksi says that at first, he was disappointed to lose the fun youth trips to Sweden, but after attending the Helsinki temple, concludes that these temple trips are special in their own way. “It is fun to see how other members honor the same things I do,” he says.

    The day before the temple open house, many Saints participated in a cultural performance. Aleksi played guitar in the performance and listened to the speakers, including President Gordon B. Hinckley. He also participated in the open house, and his mother sang in a choir. “My best experience was to hear the prophet and to see him with my own eyes. My testimony was strengthened,” Aleksi said.

    Janna describes her favorite experience of the dedication: “I was grateful and very moved, and also felt great peace. My eyes moistened when I got to raise my hand and wave the small white handkerchief three times in the air with everyone else and with the prophet.” She keeps the handkerchief as a reminder of that day.

    Janna and Aleksi have strengthened their testimonies through temple attendance. Janna says, “I believe temples are a small piece of heaven on earth. Temple attendance inspires me to repent and live so that I can enter worthily into the temple to perform baptisms for the dead and, later in my life, other covenants.” Aleksi says, “I believe temples are the Lord’s house. I try to honor temples as well as I can and try to live so that every time I go to the bishop for a temple recommend, I can without a doubt say I am worthy to step in the house of the Lord.”

    (Far right) Artist’s rendering of the Helsinki Finland Temple and photos of the open house and spire of the completed Finland temple.

    Above: photographs by John Luke; Christina Smith; and Shaun Stahle, © Deseret News