SALT LAKE CITY — The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has announced the completion and public open house for its first temple in West Africa. Public tours of the Accra Ghana Temple will begin on Wednesday, 3 December, and continue through 20 December 2003, excluding Sundays. Tours will run from 8:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.

On 16 February 1998 the First Presidency of the Church announced plans to construct a temple in Accra, Ghana. Ground was broken on 16 November 2001.

“Temples are very special buildings. To members of our Church they are the most sacred places on earth,” said Elder Sheldon F. Child, president of the Church’s Africa West Area. “This temple will greatly benefit the people of the Church and all the peoples of West Africa,” President Child emphasized. “Temple attendance helps to teach our members to be good citizens of the country, honest employees, kind and sharing neighbors, good husbands and wives and better parents.”

The temple itself is imposing, built with remarkable workmanship and materials. The exterior of the temple is Namibian granite. Intricately crafted African granite was used for the floors, and native makore wood for all the moldings. Carved carpets, beautiful murals of the Ghanaian countryside, handcrafted furniture and special art-glass windows all reflect an African influence. Built by Africans from African materials, the temple is a landmark all Africans can be proudof.

Charles Sono-Koree, president over several of the local units of the Church in Accra, said, “The temple is also a spiritual landmark, and demonstrates our love for the Lord Jesus Christ and the commitment of the Church to West Africa.”

Following the public open house, the temple will be closed for final preparations before its dedication, which is scheduled for January 2004. Prior to the dedication, children and youth of the Church from all over Ghana will present a cultural program of traditional song and dance to celebrate the completion of the temple. More than 700 people will be performing on Saturday, 10 January 2004, at 4:00 p.m. in the Accra Sports Stadium. The public is invited to attend this free program, “A Day of Celebration.”

For the nearly 12 million members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints around the world, temples are considered “houses of the Lord” where Christ’s teachings are reaffirmed through marriage, baptism and other sacred ordinances that unite families for eternity. Temples differ from meetinghouses where members typically meet for Sunday worship services and midweek social activities.
Currently the Church has 116 operating temples, with 12 others announced or under construction.

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