LDS Church
Artist's rendering of the new Tegucigalpa Honduras Temple of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

More than six years after its construction was announced, the Tegucigalpa Honduras Temple of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints will be dedicated and opened as the church’s 141st operating temple in early 2013.

The First Presidency of the LDS Church announced earlier this week that the new temple — the church’s first in the country of Honduras — will be dedicated during three special sessions on Sunday, March 17. Prior to the dedication, the temple will be open for public tours from Saturday, Feb. 9 through Saturday, March 2 — excluding Sundays.

There will also be a cultural celebration in conjunction with the temple dedication on Saturday, March 16. The cultural celebration will feature music and dance reflecting local heritage, primarily performed by young people from the temple district.

When the construction of the temple was announced in 2006, it was noted in a letter from the First Presidency that “this will be a blessing to the many faithful saints in this and surrounding areas who have had to travel long distances to enjoy the blessings of the temple.” Church members in Tegucigalpa have to travel more than 12 hours to get to the closest temple, the Guatemala City Guatemala Temple.

The construction of the temple was slowed when strong opposition arose to the original construction site chosen for the building. Although approvals had been obtained and excavation work had started, city officials and residents were concerned that the new temple would overshadow and block the view of the nearby Our Lady of Suyapa Basilica, a local landmark. LDS officials decided to relocate the temple site, and a new location was chosen in Residencial Roble Oeste.

Once the temple is dedicated it will be open only to members of the church who are recommended by their local ecclesiastical leaders. Inside LDS temples, members perform sacred rites including eternal marriages and proxy baptisms for those who died without LDS baptism.

Temples are different from Mormon meetinghouses, where weekly worship services are held that are open to all people regardless of religious affiliation.