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Temple is crown of growth in Brazil

President Thomas S. Monson dedicates 5th temple in South American country

CURITIBA, BRAZIL

In what he called "a long-awaited day," President Thomas S. Monson dedicated the Curitiba Brazil Temple on June 1.

President Thomas S. Monson, center, accompanied by Elder Russell M. Nelson of the Quorum of the Twelve and his wife, Wendy, left, and Elder Charles Didier of the Seventy and his wife, Lucie, right, participates in dedication of the Curitiba Brazil Temple June 1. The temple is Brazil's fifth.
President Thomas S. Monson, center, accompanied by Elder Russell M. Nelson of the Quorum of the Twelve and his wife, Wendy, left, and Elder Charles Didier of the Seventy and his wife, Lucie, right, participates in dedication of the Curitiba Brazil Temple June 1. The temple is Brazil's fifth. Photo: Photo by Gerry Avant

To get the dedication underway, President Monson presided over and conducted the symbolic sealing of the temple's cornerstone. He invited Elder Russell M. Nelson of the Quorum of the Twelve and Elder Charles Didier of the Seventy and president of the Brazil Area to join him in placing mortar on the stone to seal it into the facade of the temple.

After General Authorities and the temple presidency and their wives participated, President Monson looked around and saw a group of children who had been invited to stand on the platform erected for the ceremony. Among them was 6-year-old Lincoln Vieira Cordeiro, who appeared to be very cold; he was wearing a winter coat and a hat with flaps that covered his ears. President Monson invited him to place some mortar on the cornerstone.

Lincoln's hat was removed so that his face could be seen in photos and video footage recording the historic event. His head had no hair. President Monson guided Lincoln in placing mortar around the cornerstone, and then invited several other people to participate.

Then he announced it was time to conclude that part of the ceremony. However, he paused, looked around the crowd of onlookers and said that there was someone else who needed to be called upon. He walked around the platform. He looked to his left, and said he wondered who that person might be. He turned to his right. Several dozen people stood on the ground between him and a choir that performed at the outdoor ceremony. He kept looking, saying that he knew that there was one particular person who ought to be invited to place mortar around the stone. Finally, his eyes rested upon a woman. He pointed to her, and invited her to come join in the ceremony.

A cityscape of a Curitiba suburb is seen from steps of Church's newest temple as members enter for its dedication.
A cityscape of a Curitiba suburb is seen from steps of Church's newest temple as members enter for its dedication. Photo: Photo by Gerry Avant

Later, President Monson was told that the woman, whom he had never met, was Odilene Cordeiro, Lincoln's mother.

"Of all the people he could have called upon to participate, it was that boy's mother," said Elder Nelson. "That said to me that Heavenly Father is communicating to His prophet, and that President Monson is responding. That was not just Thomas S. Monson standing there. That was the prophet responding to a revelation as it flowed from heaven through him to bless that mother who has gone through so much in caring for her son who is so sick. President Monson had no way of knowing who that woman was, or that the little boy he called upon has cancer. But the Lord knew."

That example of a prophet receiving revelation for the Church, and even its individual members with special needs, was reflected in many ways throughout the day of dedication in Curitiba.

From throughout the temple district — from Curitiba and its suburbs, from Ponta Grossa, Paranagua, Joinville, Florianopolis and other places — came members of the Church, anticipating not only attending the dedication of the temple but also getting a glimpse of the president of the Church — the Lord's prophet, seer and revelator — and hear his words of counsel.

Members gather for Curitiba Brazil Temple cornerstone ceremony. In background is a choir of local members that performed.
Members gather for Curitiba Brazil Temple cornerstone ceremony. In background is a choir of local members that performed. Photo: Photo by Gerry Avant

The temple was filled to capacity during four dedicatory sessions. And throughout the temple district, members went to their stake centers to view the proceedings.

On the temple grounds, members stood in long lines, enduring cold weather brought on by the southern hemisphere's approaching winter season. Although many commented on the chilly temperatures, no one seemed to complain.

"I felt there was a reverential spirit," President Monson said. "The members are so happy to have a temple in Curitiba."

Speaking with the Church News, he reflected on the growth of the Church, saying that the first time he visited Brazil 38 years ago, there was just one mission and two stakes. At the end of 2007, there were 27 missions, 218 stakes, 50 districts and more than a million members. There are 40,000 members and 22 stakes in the Curitiba temple district.

