News Release

Elder Dale G. Renlund Dedicates the Cobán Guatemala Temple

The temple is the Central American country’s third house of the Lord

Elder Dale G. Renlund of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles dedicated the Cobán Guatemala Temple — the  Church of Jesus Christ’s third house of the Lord in Guatemala — on Sunday, June 9, and invited Latter-day Saints to “dedicate your heart to God.”

As the Apostle was preparing for the dedication, he learned of a standard greeting in Q’eqchi’ (also spelled K’ekchi’), a Mayan language spoken in the remote highlands of Guatemala. The greeting, “Ma sa laa ch’ oo,” means “How is your heart?”

The greeting may also be applied to those who worship in the house of the Lord, he explained, where the purpose of temple ordinances and their associated covenants is to change hearts “from who we are to who we need to become.”

“On this day of temple dedication, a great question for all of us to ask ourselves is, ‘How is my heart?’ If we let Him, God can and will change our hearts,” said Elder Renlund. “Once our hearts are changed, we need to periodically assess our heart. When we are greeted with Ma sa laa ch’ ool, we should be prompted to ask ourselves, ‘How is my heart?’

“My invitation on this day of temple dedication is that you assess your own heart and change what needs changing. Dedicate your heart to God. ... When God asks you, ‘How is your heart?’ you will be able to answer, ‘All is well.’ Sa’ in ch’ ool. B’ an tiox. There is contentment in my heart.”

“Over many years, you have prayed to have a temple here,” he said. “God has heard those prayers. You have made the construction of this temple possible because of your faith and faithfulness. Thank you for your goodness.”

Today, more than 290,000 Latter-day Saints in nearly 440 congregations live in Guatemala. The new temple will serve members in the Cobán Temple District, which includes stakes in Cobán, Chulac, San Benito and Senahú, as well as districts in Sacsuha and Salama, Guatemala; and Belize City and Cayo, Belize.

Elder Renlund said the new temple will especially bless youth and new converts, because it will save them a four to eight hour drive to Guatemala City, which traffic and weather often make difficult.

The new temple is also beautiful, the Apostle said, expressing hope that members will appreciate the opportunity to spend more time inside the house of the Lord and not let little things distract them or get in the way of regular attendance.

Elder Dale G. Renlund of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, his wife, Ruth, outside the Cobán Guatemala Temple on the day of its dedication, Sunday, June 9, 2024. 2024 by Intellectual Reserve, Inc. All rights reserved.
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“Come often to the temple of the Lord,” he said, referencing an April 2018 general conference message by Church President Russell M. Nelson. “The construction and dedication of the Cobán Guatemala Temple will not, but itself, change your life, but your time in this temple surely will.”

Elder Renlund was accompanied by his wife, Ruth; Elder Taylor G. Godoy, a General Authority Seventy and President of the Church’s Central America Area, and his wife, Carol; and Elder Kevin R. Duncan, General Authority Seventy and executive director of the Temple Department, and his wife, Nancy.

Elder Renlund and the other leaders greet members as they entered the temple before both dedicatory sessions. Elder Renlund also walked across the temple grounds to personally acknowledge members gathered in a meetinghouse that was also dedicated Sunday.

Elder Dale G. Renlund of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles greets Latter-day Saints gathered at a nearby meetinghouse that was dedicated on the same day as the Cobán Guatemala Temple on Sunday, June 9, 2024. 2024 by Intellectual Reserve, Inc. All rights reserved.
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Dedicatory sessions were conducted in Spanish and speakers delivered messages in Spanish, Q’eqchi’ and English with translations offered. Q’eqchi’ (also spelled K’ekchi’) is a Mayan language spoken by hundreds of thousands in the remote highlands of Guatemala. Elder Renlund delivered his talks and the dedicatory prayer in Spanish.

The day before the dedication, Elder Renlund arranged to meet the 83-year-old Candelaria Tot, who was 18 years old when she decided to be baptized, wading into the waters of the Chixoy River in 1958. As Elder Renlund knelt in front of her and took her hand, he thanked her faith, dedication, sacrifice and service to the Lord.

Today Tot’s legacy includes 14 children, 57 grandchildren and 56 great-grandchildren — all steadfast Church members, she said.

“We are very grateful to see the temple in Cobán,” said Tot’s daughter, Maria Dolores Pacay, a devoted Latter-day Saint of 47 years.

“We invite everyone who can to come see and visit it, as it is a sacred place, and we are amazed to see it grow, just as the Church has grown, and now there are temples and many wards. I am very grateful to Heavenly Father because all my siblings and our nephews and nieces are members and have served missions.”

Elder Renlund asked for a photo with Tot, who was wearing traditional white and blue Guatemalan clothing, and her family. Before leaving, he promised her he would tell President Nelson about her.

“I am very happy,” Tot said. “I never thought I would meet someone so important. I am glad the First Presidency will know that we live the gospel here.”

President Nelson announced a temple for Cobán, Guatemala, during the October 2019 general conference. Elder Brian K. Taylor, a General Authority Seventy who was then President of the Central America Area, presided at the groundbreaking ceremony on November 14, 2020.

The country’s other two temples are the Guatemala City Guatemala Temple, dedicated by President Gordon B. Hinckley on December 14, 1984, and the Quetzaltenango Guatemala Temple, which Elder Dieter F. Uchtdorf, then serving as Second Counselor in the First Presidency, dedicated on December 10, 2011.

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