Temple Dedication

Temple Dedication

Wonderful celebrations throughout Ghana and Cote d’Ivoire commemorated the tenth anniversary of the dedication of the Accra Ghana Temple. 

For several months leading up to the anniversary on January 11, 2014, Stake and District Presidencies and special Commemoration committee members were involved in detailed planning.  Speakers were selected from among the Area Presidency, stake and district priesthood leaders and early pioneer members who were baptized in the late 1970s and early 1980s- soon after the first missionaries came to West Africa.

Many celebrations were attended by invited civic and tribal leaders.  Some of the events were covered by local media organizations, providing an opportunity at the close for Priesthood leaders to answer questions about the Church and temples.  Parts of some events were aired on television and reported in newspapers. 

Shared messages at the many firesides and devotionals included:

  • The purpose of temples and importance of endowments and sealings
  • Personal experiences:  dreams of ancestors visiting them regarding their temple work
  • Family history research and the blessings of performing vicarious ordinances
  • The blessings of temple worship in finding solutions to personal challenges
  • The faith of those who had been organized and meeting as ‘LDS’ groups prior to the missionaries coming in 1978
  • Encouragement to find at least one ancestor during 2014 for whom to do temple work

In several celebrations, early pioneers were honored with certificates and medallions.  They were honored for their faithfulness and patience in the many years before the temple was announced and dedicated.

Elder Russell Cannon, currently serving with his wife as a Sr. Missionary couple in Ghana, reminded the saints in the Tema Stake of an experience from 1979.  His father and mother, Elder and Sister Theodore Cannon (along with Elder and Sister Maybey) were the first missionaries sent to West Africa after the revelation on the Priesthood in 1978.  In 1979, Elder James E. Faust came to West Africa and promised the saints that a temple would be built in West Africa.

The announcement that a temple would be built in Accra, Ghana was made on February 16, 1998 by President Gordon B. Hinckley who was in Accra at the time.  He told the saints here that the Church had been searching for the right piece of property on which to build for some time.  The news was received with joy and thanksgiving on that momentous occasion.   Thousands rejoiced just a few years later as the temple was dedicated.

Reflections on the Temple

Nesmeekia Engman

“I still remember in my mind’s eye, when President Hinckley announced that there was going to be a temple built in Accra.  I shouted for joy amidst the crowd because I knew what having a temple in my country meant.  I remember standing on bare ground with dust blowing into my face at 57 Independence Avenue where I witnessed the ground breaking ceremony in 2001.  I remember standing in front of the temple during the first day of the open house in 2003.  The joy that I felt in my heart was beyond description knowing that families can be together forever.  I remember that I was asked to knit a cover for a tissue box for the temple which I saw as a great privilege.  Anytime I visit the temple and see that tissue box cover, I remember the pioneers of old who sacrificed what little they had in helping build the temple of the Lord and I am grateful I was able to offer that small sacrifice.”

Evelyn Forson

“I remember going to the temple monthly for baptisms after it was opened.   On one occasion I couldn’t make the organized group trips so I went on my own.  Although I wasn’t with a scheduled group, the temple workers gave me the opportunity to do baptisms.  Normally the water was warm, but that day I was very cold.  I was baptized for over twenty people, and as I sat in the chair being confirmed, I was shivering – oh,  I was so cold.  But I sat through it.  The thought on my mind was how pleased and relieved the people for whom I had been baptized were.  And the cold for me really didn’t matter.  I loved that experience.” 

Randa Kassah

“The day I was sealed to my family, I looked into the mirror where I saw myself in temple clothing and felt beautiful.  I imagined myself being endowed one day and having my own temple marriage.  The sealing of my family was a very emotional experience.  My mother, crying tears of joy, told me that now we would be together forever.  This is something she had worked towards for a long time.”

Martha Okang

“It seems like yesterday.  I was a young woman when I heard the prophet was coming to Ghana.  Fresh from primary, I was eager to participate in all the activities the young women were chosen to do.  Oh how I loved to come on Saturdays to learn the dance for the ground breaking ceremony.  I was privileged to be part of the celebration and spoke about it to my friends.  I loved hearing my father talk about the building of the temple and I am proud to say that he was one of the few members who worked in the construction of the temple.”
“During the open house, I would hurry quickly from school and was one of the young women who provided protective footwear for all who came to see the temple.  When the groups came, we each took turns to enter the temple more than five times a day.  It was amazing to go each time and it felt totally new with every experience.  I remember how I encouraged most of my friends from school to come see the temple and the joy I felt when some came along with me and others with their families.  Sadly, I missed the dedication because I was too ill to go.  Though I was sad I wasn’t able to attend, I am glad that my family and I had the opportunity to enter into the temple and be sealed for all time and eternity and that I am able to perform baptisms for my ancestors and other wonderful people.”
“The day I look forward to the most is when I have my own endowment and can be sealed to my husband and family for eternity.”

Esther Korantemaa Abuyeh

“I cannot believe it’s been ten years already! I still have a vivid picture in my mind of the Prophet Gordon B. Hinckley’s visit to Ghana and his announcement of a temple in our Motherland. The excitement on everyone’s face, the happiness, the shouts of joy are all still clear in my mind. I was young and had learned in Primary and Young Women about the significance of a temple and the joy it brings to us. I was anxious to go into one and feel the spirit as the Primary hymn tells us.”

The activities prior to the dedication of the temple were just memorable, especially as I personally participated in those activities- helping provide protective foot wear for all those entering into the temple during the open house and dancing my heart out during the cultural display.

However, my favorite moment of them all was that lovely Sabbath morning when we all waved our white handkerchiefs as the temple was dedicated. I felt the warmest feeling I have ever felt. Deep down I knew the spirit was present because I felt peace and joy in my heart.

Today, because of a temple in our land, I am married and sealed to my husband for time and all eternity. The blessing of living with my family beyond this mortality gives me great hope as I strive to do all that I can to be with my family forever.”

Faithful West African saints continue their temple worship, grateful for the great blessing to have a temple in their midst.