TEGUCIGALPA, Honduras — Latter-day Saints here have proven to be a patient lot. Almost seven years have passed since the church announced plans to build its first temple in Honduras.
Since that time, Honduran members have watched as temples were built and dedicated in neighboring countries of Panama, El Salvador and Guatemala and in many other lands across the globe. Meanwhile, despite the wait, Honduran Mormons have remained faithful. They continued to make frequent trips to temples outside their country, all the while looking to the day when they could have a temple to call their own.
On Sunday, persistence and patience were rewarded with the dedication of the Tegucigalpa Temple.
The LDS Church's 141st temple is a stately edifice, built on a rise in the southeast corner of this sprawling capital city. It can be seen from miles around and descending planes approaching the nearby international airport seem to pass just a few feet above its statue of the angel Moroni.
President Dieter F. Uchtdorf, second counselor in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints' First Presidency, dedicated Central America's sixth temple in three sessions. Hundreds attended dedicatory gatherings inside the temple, while thousands more watched live broadcasts of the events in LDS meetinghouses across Honduras and Nicaragua.
"We rejoice with you not only for this beautiful day — but also for being in this beautiful country to dedicate the house of the Lord," said the church leader during the temple's traditional cornerstone ceremony outside the new building.
Elder Jeffery R. Holland of the Quorum of the Twelve assisted President Uchtdorf at the dedicatory sessions. Other General Authorities in attendance included Elder Gregory A. Schweitzer, Elder James B. Martino, Elder Carlos H. Amado and Elder Kevin R. Duncan.
In his brief comments to members outside the temple Sunday, President Uchtdorf noted the historical importance of another temple functioning in Central America, home to more than 650,000 Mormons.
"(This temple) is a tribute to you, to your faith, to your goodness and to the grace of our Heavenly Father."
He then expressed love and gratitude for the Honduran people "for all you do in this great country and for the wonderful people you are."
Sunday's dedication marked the crowning moment of what's been an eventful few days in Honduras for President Uchtdorf, Elder Holland and the other General Authorities.
On Friday, President Uchtdorf and the others hosted a breakfast for Honduran President Porfirio Lobo and First Lady Rosa Elena Lobo at the church offices outside the temple. Lobo invited them to breakfast at the presidential palace the next day.
The leaders also attended an outdoor Latter-day Saint cultural event Saturday evening that included a cast of about 5,000 youth performers from across the country.