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Shaun Stahle, Deseret Morning News
LDS Church President Gordon B. Hinckley gestures during the dedication of the Helsinki Finland Temple Sunday. He invited Josefine Haikkola, 10, from Turku, Finland, to participate.

HELSINKI, Finland — A forecast of cold temperatures and stormy weather gave way to moments of blue sky and unseasonably warm temperatures as President Gordon B. Hinckley emerged from the Helsinki Finland Temple Sunday to conduct the traditional cornerstone ceremony looking sure-footed and steady.

Members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints came from as far away as the Arctic Circle in northern Finland, while others traveled for up to four days from areas across Russia. During the four dedicatory sessions, members assembled outside the temple were once political enemies.

During the two-day celebration of the 124th temple to be dedicated by the LDS Church, it was noted that Finland was the door through which missionaries entered the former Soviet Union in the early 1990s.

Dedicatory proceedings were broadcast to 62 sites around the world, including Salt Lake City, where former missionaries assembled in five locations. Other locations included more than 40 sites in Russia, as well as others in the Baltic countries of Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and Armenia.

The new temple, located in Espoo, Finland, about a half-hour drive from Helsinki, shortens the distance needed by LDS members in Eastern Europe to attend a temple by about three days.

President Gordon B. Hinckley conducted all four dedicatory sessions and the traditional cornerstone ceremony. The 96-year-old leader expressed doubt that he would travel such great distances to dedicate future temples. He planned to depart Finland for home today.

E-mail: shaun@desnews.com