CURITIBA, Brazil — The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints had its beginnings in this country in a small German community called Joinville. The handful of early members in the congregation couldn’t have imagined that nearly three-quarters of a century later a Latter-day Saint temple would be constructed less than 100 miles away in the city of Curitiba.

The doors of the new Curitiba Brazil Temple are now open for public tours. The open house for members of the public will continue through 24 May, excluding Sundays.

Temple exterior. © 2008 Intellectual Reserve, Inc. All rights reserved.

“This temple is evidence of the growth of the Church in Brazil,” says local Church spokesman, Fernando Assis. “It is the fifth temple constructed on Brazilian soil. The other four are located in São Paulo, Recife, Porto Alegre and Campinas. A sixth is planned for Manaus.”

Approximately 25,000 members of the Church live in metropolitan Curitiba. There are 37,000 Latter-day Saints in the state of Paraná and more than a million throughout Brazil.

According to Assis, however, the real strength of the Church in Brazil is reflected in the devotion of its members. “Many Latter-day Saints in Curitiba see their new temple as an answer to heartfelt prayers,” he says.

Local Mormon Enos de Castro Deus Filho is one of the many members of the Church excited at the prospect of having a temple close by.

“After 70 years of waiting, I am deeply grateful for the Curitiba Temple,” he said.

Fellow Latter-day Saint Marcos Otávio Luz echoes the sentiment. “Since I was a small boy, I always heard that one day we would have a temple in Curitiba,” he said. “Today, that dream has come true.”

Assis says that in Latter-day Saint temples, Church members learn more about the purpose of life and strengthen their commitment to serve Jesus Christ and their fellow man.

The history of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in the city of Curitiba goes back to 22 April 1938. At a meeting held that day there were only four people — all from the same family — and a few missionaries.

In 1939, the late James E. Faust — who later became a member of the First Presidency, the Church’s highest governing body — labored as a young missionary in Curitiba. Many Brazilians became acquainted with the Church during those early years. It was a time when some first heard the gospel taught in the German language, because of the strong German influence in the State of Paraná.

Marcelo de Lucca, president of the Brazil Curitiba Stake, hopes many Curitiba-area residents will attend the open house.

“The completion of this temple shows that the Lord is watching over the city of Curitiba,” says President Lucca. “It would be wonderful if everyone living in this area were able to come visit the temple, feel the Spirit of the Lord that is here, and see the beautiful, wondrous architecture that is displayed here.”

The Church’s First Presidency announced the construction of the Curitiba Brazil Temple in August 2002. Ground was broken in March 2005.

Local Latter-day Saints will participate in a formal dedication on Sunday, 1 June, following a cultural celebration on Saturday, 31 May. More than 25,000 members of the Church are expected to attend this celebration.

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