By JANETTE JEFFRESS
Land for the Ghana, West Africa, LDS temple has been approved for purchase by President Gordon B. Hinckley, president of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
According to the LDS Church News, the temple site contains 3.6 acres and is located in a residential neighborhood along one of the main thoroughfares in Accra, Ghana’s capital city.
On Feb. 16, before President Hinckley announced plans for building a temple in Ghana, he visited the prospective temple site in Accra. With him was Elder Jeffrey R. Holland of the Quorum of the Twelve and Elder James O. Mason of the Seventy and president of the Africa Area.
According to the Church News, President Hinckley said the West African members had gone a long time without a temple.
“When I was here five years ago, we tried to find a place to build a temple. We didn’t find anything and we didn’t say anything to anybody. (But) this morning we approved the purchase of a beautiful piece of ground,” President Hinckley said.
He also said the temple would take several years to complete, but once it was finished, the Saints in the area would not have to travel to London or Johannesburg, South Africa, to be able to attend the temple.
Right after visiting the prospective temple site, President Hinckley met with Ghana’s president, Jerry Rawlings, the Church News said.
President Hinckley told Rawlings the church plans to do more building in Africa to accommodate members.
Rawlings responded optimistically and said he was supportive of the LDS Church and its objectives, the Church News said.
These positive remarks helped end the misunderstandings of the Ghanaian government about the LDS Church. In 1989, the Ghanaian government shut down church operations after it heard a false report that the LDS church members were working against the government.
During that time, church buildings were locked and guarded by police, and members could only hold church meetings in private homes. In addition, foreign missionaries were expelled from the country.
The government, however, allowed the church to continue operations after Dec. 1, 1990.
The Feb. 16 meeting between Rawlings and President Hinckley officially closed the 1989 matter, the Church News said.