On 9 April 2016 a few hundred people accompanied Africa Southeast Area presidency members, Elder Carl B. Cook, Elder Kevin S. Hamilton and Elder Stanley G. Ellis along the path to the site of the Durban South Africa temple to attend the groundbreaking ceremony. They were early to arrive and Elder Cook recalls how he was struck that it wasn’t just the place, but also the people who, because of their preparation and faith, had brought with them the Spirit that had a settling influence on everyone.
Said Elder Hamilton: “Heavenly Father is mindful of His children here in Africa. The announcement of the Zimbabwe Harare temple, the groundbreaking for Kinshasa and the groundbreaking for Durban, all [within] thirty days, indicates to me that our Heavenly Father loves His children and He knows His children in Africa.”
When asked what counsel he would give the saints to be prepared for the dedication of the temple, he said, “There are two counsels. One is practical - do your family history work. The other is spiritual - our hearts need to turn to the temple. We need to be creating a temple-worthy home, where the Spirit of the Lord can dwell.”
Former member of the Durban stake presidency Brother Colin Wilford, in his remarks at the groundbreaking, referred to a prophecy given by President Gordon B. Hinckley twenty years ago that there would be an LDS temple in Durban.
When visiting the site about three or four weeks prior to and in preparation for the groundbreaking ceremony, Elder Cook remembers the impressions he received to “keep it simple and keep it sacred”.
He added that he has heard the invitation of church leaders and specifically Elder Bednar, to keep things simple and to keep things pure. There is nothing more simple and pure than the ordinances of the temple. As we do the things our Heavenly Father wants us to do, we will be purified and sanctified as we visit the temple more frequently. There, we will be taught in simplicity and purity. We will be able to learn the Lord’s way.
In the words of Elder Cook, “Temples change everything. They change people’s lives, they change the Church, and they will change Durban and South Africa.”