February 21, 2024

Bern Switzerland Temple Fun Facts

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The Bern Switzerland Temple is the 9th dedicated Temple of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

The Bern Switzerland Temple was announced in 1952 by President David O. McKay. It is located in Zollikofen, a northern suburb of Bern, the capital of Switzerland.

The the "Swiss Temple" was announced it was very meaningful for the the Saints in Europe it meant that the Saints would not longer have to cross the Atlantic to go to a temple.

The Bern Switzerland Temple was the first temple where English would not be the predominant language.

Prophecies of international temples were made as early as August 1906, when President Joseph F. Smith visited Zurich, Switzerland, and predicted that "the time would come when temples to the Most High would be built in various countries of the world." Only four temples were in operation at the timeā€”all in Utah.

President Heber J. Grant pronounced a prophecy in 1923 at the dedication of the temple in Cardston, Alberta: "I have no doubt in my mind that temples of the Lord will be erected in Europe, none whatever. How soon that will come I do not know. It will not come until the spirit of peace has increased among the people of Europe." World War II ended in Europe in 1945, and the temple was dedicated just ten years later.

It was difficult to obtain the property for the Swiss Temple, with many failed attempts. The man in charge of obtaining the land, President Bringhurst, wrote to President McKay explaining the difficulties but also saying he felt a strange sense of relief. He told the prophet that he thought everything would work our well in the end. President McKay responded similarly saying "My disappointment soon disappeared and was replaced by an assurance that the Lord will overrule all transactions for the best good of His Church, not only in Switzerland but throughout Europe." One week after the first letter, President Bringhurst again wrote with better news. He found a parcel of land in Bern that was twice the size of the original desired land and half as expensive. In the letter he explained that all the missionaries has "fasted and prayed and immediately after the property became available."

The Church had to figure out how to clearly and efficiently communicate the endowment instruction in nearly a dozen languages, in a much smaller space. President McKay asked a young staff member named Gordon B. Hinckley solve the problem. Bro. Hinckley said "It was a charge of enormous significance. . ." and "The ramifications of this project were enormous, as they would extend far beyond the temple in Switzerland."

The fifth floor assembly room of the Salt Lake Temple was used as a makeshift movie set to record the Temple video. It was a year of grueling work to get the movie ready in English. The following months with the use of immigrants and returned missionaries who spoke the languages, the other videos were recorded.

Once the videos were completed getting the films over to the Swiss Temple was another obstacle. Worried on how to get the videos through customs, without people watching them, there were safeguards put in place to insure only authorized persons would ever see them. Technology was used to develop the films to insure the sanctity of the films.

On September 11, 1955 President David O. McKay dedicated the Swill Temple. Saying "I welcome also an unseen, but, I believe, a real audience among whom are former presidents and apostles of the Church, headed by the Prophet Joseph." Later in the meeting he said "The veil between those who participated in those exercises and loved ones who had gone before seems very thin."

The Swiss Temple went through extensive remodeling from 1990 to 1992. President Gordon B. Hinckley rededicated the temple on October 23, 1992. President Hinckley expressed gratitude for "this nation of Switzerland, which through centuries of time has been a land of peace while nations round about have been nations are war." President Hinckley went on to say that we pray that Switzerland "may continue to be a land of peace, a land of freedom, a land of opportunity and an example to the other nations of the world."


"Temples of the New Millennium" by Chad S. Hawkins p 20-21

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