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The Barranquilla Colombia Temple was formally dedicated Sunday, December 9, 2018, in three sessions by President Dallin H. Oaks, first counselor in the First Presidency of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The dedicatory sessions were broadcast to congregations of the Church within the temple district.
Before the first dedicatory session, President Oaks, Elder Ulisses Soares of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles and members of the local Church leadership participated in the cornerstone ceremony. President Oaks explained placing mortar around the cornerstone block is symbolic that the temple is complete.
He invited Church leaders to fill the cornerstone with mortar as well as a young boy and girl to participate. President Oaks said, “These children represent the rising generation; the future leaders of the Church in Colombia.”
The Barranquilla Temple is the Church’s 161st temple worldwide and the second in Colombia, the first having been completed in Bogota in 1999; it is the 19th in South America. This temple will serve approximately 35,000 Latter-day Saints in Colombia’s northern regions.
On Saturday, December 8, 2018, prior to the dedication, President Oaks and Elder Soares greeted and spoke to Latter-day Saint youth in a special devotional.
President Oaks encouraged the young people to study the Book of Mormon. “Reading should be first on your list of what you do each day to learn the gospel and keep the commandments. The importance in the Book of Mormon is related to the testimony of Jesus Christ and His Atonement.”
“Whatever you do, keep your eyes on the temple,” said Elder Soares. “We invite you to go to the temple and do the vicarious work for your relatives and others. We are all transformed when we go to the temple.”
Nearly 35,000 people visited the temple during a free open house November 3 through 24. The open house provides an opportunity for members of the community to see the inside of the temple before it is dedicated, with an explanation of what takes place in the sacred edifice.
When a temple is formally dedicated, it is only open to members of the Church who are actively engaged in the faith — unlike the thousands of Church meetinghouses that are open to everyone for regular Sunday services, regardless of religious affiliation.
Latter-day Saint temples differ from meetinghouses or chapels where members meet for Sunday worship services. Temples are considered “houses of the Lord” where Jesus Christ’s teachings are reaffirmed through baptism and other ordinances that unite families for eternity. In the temple, Church members learn more about the purpose of life and make covenants to follow Jesus Christ and serve their fellow man.