Buenas noticias para los Mormones

By December 5, 2007

A couple of notes of interest for the ever-growing Spanish-speaking population within the LDS Church …

On Novemeber 18, the First Presidency announced plans to build a temple in El Salvador (hat tip to danithew at BD).  The Church News release reports that a statement from the First Presidency was read in all sacrament meetings in the country that day.  The temple brings the number of temples (built or planned) in Central America to six.  Belize and Nicaragua remain the only nations in the region without a temple.  The temple will serve the 96,000 members of the country, and will reduce the round-trip travel time of a temple visit from as long as 32 hours (to Guatemala) to 6 hours for members in the most distant parts of the country.  The announcement of this temple has personal significance to my family, as my wife’s mother was born and raised in El Salvador (her parents were among the first converts to the Church there).

In news closer to my Utah home, the LDS Church will be putting on an all-Spanish Christmas devotional (“El regalo de navidad”) at the Tabernacle on Temple Square in Salt Lake City.  According to the BYU Newsnet article detailing the event, it will take place tomorrow evening (Thursday, December 6) and the following night (Friday, December 7) at 7:00 pm, and on Saturday, December 8 at 3:00 pm and 7:00 pm.  According to the article,

The devotional will be presented entirely in Spanish, with some parts in Portuguese. There will be a 450-voice choir that will sing Christmas carols from Spain and Latin America. Part of the presentation will include the performance of children and adults from Brazil.

Elder Claudio R.M. Costa, a member of the First Quorum of the Seventy, will present a Christmas message.  The event is intended to attract not only the Spanish-speaking LDS community in the area, but people of all faiths who wish to enjoy an evening celebrating Christ’s birth. My understanding is that this event has been going on for a couple of years now, but appears to be drawing larger audiences each year (it appears tickets for this event are sold out).  Further details are available here.

To me, both of these announcements represent the ever-diversifying nature of the Church, as it continues to grow and expand.  It seems to be a step in a positive direction; one that allows the Hispanic-Latino culture of the Church to celebrate their faith in a way more familiar to them.


  1. Buenas noticias para los Mormones is how your title should read. Indeed these news are good news. Thanks for posting.

    Comment by Manuel — December 5, 2007 @ 1:42 pm

  2. Thanks for the correction, Manuel. I fixed it. My Spanish is mediocre at best.

    Comment by Christopher — December 5, 2007 @ 1:50 pm

  3. This is great news. I do wonder how much of this Christmas devotional is still “white space,” meaning how much of it is organized by Anglos or agringados?

    Comment by David Grua — December 5, 2007 @ 2:04 pm

  4. This is indeed fantastic news. I had a mission companion and had some good mission friends from there. Good for them.

    Belize, the forgotten stepchild of Central America, doesn’t have a temple and I don’t imagine will be getting one any time soon. 🙂

    Comment by Rusty — December 5, 2007 @ 2:11 pm

  5. Rusty, thank you for correcting me about Belize. I’d forgotten about it.

    Comment by Christopher — December 5, 2007 @ 2:14 pm

  6. Is this a church-wide event or an area event? (Perhaps the fact that there is no satellite broadcast answers that question.) I wonder if it will broadcast in the near future.

    Comment by Justin — December 5, 2007 @ 3:27 pm

  7. Justin, it appears to only be a local event. I would prefer it if they would broadcast it to Stake Centers throughout Latin America, Spain, and other areas with large Spanish-speaking populations, but still see it as a positive sign.

    Comment by Christopher — December 5, 2007 @ 3:37 pm

  8. Not to rain on anyone’s parade, but Nicaragua has no temple yet, nor any announced as far as I know. Incidentally, as far as the travel time issue, the Tegucigalpa temple will do almost exactly the same thing to travel time from most parts of El Salvador (parts of El Salvador that are far from Guatemala are generally quite a bit nearer to Tegucigalpa), and it will also act as a partial solution to the problem of where Nicaraguan saints go (San Jose, Costa Rica, is geographically closer to Nicaraguans, but serious tensions between the two countries sometimes cause border closing or other big delays).

    Aside from these logistical issues, I have to mention that to the members in Central American countries having a temple in their own country is a really big deal, not only because they can attend with greater ease and frequency, but because it represents the growth and progress of the church in their national community in a beautiful, tangible way. I was there to see the effect that this announcement had on Hondurans last year, and I am pleased to know that Salvadoran saints are now experiencing the same.

    Comment by No one in Particular — December 6, 2007 @ 2:24 am

  9. NoiP, thanks for the correction. I’ve fixed the post.

    Comment by Christopher — December 6, 2007 @ 10:26 am

  10. Interesting that they chose Elder Claudio Costa to speak instead of a native Spanish speaker. While I’m not surprised that Elder Costa can speak Spanish (he recently served as a General Authority in Colombia), he is from Brazil, and a native Portuguese speaker.

    Of course, there are also quite a number of native English speakers who could speak just as easily, so I wonder why Elder Costa?

    Comment by Kent Larsen — December 19, 2007 @ 12:40 am

  11. OK, sorry. I missed the part about part of the program being in Portuguese and including members from Brazil.

    Excuse the previous post.

    Comment by Kent Larsen — December 19, 2007 @ 12:44 am


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