ACCRA, Ghana ó Expressing gratitude “for the brotherhood that exists among us, that neither color of skin nor land of birth can separate us as thy sons and daughters,” President Gordon B. Hinckley dedicated the Accra Ghana Temple Sunday.
The new edifice, the 117th temple of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, is the second temple on the African continent; the Johannesburg South Africa Temple was dedicated in 1985.
Latter-day Saints gathered for the Accra Temple dedication from throughout Ghana and from some of the neighboring nations in the temple district, which includes Liberia, Nigeria, Sierra Leone, Togo, Benin and Ivory Coast.
In an interview with the Deseret Morning News and KSL-TV, President Hinckley spoke of the dedication of the temple in Accra as “a new day in West Africa,” the fulfillment of hopes, dreams and prayers of many people.
Toby W. Tweh readily agreed that “a new day has dawned in Africa, especially West Africa.” He and his wife, Beatrice, traveled to Johannesburg to receive temple blessings in August 2000 after he was called to preside over the Monrovia Liberia Stake. “This is a happy time; I am so happy. This temple in Accra will bring relief to us because there are so many members who want to go to the temple but they don’t have the money to go all the way to South Africa,” he said.
While in Accra on Feb. 16, 1998, President Hinckley announced plans for a temple to be built in Ghana. Although many delays were encountered in obtaining building permits, the Accra Temple has risen rapidly. It was only 25 years ago that Ted and Janath Cannon and Rendell and Rachel Mabey entered Ghana as the first LDS missionaries.
During dedicatory events, many members spoke of early missionaries and of Ghana’s pioneer members, many of whom attended the dedication. Among them was Priscilla Sampson-Davis, who was baptized in 1978. She said the church has come a long way since the first meetings in Accra were held in a bungalow to the completion and dedication of the temple. “It is a wonderful feeling; I’m so excited,” she said of the opportunity to attend the temple.
The “new day” dawned in Africa in the midst of seasonal winds that bring red-tinted dust from the Sahara. Although the dust created a haze over Accra, the winds helped make more bearable the equatorial heat. Judging from the bright smiles of people who stood in long lines waiting for their turn to enter the temple for dedicatory sessions, and the even broader smiles of those leaving sessions, little thought was given to winds or dust.