News Release

South Africa’s Second Temple is Dedicated

Durban South Africa Temple becomes continent’s fifth temple

Elder Ronald A. Rasband, an apostle of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, dedicated the Durban South Africa Temple Sunday.


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“I don't think there’s anything greater that I could be asked in my ministry to do than to be assigned by the prophet of God to dedicate a temple,” said Elder Rasband.

This is the Apostle’s first opportunity to dedicate a temple. “You can see how I [had] such a high expectation and deep appreciation for the privilege of being here,” he added.

Elder Rasband’s wife Melanie, accompanied him along with Elder Carl B. Cook of the Presidency of the Seventy who assisted with the dedication and the traditional cornerstone ceremony that preceded the dedication. Elder Cook’s wife, Lynette, also participated in the dedicatory services.

The cornerstone ceremony is considered the final construction element to the temple. Elder Rasband conducted the short ceremony just prior to the dedication.

“We … symbolically set the foundation of [the] temple,” said Elder Rasband of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles. “Which is like the scripture says, that Jesus Christ is the chief cornerstone of His church and the apostles and prophets are the foundation.”

An open house was held in late January to give the public the opportunity to visit the temple and see inside the sacred building. There was great interest in the temple. People representing 20 countries attended the open house.

The finest craftsmanship and materials were used; a pitched red tile roof and an elegantly detailed central tower are inspired by the architecture of Durban. Fluted stone panels highlight geometric carvings of African roots of the region.

Sapele mahogany woodwork, imported custom-made rugs and marble flooring accentuate the African motif.

Elder Rasband said the Durban South Africa Temple “took his breath away” as he walked through the temple with his family for the first time on the eve of the dedication.

“There are renditions in the glass and in the carpet of the protea flower, the national flower of Africa,” he recalled. “There are beautiful paintings that have been done locally, that show local scenes. And so, it’s a temple built for Africa. I was hoping for that. I was [also] hoping that it would be a temple for the people of Africa as they honor the Lord Jesus Christ.”

On the same day Elder Rasband and his family experienced walking through the Durban South Africa Temple for the first time, another very special group entered the temple prior to its dedication—His Majesty, Zulu King Zwelithini Goodwill; his wife, Her Majesty, Queen Nompumelelo Mchiza; the Prince Mangosuthu Buthelezi; and other family members. The Zulu nation is the largest tribe in South Africa.

“I'm relishing in the privilege of having the king and queen and their family be the last guests that we will take through this temple before it is dedicated to the Lord,” said Elder Rasband.

Elder Cook, former area president in South Africa, added, “They know God. They [king and queen] have love for God. They have respect for God. To feel their embrace, not only their acceptance to come, but they embraced our church, they embraced the temple.”

Prior to their tour of the temple, Elder and Sister Rasband and Elder and Sister Cook hosted members of the Zulu royal family in a reception on Friday, February 14.

At the reception, Elder Rasband welcomed the Zulu royal family and said, “This is a great honor for us to be here in your wonderful presence. It means a great deal to us.”

His Majesty the King and Her Majesty the Queen, Nompumelelo Mchiza, traveled a great distance and endured flight delays to attend the special reception.

The king welcomed the Church to his kingdom and invited it to work with him in philanthropic efforts for his people and to assist in teaching them about the Savior. His majesty also presented the Church leaders with gifts of the Zulu culture with a special request.

“Just when you look at [the gifts], you must remember what I’ve said and what I ask the Church: to assist my people in rural areas and to assist with the teachings of the Lord Jesus Christ,” he implored.

In return, Elder Rasband presented the king with a replica of the Thorvaldsen Cristus, a special edition of the Book of Mormon and a promise. “We will be a wonderful partner for you in caring for matters that are important to you, caring for the poor and the needy, helping to relieve human suffering,” he replied.

The Rasbands and Cooks met with Latter-day Saint youth on Saturday evening in a special devotional as part the dedication weekend to celebrate the newest operating temple of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Built as a beautiful offering to the Lord, the now dedicated Durban South Africa temple will serve devout members in Mozambique, Lesotho and South Africa.

“The temple represents the highest ordinances, the highest covenants, the highest form of worship that worthy members of our Church can participate in,” said Elder Rasband.

The other temple in South Africa is the Johannesburg South Africa Temple. President Gordon B. Hinckley, then a counselor in the First Presidency, dedicated the temple on August 24, 1985. Additional temples in use in Africa include the Aba Nigeria Temple, Accra Ghana Temple and the Kinshasa Democratic Republic of the Congo Temple. Five more temples have been announced or are under construction. They include the Abidjan Ivory Coast Temple, Harare Zimbabwe Temple, Freetown Sierra Leone Temple, Lagos Nigeria Temple and Nairobi Kenya Temple.

Temples are considered houses of the Lord where Jesus Christ’s teachings are reaffirmed through baptism and other rituals that unite families for eternity. In the temple, Church members learn more about the purpose of life and make covenants to follow Jesus Christ and serve their fellow man.

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