President Howard W. Hunter dedicated the Orlando Florida Temple of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints on Sunday in the first of a series of 12 special meetings that continue through Tuesday.

The temple is the church's 46th in operation.President Hunter, 86, presided over four dedicatory sessions, plus a ceremony to place a symbolic corner stone to mark the completion of the temple, located on a slight hill just a few miles north of Disney and Universal Studios properties in central Florida.

At the temple dedication Sunday, he delivered two addresses and offered the prayer to dedicate the temple, which is to serve 95,000 Latter-day Saints in 23 stakes in Florida, seven in the Caribbean and one in Georgia. On Monday morning, President Hunter presided over three additional sessions, addressing one.

Some 24,000 LDS Church members are expected to attend the dedicatory events, with four sessions being held each day. Participating with President Hunter have been his counselors, President Gordon B. Hinckley and President Thomas S. Monson; President Boyd K. Packer, acting president of the Council of the Twelve; Elders James E. Faust, Joseph B. Wirthlin and Richard G. Scott of the Council of the Twelve; and Elders W. Eugene Hansen, Alexander B. Morrison, Stephen D. Nadauld and W. Don Ladd of the Quorums of the Seventy.

Before offering the dedicatory prayer, President Hunter said the dedication of the Orlando temple was "a beautiful occasion . . . to step out of the busy, noisy world into the peace and quiet of the temple, where our thoughts can turn to things of the spirit and we truly feel ourselves in the presence of God our Eternal Father."

Before the dedication, 93,261 visitors toured the temple during an open house, he said. "People of many nationalities and religions and from all walks of life have come to visit the house of the Lord," President Hunter said. "Many who came were deeply touched by what they saw and especially by what they felt. One of the local clergy who visited the temple made this statement: `It is very impressive. The structure is magnificent, and the people were very hospitable and welcoming. It is obvious the temple was built for the Lord.' "

The dedication of the temple occurred just one week after the conclusion of the church's semiannual general conference, at which President Hunter delivered three addresses. He had arrived in Orlando on Saturday evening.