Cochabamba Bolivia Mormon Temple
Bolivia opened its doors to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in 1963. Less than forty years later there are over 110,000 members across the country.
In 1995 the Mormon Church announced that they would be building a Mormon temple in Cochabamba Bolivia. The next year President Hinckley presided over the groundbreaking. He addressed the 4,000 gathered Saints during one of the heaviest rainstorms the area had seen in ten years. “My beloved and wet brothers and sisters,”1 he began. Then he went on to share a story about a young woman, who as a girl, went with her father every Saturday to visit the Guatemala City temple while it was being built. She shared that during those visits she made the decision to be married in the temple. Years later she did.
Then the prophet said, “I want to challenge each of you here today to get a temple recommend now, to be worthy of a temple recommend. You will not be able to attend the new temple for two years, but let that recommend be a reminder of what is waiting for you at the temple.” 2
During the groundbreaking prayer President Hinckley said, “We thank thee for this beautiful site, where this sacred edifice will be erected for the people of this great land and where it will remain as a remembrance of the testimonies that we have in our hearts that life is eternal and everlasting.” 3
It is because of the belief in eternal life that Mormon temples are built. It is within temple walls that eternal ordinances are received that tie families together and enable members to return together to live with God.
The Cochabama temple is 33,302 square feet and is of classic modern design reflecting the Bolivian culture. The exterior is finished with a blend of hand-hewn granite and plaster. A statue of the angel Moroni tops the single tower.
Before the Mormon temple was dedicated, it was open for one week to allow non-members and members to tour the temple. Originally the temple open house had been scheduled for two weeks, but because of civil unrest in the city of Cochabamba, the first week was cancelled. Leaders of the Church feared that this would drastically reduce the number of visitors. They were pleased when nearly 65,000 people toured the temple, coming close to their goal of 75,000. Because of the open house 2,232 people requested to be visited by the Mormon missionaries.
President Gordon B. Hinckley dedicated the Cochabamba Bolivia Temple in four sessions on 30 April 2000. In his dedicatory prayer President Hinckley recognized the founder of Bolivia, Simón Bolívar, who died the year the Church was organized. Given the political unrest in the city, he prayed, “May the incomparable principle of democracy be preserved forever in this republic.” 4
President Hinckley continued, “We remember before Thee the sons and daughters of Father Lehi. Wilt Thou keep Thine ancient promises in their behalf. Lift from their shoulders the burdens of poverty and cause the shackles of darkness to fall from their eyes. May they rise to the glories of the past. May they recognize their Redeemer and be faithful and true Saints of the Most High.” 5
AV. MELCHOR URQUIDI 1500
CASILLA DE CORREO 1599
ALTO QUERU QUERU, COCHABAMBA
c/o Bolivia Service Center
Phone: (591) 4-429-3161
(1) “News of the Church,” Ensign, Feb. 1997, 73
(2) “News of the Church,” Ensign, Feb. 1997, 73
(3) “News of the Church,” Ensign, Feb. 1997, 73
(4) “Dedicatory prayer: ‘Rise to the glories of the past,’” Church News 13 May 2000, 25 Jun. 2005
(5) “Dedicatory prayer: ‘Rise to the glories of the past,’” Church News 13 May 2000, 25 Jun. 2005