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.