“Three Temples Open,” Liahona, Feb. 2006, N3–N5
Three temples were completed and dedicated in August and September 2005, bringing the total number of operating temples to 122. President Gordon B. Hinckley dedicated the Aba Nigeria Temple on August 7, 2005; the Newport Beach California Temple on August 28, 2005; and the Apia Samoa Temple on September 4, 2005.
Although each dedication was unique to its land and people, all the dedicatory prayers expressed gratitude to the Lord for the Restoration of the gospel and priesthood keys and asked that the Lord might grace the temple with His presence. The Aba Nigeria and Apia Samoa dedicatory prayers also included a blessing on the new adjacent stake centers.
Aba Nigeria Temple
As the third temple to be built on the vast continent of Africa, the Aba Nigeria Temple is seen as a product of the faith and works of the Saints of that land as well as of the Saints who went before.
“We thank Thee for the faith of Thy people through all of the many years since the Church was organized. … We thank Thee for this time when Thy Church is increasingly admired and respected,” President Hinckley said.
He prayed that the sacred building would be protected and respected. “May all who look upon it do so with reverence and respect. May no unhallowed hand vandalize it in any way,” he said. “May it always be sacred to those who are eligible to come within its walls. Save it from storm and tempest.”
President Hinckley said that the Saints in Africa are ready for another temple in order to have the gospel more fully established in the land. He offered a special blessing on Nigeria, that it may be a land of peace, accepting of the gospel.
“Bless this nation that it may rise in strength and freedom among the nations of Africa. Bless its leaders that they may look with favor upon Thy Saints and safeguard their rights, property, and privileges,” he said.
Newport Beach California Temple
“We thank Thee that Thy Church has come out of obscurity and darkness and now shines forth before the world, ‘fair as the moon, and clear as the sun,’ as the Prophet prayed in dedicating the temple in Kirtland. May it continue to roll forth in majesty and power to fill the whole earth,” President Hinckley said in the dedication of the Newport Beach California Temple.
He blessed the new temple that it would be protected from nature and man, that it would be kept pure and protected. He also expressed gratitude for the faithful tithes contributed by the members of the Church.
President Hinckley offered a special blessing upon the youth, that the temple would be an important part of their lives. “May the youth of this temple district come with rejoicing for the great opportunity to serve in behalf of the dead,” he said. “May such service build within them a testimony of the truth of this, Thy great latter-day work, and fortify them against the wiles of the adversary and the beckoning ways of the world. May they grow in faith and testimony and love for Thee and Thy Son.”
In the blessing, President Hinckley said the new temple would be a beacon of light to passersby. “May the presence of this beautiful structure lead to interest and desire on the part of those who are not members of Thy Church, that they may be led to inquire and learn the truths of the everlasting gospel,” he said.
Apia Samoa Temple
Just more than two years after the original Apia Samoa Temple burned to the ground in July 2003 during renovation work, President Hinckley visited Samoa to dedicate the new temple.
He acknowledged that the presence of temples in Polynesia is fulfillment of ancient prophecy: “In these islands of Samoa, Thou hast remembered Thine ancient promise ‘unto them who are upon the isles of the sea’” (2 Ne. 10:21).
He asked a special blessing upon the building and the ground—that they would be sanctified and also recognized as sacred. “We reconsecrate the ground on which [the temple] stands with its beautiful and verdant growth. … We pray, Father, that all who look upon this structure may recognize its sacred nature and be constrained in their hearts to acknowledge it as Thy holy house. Hold back any hand that may be raised with malicious intent,” he said.
President Hinckley also asked a special blessing on Samoa and prayed for peace in the world: “Bless this land of Samoa and those who govern it,” he said. “We pray that it may ever remain a land of peace and freedom. We pray for peace in all the world, that Thy work may be accomplished among all kindreds, tongues, and peoples, to the blessing of Thy children throughout the earth.”