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LDS Apostle and other church leaders visit Dubai site of future temple

By Genelle Pugmire - | Oct 29, 2021

Courtesy Intellectual Reserve

Elder David A. Bednar and his wife, Susan, visit the Expo 2020 in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, on Wednesday, Oct. 27, 2021. (Courtesy Intellectual Reserve)

It was almost an unbelievable setting. Members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints could not attend the April 2020 sessions of General Conference in person, but instead for the first time had to watch from home due to COVID-19.

The conference was no less important, as President Russell M. Nelson announced several temples to be built throughout the world. One was to be built in Dubai, United Arab Emirates.

This week, members of the church in the area met with Elder David A. Bednar of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, his wife, Susan, and other church leaders.

“In Dubai, Elder Bednar was joined by a number of area and organizational leaders ministering in the region, including Elder Patrick Kearon of the Presidency of the Seventy and his wife, Jennifer; Elder Randy D. Funk of the Middle East/Africa North Area Presidency and his wife, Andrea; Relief Society general president Jean B. Bingham and her husband, Bruce and her First Counselor, Sister Sharon Eubank. The leaders met with the leadership of the Abu Dhabi Stake,” a church press release said.

Local women’s organization leader Jo Ann Marker, who has lived in Dubai for 32 years, said she felt uplifted and inspired by Elder Bednar’s remarks.

Courtesy Intellectual Reserve

Elder David A. Bednar speaks to members of the church in Dubai. (Courtesy Intellectual Reserve)

“I feel the presence of the Spirit,” she explained. “When an Apostle of the Lord tells everyone he loves you, you know that it comes from above. I know that through him, our Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ are telling me: ‘Hold on, we love you, keep it up.'”

At the session Elder Bednar taught, he told attendees, “The focus of everything we do in this Church is helping people to become yoked to and with the Savior through the covenants and ordinances of his restored gospel. Period. Exclamation point. End of sentence. That’s it. That’s all we do.”

“While in Dubai, the Bednars and Funks also visited Expo 2020. As announced in April 2020, a parcel of land on the expansive property of Expo 2020, will one day be the site of the Dubai Temple. Following a gracious invitation from the Dubai government to build the temple, it will be the first to be built by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in the Middle East,” the press release said.

The temple will serve 8,000 Latter-day Saints living in two stakes in the Gulf states and a number of congregations in the Middle East, northern Africa, eastern Europe and western Asia. Currently, members who want to worship in temples need to travel to places such as Ukraine, Italy and Germany.

Amanda Fristrom, a member of a Dubai congregation who was raised in South Dakota, looks forward to the closeness of the temple.

Courtesy Intellectual Reserve

A delegation from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints visits Expo 2020 in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, on Wednesday, Oct. 27, 2021. They are, from left, Abu Dhabi Stake President Marcus Oates and his wife, Janine; Elder Randy D. Funk and his wife, Andrea; Sister Susan K. Bednar and Elder David A. Bednar; and Giovanni Criscione, a Latter-day Saint who works for the Expo.

“I’ve never lived in a place with easy access, and so my involvement with the ordinances and covenants is going to completely change. I look forward to feeling the spirit of the temple and to be able to sit and ponder in the temple,” she said.

Georges and Sylvie Mojica moved to the United Arab Emirates from France in 1987. They never expected to see a temple in the country in their lifetimes.

“Having the chance to go to the temple is also something so important for all of us,” Sylvie Mojica said. “We love the temple and having the temple here. We just can’t wait for that.”

When the Dubai temple is finished, British Latter-day Saint Linton Crockford-Moore looks forward to inviting his Muslim friends to the open house.

“All of the members here are really looking forward to the opportunity to invite members of the community to go to the open house,” he said. “I think there is nothing better to actually experience our beliefs than (visiting) inside the house of the Lord.”

“As announced, the temple property will include both a meetinghouse and a temple. Our most sacred rites and ceremonies are performed in holy temples, such as marriages which unite families for eternity. Meetinghouses are for weekday activities and Sabbath worship services,” the church statement said.

The visit to Dubai is the latest stop in a multicountry ministry trip. Elder Bednar previously met with Latter-day Saints in Amman, Jordan, and Elder Funk, President Bingham and Sister Eubank met with members in Cairo, Egypt.

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