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Triple Temple Dedications on Same Day Will Be a First for Church of Jesus Christ

Temples in Brasília, Brazil; Bentonville, Arkansas; and Moses Lake, Washington will be dedicated on Sunday, September 17

Elder David A. Bednar of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles participated in the media day for the Bentonville Arkansas Temple with his wife, Susan on Monday, June 12, 2023. The Bednars lived in the Bentonville area for nearly 20 years while Elder Bednar was a professor at the University of Arkansas College of Business.2023 by Intellectual Reserve, Inc. All rights reserved.
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By Scott Taylor, Church News

Brasília, Brazil. Bentonville, Arkansas. Moses Lake, Washington. The three cities are about as different and diverse as can be.

But the three cities — or, more specifically, the houses of the Lord found in each — will be forever linked and underscored in the records of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

That’s because the Brasília Brazil Temple, the Bentonville Arkansas Temple and the Moses Lake Washington Temple will all be dedicated on the same day — Sunday, September 17 — in two dedicatory sessions at each site, with a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles presiding.

While two temples have been dedicated on the same day several times, this marks the first time that three dedications have been scheduled for the same day — all within four hours of each other.

The first day of two dedications came in 1999, with the double dedications repeated several times the following year. The next — and most recent — time came more than two decades later, less than a year ago, on November 20, 2022.

And two same-day dedications are planned for next month as well.

The scheduling overlap shouldn’t be a surprise, given the Church’s 315 total dedicated, under-construction or announced houses of the Lord — including the 133 temples so far announced by President Russell M. Nelson in the five-plus years he has been President of the Church. The Bentonville and Moses Lake temples are included in that 133, both announced in 2019.

Invited guests, including prominent local Latter-day Saint Carlos Martins, on the grounds of the Brasília Brazil Temple on August 1, 2023.2023 by Intellectual Reserve, Inc. All rights reserved.
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3 Cities, Temples and Dedications

Brasília — the capital of South America’s largest nation — is only six decades old after Brazil moved its seat of government and federal district in 1960 to a more central locale in the country’s interior. Bentonville — recently named “the Capital of Cool” by the Wall Street Journal — is a small Ozarks town having blossomed into a metropolitan area that has everything from corporate headquarters to museums to mountain biking. And Moses Lake has seen its agricultural heritage and 1940s Air Force base transition to a central Washington city now known as much for manufacturing, technology and world-class aeronautics.

The three have the local and regional Church membership to sustain temple operations and work, with one-quarter of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles assigned to the three Western Hemisphere sites to each dedicate a new house of the Lord on the same Sunday.

Elder Neil L. Andersen of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles and Sister Kathy Andersen pause outside the Brasília Brazil Temple on Monday, March 6, 2023, in Brasília. Photo by Scott Taylor, courtesy of Church News.Copyright 2023 Deseret News Publishing Company.

The day’s dedications begin with the Brasília Brazil Temple, to be dedicated by Elder Neil L. Andersen in sessions at 10 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. Brasília Standard Time.

For Elder Andersen and his wife, Sister Kathy Andersen, it is the latest return to Brazil — where he presided in the early 2000s over what was then the Church’s Brazil South Area (today, the country is within the singular administrative Brazil Area) and where he has traveled back for ministries and meetings many times since. In March of this year, Elder and Sister Andersen visited the Brasília temple before meeting with the first lady of Brazil, Rosângela Lula da Silva.

Two hours later and nearly 4,700 miles to the northwest, Elder David A. Bednar will dedicate the Bentonville Arkansas Temple, with the two dedicatory sessions, beginning at 10 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. Central Daylight Time.

It will mark the third temple-milestone event involving Elder Bednar and this house of the Lord in northwestern Arkansas. In November 2020, in the early months of the COVID-19 pandemic, he presided remotely — via videoconference — over the Bentonville temple’s groundbreaking services; in June of this year, he returned for the temple’s media day and start of special-guest tours. As an Apostle, he has also created several stakes that are within the Bentonville temple district.

For Elder Bednar and his wife, Sister Susan Bednar, any trip to Bentonville is truly a homecoming. They and their family lived there for almost 20 years during the 1980s and 1990s while Elder Bednar taught as a professor of business management at the University of Arkansas prior to his being called as president of Ricks College (now BYU-Idaho).

The Bentonville Arkansas Temple at sunset in June 2023.2023 by Intellectual Reserve, Inc. All rights reserved.
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An additional 1,500 miles away to the northwest and two hours after the start of the first session in Bentonville and four after the start in Brasília, Elder Quentin L. Cook will preside over the dedication of the Moses Lake Washington Temple, with its sessions beginning at 10 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. Pacific Daylight Time.

While Elder Cook hasn’t been to the Moses Lake temple or grounds, he and his wife, Sister Mary Cook, will be in familiar territory. As a General Authority Seventy, he served as president of the Church’s North America Northwest Area in the early 2000s (now part of the North America West Area), with assignments including presiding at the Moses Lake Washington Stake conference in June 2002 and joining President Gordon B. Hinckley for the November 2001 dedication of the Columbia River Washington Temple in Richland, Washington, some 60 miles south of Moses Lake.

Journalists and other invited guests walk to the Moses Lake Washington Temple for a tour during the temple's media day on July 31, 2023.2023 by Intellectual Reserve, Inc. All rights reserved.
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Same-day Dedications

In reality, the Church’s first two-dedication day wasn’t planned as such.

In November 1999, President Gordon B. Hinckley was scheduled to dedicate temples on back-to-back days — the Halifax Nova Scotia Temple on Saturday, November 13, and the Regina Saskatchewan Temple on Sunday, November 14.

However, mechanical issues with the airplane President Hinckley was to use resulted in a day’s delay. The decision was made to have the Church President dedicate the Halifax temple a day later and President Boyd K. Packer, Acting President of the Quorum of the Twelve, to preside at the Regina dedication on its scheduled date. The result: the Halifax and Regina temple dedications both occurred on Sunday, November 14, 1999.

The next year, as the Church continued its push to meet President Hinckley’s announced goal to have 100 dedicated temples by the end of the century, same-day dedications occurred three times in 2000.

More Recently and in the Near Future

More than two decades later, the Church once again had two new houses of the Lord dedicated on the same day, November 20, 2022 — the Belém Brazil Temple and the Quito Ecuador Temple, by Elder Dale G. Renlund and Elder Cook, respectively, both of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles.

The Quito Ecuador Temple was dedicated by Elder Quentin L. Cook of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles on Sunday, November 20, 2022.2022 by Intellectual Reserve, Inc. All rights reserved.
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That was 10 months ago.

And after Sunday, September 17, Latter-day Saints won’t have to wait long for the next time multiple temples are dedicated. It will happen just three weeks later — with the October 8 dedications of the McAllen Texas Temple by Elder Dieter F. Uchtdorf and Feather River California Temple, in Yuba City, California, by Elder Ulisses Soares, both of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles.

Four more temples are scheduled to be dedicated between mid-October and mid-January 2024 — all on separate days.

The Church has 48 additional temples in various stages of construction, with two more to start construction following scheduled groundbreaking services next month.

Copyright 2023 Deseret News Publishing Company.

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