PANAMA CITY, Panama — One of the more than 32,000 people who have visited the new Mormon temple in Panama City over the past three weeks, Luis Farias, says that his experience has allowed him “to renew hope.”

“I see that the world is losing its values,” he said, “and after entering the temple my hopes increase that not all is lost.”

The first lady of Panama, Vivian Fernandez de Torrijos, also attended the open house, along with several government officials. She told her host that she was impressed with the beauty and reverence of the temple. 

The first lady of Panama , Vivian Fernandez de Torrijos, visits the new Panama City Panama Temple with area president for the Central America Area, Elder Don. R. Clarke, and his wife, Mary Anne Clarke. © 2008 Intellectual Reserve, Inc. All rights reserved.

When the first lady saw the temple’s baptismal font, she told those in her group that she was reminded of her own baptism.

Another visitor, Iris Cubilla of Panama ‘s Department of Economy and Finances, said that the temple was “spectacular and divine” and that as she visited she felt “calm and an enormous peace.”

For Latter-day Saints, temples are “houses of the Lord,” where families can be united for eternity. There are 140 temples throughout the world, either in use or under construction. Temples are sometimes confused with chapels or meetinghousese, of which there are over 17,000 worldwide.

The Panama City temple open house tours for the general public started on Friday, 11 July 2008, and ended on Saturday.

This article was prepared by the LDS Newsroom at lds.org.