Fortaleza Brazil Temple
Then Prophet and President of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Thomas S. Monson, announced that a temple would be built in Fortaleza, Brazil, during the Saturday morning session of the 179th semi-annual General Conference on 3 October 2009.
The Church has been in Brazil since 1929 and currently has over 1.3 million members spread throughout more than 2,000 congregations in the country. As of 1 January 2016, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints reported 1,326,738 members in 256 stakes and 39 districts, 2,038 Congregations (1,593 wards and 445 branches), 34 missions, and six temples in Brazil. There are 13 stakes in the immediate vicinity of Fortaleza. Members currently travel nearly 500 miles to attend the Recife Brazil Temple, which serves over 80 stakes and districts in northern Brazil. President Monson said, "We desire that as many members as possible have the opportunity to attend the temple without having to travel inordinate distances."
The Fortaleza Brazil Temple is the seventh temple built in Brazil. In addition to the Fortaleza and Recife temples, other Latter-day Saint temples in Brazil are located in Manaus, Campinas, Sao Paulo, Curitiba, and Porto Alegre. Additional temples have been announced or are under construction in Belém, Brasília, Rio de Janeiro, and Salvador.
The 8.75-acre site is located at Avenida Santos Dumont Esq Rua Mal. Mascarenhas Morais, Fortaleza, Ceará, Brazil, on a small rise, offering patrons and visitors a lovely view of the beautiful coastal city of Fortaleza below. In addition to the temple, the site also includes meticulously manicured temple grounds, where visitors are welcome to stroll and experience the peaceful atmosphere that permeates this place of worship. The Fortaleza Brazil Temple stands in the beautiful coastal neighborhood of Dunas on a site located across from the esteemed FANOR, an institute of higher education. With Fortaleza as the capital of the state of Ceará, it is fitting that the temple’s exterior is covered with Branco Ceará granite quarried near the temple. The domed single spire rises over 100 feet high and is topped with the gilded statue of the ancient prophet Moroni.
According to LDSChurchTemples.com, the Fortaleza Brazil Temple "is a highly detailed edifice with a single-domed tower surrounded by lush landscaping and built into a gently rising slope, offering beautiful views of the city. Plans for the site also call for a meetinghouse, an arrival center, and apartments for those serving in the temple.
The original double-tower design of the temple was denied due to nonconformance to the city plan, leading to the decision to redesign.
History of the Church in Brazil
The first members of the Church in Brazil were immigrants who had joined the Church in their native Germany before moving to Brazil. Missionaries arrived in 1928 but due to the prohibition on ordaining men of African descent to the Priesthood, they were instructed to only work with German people living in the southern part of the country. When the Brazilian government outlawed the use of non-Portuguese languages in public meetings in 1938, the mission switched from the German language mission to a Portuguese speaking one. One of the early missionaries in Brazil, serving in 1939, was James E. Faust.
The first stake in Brazil was organized by Spencer W. Kimball in 1966 in Sao Paulo. This was the first stake in all of South America.
In 1967, the policy on race and the priesthood was changed such that dark-skinned people were presumed eligible for the priesthood by default unless there was specific evidence of African descent.
In 1978, the Sao Paulo Brazil Temple was completed. The opening of the temple in Sao Paulo may have influenced the Church's decision to reverse the ban on men of African descent from holding the priesthood due to difficulty in determining racial origins of many Brazilian church members.
A groundbreaking ceremony was held for the temple site on Tuesday, 15 November 2011. Elder David A. Bednar of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles presided over the ceremony and assured those gathered that "this temple will be a source of hope, light, and faith in God for all who come and walk here and in this field. This city will always be better and different because of the temple to be built here."
Stake presidencies, bishops and their family members from 15 stakes in the Fortaleza region were invited to attend the groundbreaking ceremony at the temple site. During the days prior and following the groundbreaking, Elder Bednar presided and spoke at a variety of Church meetings including the Fortaleza Brazil Benfica Stake Conference, a missionary conference, and firesides for Young Single Adults and married couples.
Missions in Brazil
A Picture Gallery of the Fortaleza Brazil Temple
The following pictures can be found on the Newsroom website and are ©2019 by Intellectual Reserve, Inc.
Open House and Youth Devotional
An open house for the Fortaleza Brazil Temple was held on 17 April 2019 through 18 May 2019. An open house was not conducted on the following Sundays: 28 April, 5 May, and 12 May 2019. A devotional for the youth was held in the Church satke center adjacent to the temple on Saturday, 1 June 2019. The devotional was broadcast throughout the temple district. During the devotional, Elder Soares emphasized the purity of the House of the Lord and the importance of one being worthy to participate in temple ordinances, even as a youth and young adult. He repeatedly gestured and pointed toward the temple from the pulpit to underscore a fortress of strength to help withstand temptations, both before and after missions and marriage.
The Fortaleza Brazil Temple is Dedicated
Elder Ulisses Soares, the Brazilian-born member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, dedicated the Fortaleza Brazil Temple in three sessions on Sunday, 2 June 2019. Each session was broadcast to members of the Church throughout the temple district.
Elder Soares commented that he was grateful that the First Presidency assigned him to dedicate the Fortaleza Brazil Temple. he said, "They could have sent any other apostle, but they gave me the opportunity. It means a lot. It is my own country, my own language, and my own people. He continued, "It is something that touches my heart profoundly because I see the hand of the Lord blessing our country.
Elder Carlos A. Godoy of the Presidency of the Seventy; Elder Larry Y. Wilson of the Seventy and executive director of the Church’s Temple Department; and members of the area presidency, Elder Marcos A. Aidukaitis, president, Elder W. Mark Bassett, the first counselor, and Elder Adilson de Paula Parrella, the second counselor, assisted Elder Soares with the traditional cornerstone ceremony.
The dedication in Fortaleza also made Church history — on several accounts. Elder Soares now becomes the first apostle from outside the United States to dedicate a temple in his home country. And he dedicated the Church’s seventh temple in Brazil — and 164th worldwide — in Portuguese, his native tongue. It is only the third time a temple dedicatory prayer has been offered in a non-English language, not needing to be translated for the predominant population of local Latter-day Saints. All three dedicatory sessions in Fortaleza were done completely in Portuguese — all talks, all hymns, all prayers as well as the dedicatory prayers and Hosanna Shout.
After the day’s third and final dedicatory session, Elder Soares said, "I felt like we were in heaven – I think the Lord gave us an opportunity to feel the spirit of the country and the spirit of the language."
- Mark L. Grover, "The Church in Brazil: The Future has Finally Arrived", Liahona, July 2014
- The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Brazil) - Official Website
- The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints News Release, "Five New Temples Announced," 3 Oct. 2009.
- The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints News Release, "Ground Broken for Fortaleza Brazil Temple," 15 Nov. 2011.