President Monson referred to the Curitiba temple, and other temples — Sao Paulo, Recife, Porto Alegre and Campinas, and one announced for Manaus — as "the crown" of Church growth in Brazil.

"Without a doubt, the work of the Lord is moving forward in Brazil," he said.

During the dedicatory events, which included a cultural program on Saturday evening, many references were made to the late President James E. Faust of the First Presidency, and Elder Wm. Grant Bangerter, an emeritus General Authority, who served as missionaries in Curitiba in the late 1930s. President Faust had looked forward to attending the dedication of the Curitiba temple. He passed away last August 10. President Monson said that he believed that a loving Heavenly Father permitted President Faust "to be with us in spirit" during the temple's dedication.

Elder Jacob Bangerter, a grandson of Elder Wm. Grant Bangerter, was on the temple grounds to assist visitors during the public open house May 10-24, and attended the dedication.

Elder Russell M. Nelson of the Quorum of the Twelve, and his wife, Wendy, arrive at the Curitiba Brazil Temple on June 1.
Elder Russell M. Nelson of the Quorum of the Twelve, and his wife, Wendy, arrive at the Curitiba Brazil Temple on June 1. Photo: Photo by Gerry Avant

On the day before the temple dedication, President Monson addressed missionaries serving in the Brazil Curitiba Mission. "You are making history," he said of the effectiveness of their work and service at the time of the dedication of a temple within the boundaries of their mission. "Put in your journal what you feel when you attend the dedication."

After the temple dedicatory ceremonies concluded, Elder Didier said that the temple represents new hope in a world where, at times, there is little or no hope. He described Church members in Brazil as dedicated and committed to the gospel, and said they looked forward to attending the temple where they can have the same feeling as when they were in the presence of their Heavenly Father in the pre-mortal existence.

"We saw as soon as the temple was announced a transformation in the members. They understand they must be qualified to enter the temple, and they have put forth greater effort to prepare to receive temple recommends."

Many members were emotionally moved by the dedicatory events. Julia Domingues Costa of the Sao Jose de Pinhais Curitiba Stake, exited the temple with tears streaming down her face. She said that as President Monson walked by where she was standing in the temple he shook her hand.

"These are tears of joy," she said. "I was so happy to be able to attend the dedication. It is really the House of the Lord. President Monson is a man of the Lord. He's our prophet, and I'm sure if we do our share in this house we will all be together with the Lord someday as brothers and sisters."

Members line up to attend Curitiba Brazil Temple dedication June 1.
Members line up to attend Curitiba Brazil Temple dedication June 1. Photo: Photo by Gerry Avant

By the time the fourth, and final, dedicatory session concluded, darkness had fallen on Curitiba. Yet a brightness filled the night sky around the temple as the golden statue of Angel Moroni stood in radiance produced by floodlights. People seemed reluctant to leave the temple grounds and, more so, to leave the place where the Lord's prophet had spent a day in their presence. A hundred or more members waited outside the temple doors, hoping to see him as he exited and, perhaps, shake his hand, and a few dozen stood near where the car was parked in which he would ride.

As he left the temple and walked to the car, he waved a warm greeting to the members, and paused to shake a few hands. He stopped by his car to listen as members sang a song of farewell. It was apparent that they sang from the depths of their souls, "We thank, Thee, O God, for a prophet."

As was evident at the cornerstone ceremony, this was not just Thomas S. Monson who had come to be among the saints of the Curitiba Brazil Temple District. This was the prophet of the Lord.

Jarede Cordoso, 9, was among those who attended.
Jarede Cordoso, 9, was among those who attended. Photo: Photo by Gerry Avant
Julia and Alexander Costa, Curitiba San Jose dos Pinhais Stake.
Julia and Alexander Costa, Curitiba San Jose dos Pinhais Stake. Photo: Photo by Gerry Avant
President Thomas S. Monson helps Lincoln Vieira Cordeiro, 6, place mortar during the cornerstone ceremony for the new edifice.
President Thomas S. Monson helps Lincoln Vieira Cordeiro, 6, place mortar during the cornerstone ceremony for the new edifice. Photo: Photo by Gerry Avant

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