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President Uchtdorf dedicates Cordoba Argentina Temple

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CORDOBA, Argentina — Many Christians around the globe Sunday observed Ascension Day. It’s an annual event commemorating Jesus Christ’s ascension into heaven 40 days after his resurrection on Easter Sunday.

For President Dieter F. Uchtdorf, second counselor in the First Presidency of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, that sacred holiday offered an apropos moment to dedicate the church’s 145th temple.

“There could not be a better day to have a temple dedication than on Ascension Day,” he said outside the newly dedicated Cordoba Argentina Temple. “Because the temple is a connection — a bridge — between earth and heaven.”

More than 2,000 members participated in Sunday’s three dedicatory sessions inside the garden-encircled temple. Legions more watched the dedications via closed circuit broadcasts in Mormon meetinghouses across Argentina.

The Cordoba Temple becomes the second such edifice in Argentina. The original operates in Buenos Aires.

“This is the house of the Lord, who we know lived on this earth and blessed our lives because of his Atonement and because of his sacrifice,” said President Uchtdorf.

The dedication capped a historic LDS weekend here. On the eve of the temple dedication, almost 1,000 youths staged a cultural event at a Cordoba sports and entertainment arena. The young cast members donned traditional costumes, performed a variety of folk dances and sang patriotic and religious songs — all to celebrate the opening of the temple.

President Uchtdorf saluted the youths' talent and devotion.

“We’re excited to be with you,” he said at Saturday’s cultural event. “Tonight there will be joy, fun and excitement. It all leads to [Sunday], to the dedication of this beautiful temple in Cordoba.”

Since the opening of the Buenos Aires Argentina Temple in 1986, Latter-day Saints living in Cordoba or other cities in northern Argentina have been able to make fairly frequent trips to the capital to attend the temple. But it's not easy. Flights are costly and bus or car excursions take 10 hours or more.

So members in Cordoba and neighboring cities cheered on Oct. 4, 2008, when President Thomas S. Monson announced plans to build Argentina’s second temple here.

“We’ve waited so long for this temple, it didn’t seem like it would ever really open,” said Grisilda Morena de Martinez, who attended Sunday morning’s cornerstone ceremony with her young family. “We watched the temple being built through every stage of construction.”

The church has deep roots in this region of Argentina. Tens of thousands of members live in the new temple district and affiliate with hundreds of wards and branches.

Several prominent Mormon leaders have also called Cordoba home, including Elder Richard G. Scott of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles. Elder Scott and his family lived in Cordoba when he presided over the Argentina North Mission a half-century ago. One of the young missionaries under his direction was Elder D. Todd Christofferson, who now sits with his former mission president in the Quorum of the Twelve.

Elder Christofferson participated in the weekend’s dedication activities.

jswensen@deseretnews.com @JNSwensen