“I have been waiting for this temple, and it is a blessing. I feel so happy to be able to see that in Puerto Rico there is a temple,” said Nidza Henriquez.
Henriquez was 18 when she learned about The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints through missionaries who visited her hometown of Ponce in southern Puerto Rico. December 8, 2022, will mark nearly 50 years since she was baptized as a member of the Church.
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Henriquez remembers with fondness her small congregation of Latter-day Saints. They first gathered at an Episcopal church, where the local parish gave them permission to meet before they raised the funds needed to build their own meetinghouse.
Over the years, Henriquez held a sincere hope of one day seeing a temple of the Church of Jesus Christ built in Puerto Rico.
“We (Latter-day Saints) never lost hope. I knew that the Lord would allow me to see the temple (built) in Puerto Rico,” said Henriquez.
Henriquez’s prayers were answered in October 2018, when President Russell M. Nelson of the Church of Jesus Christ announced the construction of Puerto Rico’s first temple in San Juan.
(Unlike meetinghouses where weekly Sunday worship services are held, temples are separate spaces reserved for the highest sacraments of the faith.)
Today, more than 23,400 Latter-day Saints live in Puerto Rico. For many like Henriquez, the San Juan Puerto Rico Temple is a sign of God’s love at a time when Church members need it most.
Over the last five years, Puerto Rico has been devastated by a series of catastrophic events. These include Hurricane Maria, one of the worst cyclones to ever strike the Caribbean, along with two earthquakes and the COVID-19 pandemic, which has claimed more than 5,000 lives on the island.
“Imagine everything that we have gone through with the difficult situations of Hurricane Maria, the earthquakes and the emotional troubles we’ve had,” Henriquez said. “Getting the news of the temple, that we no longer have to travel far away (to visit), is a wonderful blessing.”
While temples are places of worship for Latter-day Saints, Henriquez said the temple’s open house is an opportunity for the community to experience the peace found within its walls.
“We are telling everyone about the open house and inviting them. This is a way for us to share with others why the temple is so important to us (Latter-day Saints). You never know what hearts can be touched,” expressed Henriquez.
About the San Juan Puerto Rico Temple
Inspired by the Spanish colonial architecture of the territory’s historical landmarks, the San Juan Puerto Rico Temple is a single-story, 6,988-square-foot structure that sits on a 2.97-acre site.
The interior glass patterns were inspired by quatrefoil motifs seen in Spanish colonial architecture. The same pattern is repeated in ordinance room fabrics using the colors blue, gold, opal white and green.
The public is welcome to participate in the temple’s open house from December 1 through December 17 (except on Sundays). Admission is free. More information can be found here.
The temple will be dedicated by Elder D. Todd Christofferson of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles on January 15, 2023.
The San Juan Puerto Rico Temple is the first in the territory and the third in the Caribbean. Additional temples are located in Port-Au-Prince, Haiti and Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic.
Latter-day Saints consider temples to be the most sacred spaces on the earth and literal houses of the Lord. Inside these holy buildings, faithful Church members make promises to God, feel His Spirit and come closer to Him through sacred ceremonies called ordinances. One such ordinance is the marriage ceremony (known as sealing), which unites families for eternity.
To learn more about the various ordinance rooms inside the temple, please visit this link.
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has provided extensive emergency response services to Puerto Rico. Humanitarian efforts have increased over the last five years with significant emergency relief since Hurricane Maria devastated much of the island in 2017. In addition to monetary assistance, the Church has participated in 34 humanitarian projects in Puerto Rico since 2018, encompassing earthquake and cyclone relief efforts and supplies, emergency aid to hospitals and schools, drought, disease, and livelihood assistance as well as psychosocial support.
Most recently, in response to Hurricane Fiona, the Church has funded projects with The American Red Cross, UN World Food Programme, Rotary Club, Project Hope, Gogo Foundation and other charitable organizations to provide medical supplies, shelter, clean water, food, sanitation and hygiene support, and financial assistance to help those affected by the hurricane.
Style Guide Note:When reporting about The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, please use the complete name of the Church in the first reference. For more information on the use of the name of the Church, go to our online Style Guide.
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