Mormon Newsroom
News Release

Church Breaks Ground for Antofagasta Chile Temple  

Temple will be the third in the South American country

Construction is slated to begin for the Antofagasta Chile Temple following a groundbreaking ceremony on Friday, November 27, 2020. Attendance at the groundbreaking was limited because of local COVID-19 restrictions. 

 

“We should be grateful with our Father for having chosen Antofagasta as a place to be a light to the nations, for shining His divine light to the hearts of those who have their eye on rewards beyond what the world has to offer,” said Elder Juan Pablo Villar of the South America South Area Presidency, who presided at the event.  

Elder Villar also thanked local government leaders who attended the ceremony including Nanto Espinoza, Antofagasta’s governor and Yamile Guzmán, the city’s interim mayor.  

“From this day on and for several years, the construction of the temple will be carried out. This will require coordination and work to excavate, remove rocks and materials that are not needed, to prepare it so that it is ready for the foundation that will make it a firm and stable House of the Lord. That strength in its foundation will allow it to withstand quakes that are not unfamiliar to this geography,” said Elder Villar, as part of the groundbreaking’s dedicatory prayer. 

“I invite us all to do the same within ourselves and ‘take out’ the things that are not needed from our lives, ‘remove’ the rocks that weaken our foundation and ‘prepare’ our spirits with firm foundations to support life’s trials and to stand tall in the face of the adversity,” he added. 

The temple in Antofagasta, located at Avenida de Las Palmeras 44, will be Chile’s third temple. President Russell M. Nelson, the global faith leader of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, announced the temple in April 2019. The country has two temples currently in operation: the Concepción Chile Temple and the Santiago Chile Temple

“At this moment, a small number of thy children have come together to participate in this groundbreaking ceremony, and we thank Thee because this day has arrived to bless the lives of many Saints that live in Antofagasta; and in the cities and towns that are within this district,” said Elder Villar.  

Elder Villar was joined by his wife, Carola. 

“The temple is not going to only bless the beauty of this location with its structure, or with its pretty gardens, it’s going to bless the lives of those that live here, and it will bless our country,” said Sister Villar. “The opportunity to have an eternal family is a wonderful thing for us.” 

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A rendering of the planned Antofagasta Chile Temple at the groundbreaking ceremony of the temple on Friday, November 27, 2020. Plans call for an approximately the country's third temple to be built on a 2.2-acre site at Avenida de Las Palmeras 44 in Antofagasta, Chile. 2020 by Intellectual Reserve, Inc. All rights reserved.
                             Plans call for an approximately 23,000-square-foot temple, built on a 2.2-acre site at Avenida de Las Palmeras 44 in Antofagasta, Chile. Latter-day Saints in Antofagasta currently travel 830 miles (1,335 kilometers) to participate in temple ordinances at the Santiago Chile Temple, the first temple in the country. The Santiago Chile Temple was first dedicated in 1983. 

Two local Latter-day Saints, Krasna Arancibia and Joseph, shared their testimonies at the groundbreaking service.  

“Temples unite families, not only those who are alive today but also those that have passed away,” said  Arancibia.  

Joseph, who represented Antofagasta’s Latter-day Saint youth, shared that he was "deeply thankful because God had chosen that location.” 

In 1954, Church President David O. McKay visited expatriate Church members in Santiago. The first Chilean branch (a small congregation) was organized in Santiago on July 5, 1956. There are over 600,000 Latter-day Saints in Chile, with 568 congregations. 

Upon Antofagasta Chile Temple’s completion and prior to its dedication, a public open house will be scheduled. Details for the open house and temple dedication will be announced at a future date.  

Latter-day Saints consider temples to be the “house of the Lord” and the most sacred places of worship on the earth. Temples differ from the Church’s meetinghouses (chapels). All are welcome to attend Sunday worship services and other weekday activities at local meetinghouses. The primary purpose of temples, however, is for faithful members of the Church to participate in sacred ceremonies, such as marriages that unite families forever and proxy baptisms on behalf of deceased ancestors who did not have the opportunity while living. 

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