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News Release

Apostle Dedicates the Rio De Janeiro House of the Lord

The temple, Elder Gary E. Stevenson said, is the Church’s witness that Jesus Christ is indeed the Redeemer of the world

Elder Gary E. Stevenson of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles dedicated the Rio de Janeiro Brazil Temple on Sunday, May 8 — the eighth temple in the South American nation of nearly 1.5 million members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

He said the temple helps individuals fulfill their divine potential as children of God. By participating in work in the temple and being worthy to be there, individuals fulfill God’s vision for them.

“Brazil now has eight temples and eight more on the way — either under construction or in the planning phase,” Elder Stevenson said.

“Why? It’s the people here,” he said. “Members congregate together, and the Lord blesses those members with a temple.”

The dedication of the temple in Rio comes 100 years after construction began on the iconic Christ the Redeemer statue that is only a few miles away. The temple, Elder Stevenson said, is the Church’s witness that Jesus Christ is indeed the Redeemer of the world.

Symbolic Cornerstone

On a rainy Sunday morning, Latter-day Saints gathered outside the temple for the cornerstone ceremony of the new temple.

As is customary during the first dedicatory session of a temple, Elder Stevenson symbolically sealed the cornerstone and invited Church leaders, the new temple presidency and Primary children to also place mortar in the cornerstone.

Elder Stevenson pointed out another potential symbol of the day, saying that the sun that emerged after the morning rain was similar to the light of the Savior that shines down on Heavenly Father’s children through their storms of life.

“It is upon His foundation we are built,” Elder Stevenson said. “We can think of Jesus Christ as the cornerstone of our hearts.”

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Elder Gary E. Stevenson greets Latter-day Saints as he arrives at the Rio de Janeiro Temple on May 8, 2022.© 2022 by Intellectual Reserve, Inc. All rights reserved.
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Elder Stevenson was joined by his wife, Sister Lesa Stevenson; Elder Carlos A. Godoy of the Presidency of the Seventy and his wife, Sister Mônica Godoy; Elder Benjamin De Hoyos, a General Authority Seventy; and Elder Joni L. Koch of the Brazil Area presidency, and his wife, Sister Michele Koch.

Anna Clara Silva dos Santos, 16, of the Rio de Janeiro Stake, said one result of the new temple is that many members will be able to participate more regularly in temple worship.

“It’s not just closer, it’s a lot closer,” she said. “Many people have made sacrifices for years to be able to go to the temple whenever they could.”

Church Growth in Brazil

The São Paulo Brazil Temple was the first temple of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints to be constructed in South America 44 years ago in 1978. Before that temple’s completion, Brazil was a part of the Mesa Arizona Temple district — some 6,000 miles away.

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The instruments used for the Rio de Janeiro Temple cornerstone ceremony on May 8, 2022. © 2022 by Intellectual Reserve, Inc. All rights reserved.
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Since then, temples in Recife, Porto Alegre, Campinas, Curitiba, Manaus, Fortaleza and Rio de Janeiro have all been built and dedicated in Brazil. Temples in Belém, Salvador and Brasilia (the country’s capital) are all under construction. Others have been announced in Belo Horizonte, Vitoria, São Paulo East, Santos and Maceió.

Then-President Thomas S. Monson announced a temple in Rio de Janeiro in 2013 and the groundbreaking was on March 4, 2017. But just one month prior to the beginning of the temple’s scheduled public open house in April 2020, COVID-19 caused the postponement of both the open house and planned dedication.

The temple has been built — but not open — for nearly two years since that time.

On Friday, May 6, Elder Stevenson and Sister Stevenson visited the iconic Christ the Redeemer statue — which overlooks the city, welcomes its visitors and serves as a reminder of the Christian roots of the nation.

“It’s really quite amazing, isn’t it?” Elder Stevenson asked as he looked at the statue and the hundreds of people surrounding it.

“This is really nice to see people celebrating Jesus Christ,” he said. “And the appropriate name, Christ the Redeemer, is pretty remarkable.”

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Elder Gary E. Stevenson poses with children at the cornerstone ceremony prior to the dedication of the Rio de Janeiro Temple on May 8, 2022.© 2022 by Intellectual Reserve, Inc. All rights reserved.
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Youth Devotional

On the eve of the temple dedication in Rio de Janeiro, Elder Stevenson spoke to youth in the temple district.

More than 1,000 young women and young men participated in a question-and-answer session at the Rio de Janeiro Brazil Jacarepaguá Stake Center on Saturday, May 7; many more watched from remote locations and sent messages via WhatsApp.

When asked about social pressures, Elder Stevenson encouraged the youth to not overthink the answers. “Look to the gospel of Jesus Christ and His two great commandments,” Elder Stevenson said.

The first of those two commandments is to love Heavenly Father. “How do we do that?” he asked the youth. “What do we do?”

Turning to the scriptures, Elder Stevenson reminded the youth that the Savior said, “If ye love me, keep my commandments” (John 14:15).

“Obedience brings blessings,” Elder Stevenson said. “And when we receive blessings, we receive joy.”

On the second of the two great commandments, Elder Stevenson said, “we should be loving and inclusive.”

“Jesus Christ said to love our neighbors. … everyone, whatever their circumstances.”

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Elder Gary E. Stevenson and his wife, Lisa, enjoy the sun and blue skies minutes before the Rio de Janeiro Temple dedication on May 8, 2022.© 2022 by Intellectual Reserve, Inc. All rights reserved.
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A Testimony of the Savior

After participating in three dedicatory sessions on Sunday, Elder Stevenson bore his testimony one final time before leaving the grounds of the newly-dedicated Rio de Janeiro Brazil Temple.

“As Apostles, we have the responsibility to testify of the name of Christ,” he said.

“Jesus Christ is the Son of the Living God. He was born for us. His suffering and crucifixion was for us. His Resurrection broke the bands of death for us. Together comprising the gift of the Atonement of Jesus Christ.”

In a city visited by nearly 2 million people each year to view the Christ the Redeemer statue, Elder Stevenson said the temple serves as another witness of Him.

“People connect this city to the iconic Christ the Redeemer statue, which says something about its people,” he said. “And now the temple will be a spiritual anchor for this city, another witness, the house of the Lord.”

Additional Resources

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