Sunday, November 22, 2009

Santiago Temple

You may not realize that there are many members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints in Chile. While we usually think of South America as being mostly Catholic, that isn't really the case in Chile. The Evangelicals in Chile represent a large group as well as do the Mormons. This blog is to update you all on a few Mormon facts about Chile. There is presently one temple in Chile. It is in Santiago right across the street from where I live. This past October, the Church announced the building of another temple in Chile. It will be about 4 hours south of Santiago in Concepcion. The following pictures were taken on Saturday, Nov. 21st on the Santiago Temple grounds. I hope you enjoy them. The Santiago Temple features the iconic Angel Moroni as do most, but not all, Mormon Temples around the world.
As you can see, the Santiago Temple has been here for sometime. There has been one major renovation.

Temples do not function as churches. They are not open on Sunday. Tuesday through Saturday, they are open only to members who have a "recommend" which is obtained by being an active member in good standing. Usually, only adults or teenagers attend the temple.
"Mormon" Temples are considered sacred by the members and are used to perform sacred church ordinaces. Mormons are unique in their belief that marriages and families are eternal. Couples come to the temple to be married for eternity not "until death do you part".

Mormons are also unique in their belief in baptism for the dead. These ordinances are usually performed by the youth. This line of young people are waiting to enter the temple so that they can be baptized for deceased individuals who did not have the opportunity for this ordinance while still living. We believe that those deceased individuals have the right to accept or reject the ordinance performed for them.

Once you enter the temple doors, the noise of the city recedes and all is quiet and peaceful. Elder Davis works in the temple on Tuesdays and Thursdays. All ordinance work is done in Spanish. He has loved working with the Chileno temple workers and has made wonderful new friends.

Since families come great distances to visit the temple, you always see people of many ages relaxing on the temple grounds.
The gardens are beautiful so those on the outside of the temple have pleasant surroundings while they wait for their family members to finish in the temple.

These gentlemen have brought the names of their ancestors to the temple for ordinance work. They appear to be coordinating and comparing notes. Maybe they are brothers, or maybe they are just helping each other sort through the names.

These young people are almost ready to enter the temple for their part in the work.

They may have travelled for hundreds of miles. Every Friday and Saturday the parking lot fills with buses from all over Chile and also Mendoza, Argentina.

They stay in housing on the temple grounds for the few days they are attending the temple.

This time of year the grounds are bright with blossoms.

If you look carefully, there is a bird on the bush.

While parents are doing temple work, children picnic on the grounds. I am sure many happy childhood memories are being made.

Teenagers, lounge on the grounds after they complete their work in the temple. They are probably talking about all the neat kids they have met this weekend while in Santiago at the temple.

Couples come to be married or to have their marriage made eternal in the temple.

Sometimes, entire families come to the temple to be united as an eternal family. With all family members dressed in white they kneel at the temple alters and are "sealed" together for time and all eternity. Elder Davis says that those occasions in the temple are his favorite. This is the goal of all Mormon families.

So the temple, inside and out, is a lovely place to spend some time. The people are as beautiful as are the flowers.
This was a special weekend for us because it was Elder Davis's 70th birthday. We celebrated with close friends.

We have loved being missionaries for the church. Our work and new the friends we have made in Chile will always be special to us. We are in the last 3 months of this amazing experience and have mixed feelings as it is coming to a close. Mostly, we are thankful for the opportunity to serve and for the wonderful plan that makes these relationships eternal. We continue to feel our Savior's love and protection as we are so far from home.


Lora Dawn said...

I love this post, Anna-Marie. I can feel the serenity of the temple as I read your words. Thanks for the update.

Mark and Kris said...

I totally felt like I was on a personal tour with thos gorgeous pictures and your words. Thank you. I wish you the happiest birthday John. You may not be celebrating Thanksgiving while there, but we are thankful for your wonderful service in South America. What great examples you both are.