Arequipa Peru Mormon Temple
On 6 October 2012, during the opening session of the 182nd Semiannual General Conference of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Thomas S. Monson, President and Prophet of the Church, announced that a temple would be built in southern Peru in the city of Arequipa. The Arequipa Peru Temple will be the third temple built in Peru. The other temples are the Lima Peru Temple (10 January 1986) and the Trujillo Peru Temple (21 June 2015). A fourth temple, the Lima Peru Los Olivos Temple, was announced on 3 April 2016 during the 186th Annual general conference. Lima will be the first city outside of the United States to have two temples of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. More than 80,000 members of the Church from southern Peru and northern Chile will be served by the Arequipa Peru Temple.
Seven stakes currently operate in the city with several additional stakes and districts in the surrounding region. The units that will be served by the Arequipa Peru Temple have not yet been announced.
Peru is home to approximately 30 million people, including over a half million members of the Church organized into 100 stakes and 21 districts. Church members living in Arequipa, Peru's second-largest city, currently travel to the Lima Peru Temple, almost five hundred miles away, to attend temple services.
Missionary Work and Church Growth
Missionary work officially began in the country in 1956. In 1959, Church membership consisted of five congregations and 300 people. Since then, the Church has grown quickly in Peru. In January 1988, 32 years after missionary work began in Peru, seven stakes (diocese) were created in one weekend by visiting Church Apostle, Elder M. Russell Ballard. At the end of 2011, there were 508,812 Latter-day Saints in 788 congregations in Peru and 10 Latter-day Saint missions.
Arequipa Peru Temple Site
The Arequipa Peru Temple site is located just three miles north of the city center near the entrance to the quiet village of Carmen Alto. The land stands on a bluff rising from the Chili River and surrounded by breathtaking pastures and mountain views including the prominent volcano Misti. Carmen Alto, which is easily accessible by public transportation, is popular with visitors and described as "Heaven like."
The groundbreaking ceremony for the Arequipa Peru Temple was held on Saturday, 4 March 2017. Elder Carlos A. Godoy, of the Seventy and the South America Northwest Area President, presided at the services. Other members of the Presidency in attendance were Elders Enrique R. Falabella and Hugo Montoya also members of the Seventy. Attendance at the temple site was by invitation only but was transmitted via the internet to Church stake centers within the proposed temple district.
During his remarks, Elder Godoy commented, "I have no doubt brothers and sisters, that somehow all of us need to change something in our lives; to make a change in our hearts. This is an opportunity, perhaps, to evaluate ourselves and to qualify to be here in this house with our heart turned towards God and to be more like His Son Jesus Christ."
Elder Montoya addressed the youth of the Church in Peru. He said, "A temple is a place of hope; it is a place where our young people can attend. Members of the Church come here and they find peace, serenity, answers and revelation."
Elder Godoy encouraged the youth to become more involved in family history. He said the Lord has provided technology to assist us in our search for our ancestors so they may receive the temple ordinances.
For additional information on the Arequipa Peru Temple, go to the Peru Mormon Newsroom website (Spanish).
Open House and Youth Devotional
A free public open house was held from Friday, 15 November 2019, through Saturday, 30 November 2019, except for two Sundays (17 and 24 November 2019). Tour hours were 7 a.m. to 9 p.m., and no reservations were needed. More than 80,000 people toured the temple during the two-week open house.
A youth devotional was held on Saturday, 14 December 2019, and was broadcast to all Church congregations in the temple district.
Elder Soares told the youth, "You are wonderful; your face has an expression of love and admiration for the gospel. Thank you for your faith, your testimony, your desire to do the things that the Lord asks of you." He added, "Your attendance at the temple can have a profound influence on you if you are faithful. He will bless you with greater personal revelation, peace and strength to continue on the covenant path. Follow the teachings of the prophets."
Bishop Davies encouraged the youth, "Commit to being true disciples of Christ, take His name. Be a blessing to those around you. Do not hesitate, do not delay it."
Sister Rosana Soares told the youth, "Our Heavenly Father gives us His commandments, not to force us to fulfill them but to show our love for Him. . . .when I enter the house of the Lord, I pray to Heavenly Father and tell Him that I am entering His House, and I feel his hug and his love."
On Saturday morning, Elder Soares spoke to missionaries from the Peru Arequipa Mission.
The Arequipa Peru Temple is Dedicated
Elder Ulisses Soares of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints dedicated the Arequipa Peru Temple on Sunday, 15 December 2019. The temple was dedicated in three sessions, 9:00 a.m., 12:00 p.m., and 3:00 p.m., which were broadcast to congregations of the Church within the temple district.
Before the first dedicatory session, Elder Soares; Bishop Dean M. Davies, first counselor in the Presiding Bishopric; Elder Kevin R. Duncan of the Seventy and executive director of the Temple Department; Elder Enrique R. Falabella, president of the South America Northwest Area; and other Church leadership participated in the cornerstone ceremony.
At the beginning of the cornerstone ceremony, Elder Soares remarked, "We are very happy to be with you this morning. Today is a glorious day for all Arequipa and for this beautiful country. At this special moment, we must raise our thoughts to our Heavenly Father and his Son, Jesus Christ who is the true cornerstone of this work and of our lives, on which everything else rests. May God bless you by participating in this wonderful historical moment."
The Arequipa Peru Temple will open for patrons on Tuesday, 17 December 2019.
A Look Inside the Arequipa Peru Temple
The pictures in this gallery are ©2019 by Intellectual Reserve, Inc. The pictures were obtained from the Church newsroom.