Summarized by Kent Larsen
Fijian LDS temple is dedicated in small ceremony
Deseret News 19Jun00 N1
By Sarah Jane Weaver: Church News staff writer
SUVA, FIJI -- Braving the political unrest that led the LDS Church to
move its missionaries to the other side of the island, LDS Church
President Gordon B. Hinckley dedicated the Suva Fiji Temple in a
small ceremony on Sunday. The ceremony was attended by 60 Church
members including four local stake presidents and their wives, the
temple presidency and their wives, and a 20-voice choir. The
dedication was held in the Temple's celestial room.
The LDS Church First Presidency decided on the small dedication
because of the continuing unrest in the country. The south pacific
island nation has been in turmoil since armed rebels took Prime
Minister Mahendra Chaudhry and other government leaders hostage on
May 19th. The rebels are native Fijians upset that the government was
controlled by members of the Indian minority. Recently, negotiators
seemed to be making progress in resolving the standoff.
The Temple's dedication follows a public open house, scheduled for
June 7-10 and 12, which drew 16,723 in spite of limited publicity due
to the unrest. The building is located on land purchased from the
Australian government, just a few minutes from the Suva city center,
in a neighborhood that includes ambassadorial residences.
The Suva Temple is the fourth dedicated by President Hinckley in his
extended trip through the Far East, starting with the dedication of
the Fukuoka Japan Temple on June 11th. Since then, President Hinckley
has traveled to Thailand, where he paid a courtesy call on Prime
Minister Chuan Leekpai.
Hinckley then traveled to Adelaide, Australia, where he dedicated the
Adelaide Australia Temple on Thursday, June 15th and then to
Melbourne, Australia for the dedication of the temple there on
Friday, June 16th. The trip is the first time that four temples have
been dedicated in a single overseas trip.
While in Thailand, President Hinckley was treated to a "pre-birthday
celebration" by Deputy Prime Minister Bhichai Rattakul. The Thai
government also thanked the Church for "all the work that LDS
volunteers have done" for Thailand. Among the humanitarian service
provided by Church members is the work of 100 volunteer who, over the
past three years, have taught more than 300,000 English teachers and
students. President Hinckley also spoke to a meeting of 2,600 Church
members at the Thailand Air Force Convention Center.