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Accra Ghana Temple
The building of the Accra Ghana Temple was announced on 16 February 1998 by President Gordon B. Hinckley. The announcement came after he had challenged members to make a special effort to fellowship new converts to the Church. He told the members, "Put your arms around them, make them feel at home. Teach them the doctrines of the kingdom. Befriend them and help them in every way possible. I make you a promise that if you will do that you will be blessed with a temple in your midst."
On the day of the announcement, at an outdoor gathering of some assembled members in Accra's Independence Square, President Hinckley said, "You've gone a long time without a temple. When I was here five years ago [as a member of the First Presidency], we tried to find a place to build a temple. We didn't find anything and we didn't say anything to anybody. But efforts Monday, February 16, were more fruitful. This morning we approved the purchase of a beautiful piece of ground."
The Accra Ghana Temple was the second temple built in Africa, following the Johannesburg South Africa Temple in 1985.
Early Church History and Missionary Work
The history of the Church in Ghana traces back to the 1950s, when the Ghanaian people began reading copies of the Book of Mormon and other Church literature. As a result of personal study, many were converted to the teachings found therein and began forming their own Latter-day Saint congregations based on the doctrine they learned.
The first Mormon missionaries were called to serve in Ghana in 1978. Soon after the two missionary couples arrived in Ghana, the Church began to formally organize the congregations into official branches of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
It took only 25 years for a temple to be built there, which demonstrates how quickly the membership of The Church of Jesus Christ has grown in the area. Many of the people present at the announcement of the temple had been some of the first converts in Ghana, and most expressed their amazement at how far the Church had come in the area.
The first Missionary Training Center in Africa opened in Tema, Ghana (just east of Accra) in 2002.
Site Dedication and Groundbreaking Ceremony
A site dedication and groundbreaking ceremony were held on 16 November 2001. The ceremony was intended to begin at 8:00 that morning, however, it was delayed 45 minutes while awaiting the arrival of the Vice President who had returned earlier that morning from New York and graciously accepted an invitation to attend. The combined Christiansborg and Lartebiorkoshie stake choir provided inspiring music while the crowd waited. Upon his arrival, the ceremony commenced. Elder Russell M. Nelson, a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, conducted the ceremony and gave the concluding remarks.
Groundbreaking followed with participation by Elder Nelson, the Vice President, stake presidents, and other dignitaries. The event was covered by a local radio station and Ghana Television
The 17,500 square foot Accra Ghana Temple, located at 57 Independence Ave., North Ridge, Accra, Ghana, sits on 6 acres on the main avenue that runs through the center of Accra. The temple grounds which are open to the public are beautifully landscaped and feature native flowers and palm trees. The temple employs a traditional design with a single spire, and the exterior is made of granite quarried in Namibia, Africa, called Namibia Pearl.
Included within the temple are a baptistery; two endowment rooms, where patrons learn about Jesus Christ; a Celestial room, symbolizing eternal life with God; and two sealing rooms, where marriages are solemnized.
Public Open House and Cultural Celebration
The temple was open for tours by the general public 3 December through 20 December 2003. During the open house, more than 24,000 people were able to see the exquisite craftsmanship of the interior of the temple. All of the materials used in the building of the temple were from the area. Moldings in the temple were made of the native Makore wood. Skilled local artisans handcrafted the furniture, and the art-glass windows reflect the culture.
Ghanaian President, John A. Kufuor, toured the temple and expressed his opinion that the presence of a temple in Accra would enhance the nation’s spirituality. The Vice President of Ghana, as well as many other officials, also took tours through the temple.
The tradition of holding a youth cultural celebration before the dedication of a temple began with the dedication of the Accra Ghana Temple at the request of President Gordon B. Hinckley. A cultural celebration was held on 10 January 2004, one day before the temple’s dedication. Church leaders, members and special guests, including tribal leaders, gathered at the Accra Sports Stadium as a cast of nearly 2,000 youth performed through song and dance.
The Accra Ghana Temple is Dedicated
The Accra Ghana Temple was dedicated on 11 January 2004, by President Gordon B. Hinckley. Over 5,300 Church members attended at least one of the three dedicatory sessions. In his dedicatory prayer, President Hinckley expressed his profound gratitude: “We thank Thee for the brotherhood that exists among us, that neither color of skin nor land of birth can separate us as Thy sons and daughters who have taken upon us sacred and binding covenants.” He also petitioned, “Please cause that Thy Holy Spirit shall dwell within these walls at all times. … May it ever be a place of refuge from the noise and cares of the world."
The temple serves over 57,000 Church members in Ghana, as well as patrons from Sierra Leone, Côte d’Ivoire (Ivory Coast), Liberia, Benin and Togo.