In January of 1979, shortly after the dedication of the São Paulo Brazil Temple (on October 30, 1978), my wife and I decided to travel with our three little children (we now have 5) to make our personal covenants and to get sealed as a family for eternity. I remember that special moment when, following a tiring journey in our own car, our eyes beheld the beautiful temple. Our hearts began beating rapidly. We had made it and were now standing on the temple grounds, admiring its beauty and realizing that in a few hours our family would be eternal.
It is difficult to explain what you feel when you enter the temple. Just like the things of the Spirit, you become transformed. Everyone inside is dressed in white. Their appearance is pure, their demeanor full of love and sweetness. It is truly impressive. It makes you tremble, and you get to experience a portion of what life with our Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ will be like. Being there and participating in Their sacred covenants, you feel the desire to improve, to purify and sanctify yourself, and to forget the things of the world.
After our temple marriage was performed, our three little children were brought to us, dressed in white. What joy! We could not stop crying. As we all held each other’s hands, we were sealed for time and for all eternity, and we saw our reflection in the mirrors as an eternal family. What a wonderful experience! Words cannot express how it feels! You truly have to experience it. I cannot express in words the special and profound feelings that filled our minds and hearts as we performed those ordinances.
That memorable experience has remained imprinted not only on our minds and in our hearts, but also in the Lord’s books. Sad was the moment when we had to return; we did not have a temple close to our home. How we yearned to be in the shoes of those who had the opportunity to have that holy place close to their homes.
Time went by, and the day came when the construction of the [Buenos Aires] Argentina Temple was announced. It was dedicated on January 17, 1986, and the dream we had always had came true.
Then, as President Hinckley was traveling in the El Paso, Texas, area along the Mexican border, he received the revelation to begin building small temples. These beautiful houses of the Lord began to spread throughout the world. Over the last fifteen years, beginning with the dedication of the Anchorage Alaska Temple (number 54) on January 9, 1999, have been dedicated, are under construction or have been announced 116 temples. That makes a total of 170 temples by February 2014.
Malachi, an Old Testament prophet who prophesied around the year 430 b.c., said, “Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord. And he shall turn the heart of the fathers to the children, and the heart of the children to their fathers, lest I come and smite the earth with a curse” (Malachi 4:5-6).
“The Prophet Joseph Smith said that Elijah held the sealing power of the Melchizedek Priesthood and was the last prophet to do so before the time of Jesus Christ. He appeared on the Mount of Transfiguration with Moses and conferred the keys of the priesthood on Peter, James, and John (Matt. 17:3). He appeared again, with Moses and others, on 3 April 1836, in the Kirtland Ohio Temple and conferred the same keys upon Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery (D&C 110:13-16)” (Guide to the Scriptures, “Elijah,” 72).
I testify that Malachi’s prophecy has been fulfilled. We have the keys to perform the work in the holy temples.
One of our areas of focus in the Caribbean Area is to work with the prophetic priority of increasing temple ordinances. We have the blessing of having one temple in our area. We have been commissioned of God to administer in this temple all the saving and exalting ordinances to the benefit of the living as well as the dead.
We wrote the following in the Caribbean Area Plan of 2014: “We are working to increase the participation of Church members in family history work, with particular emphasis on involving our youth, with the goal of becoming more ‘self-sufficient’ in our vicarious temple work. We are encouraging stake, mission and district presidencies to work with bishops and branch presidents to establish a specific monthly ward or branch temple session to encourage members to attend together.”
May we keep in our minds the solemnities of eternity. This will allow us to perceive the deep significance of temples, and it will encourage us to double our efforts to do the work that our Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ expect us to carry out.
I testify that if we do that, we will be blessed even more as individuals, as families, and as a people. We will see many miracles in the Caribbean Area through increased work in the Lord’s holy temple.