It was a misty, moist morning, still dark outside except for the temple, which gleamed like a diamond in the sky, as people began arriving for the Helsinki Finland Temple dedication on Sunday, Oct. 22, 2006.
Something more was in the air than a heavy dampness, however. It was a breathless, excitement that said one couldn’t arrive quite early enough for this day of days.
Much is left to be done the morning of any temple dedication. The pattern repeats itself with precision.
Some people are hurrying near the entrance, arranging shoes and white booties, which this morning will slip over shoes wet from the pavement.
Choir members are tucked away in a room warming up their voices, preparing to sing in the presence of the Prophet at the cornerstone ceremony. Technicians are double-checking wires to assure that the closed-system television works.
The press are finding their places near the platform where the prophet will add mud to the joint of the cornerstone.
We exchange a few tips with each other, like best friends who have seen each other often at these wondrous events. “Have you talked to this person? Did you know that fact?”
The first arrivals come, clutching white or blue tickets, so they can view the dedication from inside the temple, bearing the whole history of the Church in Finland in their hearts and on their faces.
They know that today, in the four sessions, some with a special language emphasis to cater to the many nations which are flowing here, that a promise is fulfilled.
The Church has come of age in Finland, with every opportunity any Saint has in any land, when this temple is dedicated.
The temple district takes in a remarkable 12 time zones and the largest region in the Church, but far more remarkable is the simple reality that at last the temple is here.
Auli Haikkola, smiling said, “The day after Moroni was put up in the fall, I took a group of friends from Turku to see the temple. The leaves were yellow, sky was blue. For the first time that day, we really understood that a temple is coming.”
The 96th member of the Church in Finland, Patriarch Tauno Savolainan, who was baptized in 1949, said, “There’s a new spirit in Finland. Spiritually the temple has made a difference—a big difference.
“When we received the notice that we were going to have the temple in 2001, people felt enthusiastic about it. Even our neighbors began talking about and anticipating the temple. When these neighbors who were not members, told their neighbors, the whole thing tenfolded.
“Enthusiasm among members to get their patriarchal blessing has grown. For me personally, I have gotten almost 100% more enthusiasm and I am 100% stronger than before.”
Patriach Savolainan said that in the blessings he gives, he hears from the Spirit wonderful promise for the future. “We know and we believe that something great is happening in Finland.”
Among the early arrivals at the temple dedication was Paivi Haikkola, but unlike others in their tweeds and black wools, she wore a traditional Finnish folk costume with red trim.
She explained, “My grandmother joined the Church in 1950 and this belonged to her. I wanted to bring her with me to the temple today because of what it would have meant to her. She never would have dreamed that there would be a temple here.”
Paivi is a third generation Finnish Church member on both sides of her family. “When my aunt saw me in this dress today, she started to cry.”