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Johannesburg South Africa Temple

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Johannesburg South Africa Temple


The Johannesburg South Africa Temple is the 36th operating temple of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The building of a temple in Johannesburg, South Africa was announced on 1 April 1981 during the opening session of the 151st Annual General Conference of The Church. The announcement of the Johannesburg South Africa Temple came less than three years after the June 1978 revelation, announced by President Spencer W. Kimball, extending the priesthood and temple blessings to all worthy male members of the Church regardless of race or color. The Johannesburg South Africa Temple is the first temple built in Africa (and in South Africa).

History of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in South Africa

On the twenty-third day of May in 1853, Jesse Haven stood on the slopes of Lion's Head overlooking southern Africa's Cape Town, already an historic city, and there prophesied that many of the honest in heart of that land would come to rejoice in the gospel of Jesus Christ. Jesse Haven, William H. Walker, and Leonard I. Smith were there to organize The Church of Jesus Christ and to dedicate the land for missionary work. The first convert in South Africa, Henry Stringer, was baptized on 15 June 1853. Exodus of the Saints to Utah, wars, and government-imposed restrictions on the number of missionaries who could serve in South Africa, resulted in slow progress in those early days. In 1865, the missionaries were pulled out of South Africa and were not sent back in until 38 years later in 1903. During that time, Church members found ways to support each other in the faith. Years later, in 1940, missionaries were again taken out because of outbreak of World War II. When the war was over, the missionaries were allowed to return. Missionary work was hindered greatly until the 1980's.

From that time forward, the membership of The Church of Jesus Christ of latter-day Saints in South Africa began to grow rapidly; so much so, that the Church leaders announced the building of a Temple in Parktown, Johannesburg, South Africa. Today nearly 60,000 people in South Africa are members of the Church.

Site Dedication, Groundbreaking, and Open House

On 27 November 1982, the temple site was dedicated by Elder Marvin J. Ashton of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles and a groundbreaking ceremony was held.

Great effort went into preserving the area's historical value. Once the site of estates built by nineteenth-century mining magnates and financiers, the area around the temple now features hospitals, office buildings, and schools, many of which are housed in mansions from the Victorian era. [1]

Once construction of the temple was complete, a public open house was held from 30 July to 10 August 1985. More than 19,000 visitors attended the open house, including civic and business leaders, as well as government officials. During the open house, the public was invited to come and learn about the purposes of Mormon temples and to tour the temple interior.

Temple Dedication

The Johannesburg South Africa Temple was dedicated as a House of God on 24-25 August 1985. President Gordon B. Hinckley, who was at that time a counselor in the First Presidency of the Church, led the first of four dedicatory sessions. As people entered the celestial room for the service, President Hinckley welcomed them and noted that, with the construction of the Johannesburg South Africa Temple, a temple had been built on every continent with the exception of Antarctica. Nearly 3,500 of the 12,000 members of the extensive temple district attended the dedicatory services.

In the dedicatory prayer, President Hinckley emphasized the peace that can come to those who worship in the temple as he petitioned the Lord to “whisper peace to thy people by the power of thy Spirit when they come here with burdened hearts to seek direction in their perplexities. Wilt thou comfort and sustain them when they come in times of sorrow. Wilt thou give them courage, faith, and direction when they gather, as to a refuge, from the turmoil of the world.”

The dedication of the Johannesburg South Africa Temple brought a Latter-day Saint temple to every habitable continent of the world.

Temple Design and Location

The Johannesburg South Africa Temple is located on 1 acre of property at 7 Jubilee Road, Parktown, Johannesburg 2193, South Africa.

The temple is visible from many parts of the city with its six spires reaching into the sky. The edges of the building are finished with tiered layers of face brick, immaculately fitted together, giving it an elegance and distinctiveness. A gray slate roof and indigenous quartzite for the temple's perimeter walls and entrance archways, allow the building to suitably fit in with the historic buildings nearby.[1] The temple shares its grounds with area offices including family history, employment, and distribution services. Visitors are welcome to learn more about the temple at the public visitors' center.

The Johannesburg South Africa Temple is made of the finest materials and displays a magnificent architectural design which is a modern adaptation of earlier six-spire design. The temple’s masonry exterior consists of a light brown brickwork that contrasts with the dark gray roof. Small archways line the sides of the building, which contains 19,184 square feet. Six brown and white spires stretch toward the sky. At the top of the front spire, at an elevation of 112 feet, stands the statue of the angel Moroni, a Book of Mormon prophet, holding a trumpet that symbolizes the restored gospel spreading across the globe and heralds the Second Coming of Jesus Christ.

Within the sacred edifice are beautiful rooms used for worship. These rooms include a baptistry; 4 ordinance rooms, where Church members learn about God and His plan for humanity; 3 sealing rooms, where marriages are performed; and a celestial room, which symbolizes Heaven on earth.

Although additional temples have been announced in Durban, South Africa and the Democratic Republic of Congo, the Johannesburg South Africa Temple currently serves Church members from the Republic of Congo, the Democratic Republic of Congo, South Africa, Zimbabwe, Kenya, Uganda, Mozambique, Tanzania, Zambia, and Madagascar who attend the temple and partake in the blessings that only the temple can offer.


Notes

  1. "The First 100 Temples", by Chad Hawkins, 2001, p 100

Other Temples in Africa

External links