Villahermosa Mexico Mormon Temple
That the Lord works in mysterious ways is an idea that Samuel Oteo Perez would agree with. He came from Tabasco, Mexico, to the United States to work as a subcontracted employee in 1956. While in the United States, he was unjustly accused of helping illegal immigrants and put in prison for 90 days. During that time he was taught the missionary discussions and converted to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
After being released from prison, he returned to Mexico where he was baptized in Mexico City. He returned to his home in Tabasco, ready to share the gospel with his friends and family. A year later the area of Villahermosa was opened up for missionary work. Four full-time elders began teaching those Brother Perez had prepared.
Soon after the Mormon missionaries‘ arrival, a branch (small congregation) was organized and Brother Perez was called to serve as branch president. In 1972 a ward building was built, which later became a stake center (a larger congregation building consisting of more than one ward) and was finally torn down in 1999 so the temple could be built.
From the wrongful imprisonment of one man, Samuel Oteo Perez, the gospel in Tabasco has grown, and in 1999 there were 23,000 members in the area. In 30 short years the Saints went from having one meetinghouse to multiple meetinghouses dotting the land and even a Mormon temple.
Having a temple has brought the members such joy. Maria Elena Balboa, one of the first to be baptized in Tabasco said, “I always wished for a temple in my town, but never really thought it would happen. Today I’m so happy. I’ve even been called to work in the temple.”
Rafael Guerra, another longtime member, said; “Now the Church will grow in Villahermosa. Many nonmembers came to the open house, and many of them asked to hear the missionary discussions after visiting the Lord’s wonderful house.”1
The Villahermosa Tabasco temple is located on the Mexico isthmus near the coast. It is a region often referred to as “Book of Mormon” land dotted with ancient ruins, a place where ancient temples may have existed. Now it is home to a latter-day temple. The Mormon temple exterior is white marble, and like most of the small temples being built around the world, has a single spire with a statue of the angel Moroni.
During the groundbreaking ceremony, Elder Turley of the Seventy testified that Jesus Christ leads the Mormon Church, and that “temples are, along with the atonement, the greatest gift to mankind, as well as the greatest tool to prepare the earth for the Second Coming of the Savior.” 2 It is within Mormon temples that worthy members of the church receive ordinances that enable them to spend eternity with God and their families.
President Thomas S. Monson dedicated the Villahermosa Tabasco temple on 21 May 2000. In the dedicatory prayer he petitioned the Lord, “May Thy eternal purposes concerning the sons and daughters of Lehi be realized in this sacred house. May every blessing of the eternal gospel be poured out upon them, and may the suffering of the centuries be softened through the beneficence of Thy loving care.” 3
AV 27 DE FEBRERO #1717
COL ATASTA DE SERRA
86100 VILLAHERMOSA TAB
c/o Mexico Area Administration Office
Phone: (52) 993-352-2028
For more information about Mormon temples visit the sites below:
(1) News of the Church,” Ensign, Aug. 2000, 74
(2) Church News, 23 January 1999.
(3) “Villahermosa dedicatory prayer: ‘It is beautiful to look upon,’” Church News 27 May 2000, 25