The Paris France Temple is rising as a prophecy in fulfillment.
During a meeting in Paris in 1998, President Gordon B. Hinckley told some 2,400 Latter-day Saints, “The time will come when we can construct somewhere in this area a house of the Lord, a sacred temple. ”
Returning to Paris six years later, in 2004 when a temple site had yet to be found, President Hinckley said, “Sometime in the future, a beautiful house of the Lord will grace this land.”
On both visits, President Hinckley asked the members to pray that the Lord would direct Church leaders to the appropriate site for the temple. That site was found in 2009 in Le Chesnay, a city of some 30,000. The temple is under construction. The grounds of the temple are about 200 meters from the grounds of the Château de Versailles, one of France’s most famous landmarks.
Elder Neil L. Andersen of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, Bishop Gérald Caussé of the Presiding Bishopric and Elder Patrick Kearon of the Seventy and a counselor in the Europe Area visited France June 10-14. On June 13, they went to the temple site and met in the LDS chapel in Versailles with about 60 people — most of whom are not Latter-day Saints — who are involved in the construction of the temple. The group included architects, lawyers, builders, contractors, construction company representatives and others.
“I explained to them that this will be a house of the Lord,” Elder Andersen said. “I spoke to them of angels. I went through the times of angels in the Bible, including Gabriel appearing to Mary and the angels in the fields announcing the birth of Christ. I said, ‘Angels are real. They minister to people on this earth. This sacred temple will be one place where angels will be. We want you to build a building that you know will be a holy building. It will be a building for people on this side of the veil and the other side of the veil as well.’ I thanked them on behalf of the Church for the work they are doing.”
Elder Andersen said, “It’s a building unlike those they have built because of the very high quality and because of its spiritual nature. They don’t build many buildings like this anymore, with the beautiful limestone and slate. They are very taken by the project, not just for the materials, but also for spiritual reasons. One of the lawyers said, ‘I have not been a religious man, but I feel there is something very special about this temple.’ ”
Bishop Caussé said the Church has been working with a governmental office of architects that must approve the designs and materials of any building constructed close to a monument, such as Versailles. “We’ve worked closely with the architects to make the temple a beacon in the area. Their approval means the temple will be in full harmony with the surrounding area. We want the temple to be not only a blessing for the members but also an asset for the whole community.”
A native of France, Bishop Caussé heard President Hinckley promise members in 1998 that a temple would be built, and then asked that they pray for that to happen.
Bishop Caussé was president of the Paris France Stake when President Hinckley made his return visit in 2004. “I was his driver,” he said. “We visited several sites, but he didn’t feel that any one of them was the site for the temple. We had to wait until 2009 for a site to be found.”
It was 11 years after President Hinckley made his promise.
“The members knew they had an important part to play. In my family, and in families of other French Saints, we prayed for the temple on a daily basis and with our children. It has been a trial of patience and faith. Until only a few weeks ago, many members wouldn’t talk openly about the temple. It was more a private expression of expectation and faith that the Church members had in their hearts.