Church News - The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

First temple experience

Published: Saturday, July 20, 2002

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Photo courtesy Europe East Area
Aram and Miriam Matanya attended dedication at meetinghouse in Armenia.

Photo courtesy Europe East Area
Meetinghouse in Plovdiv, Bulgaria, left, received Nauvoo Illinois Temple dedication.

KOMITAS, Armenia — The usually noisy, happy chatter of Armenians was hushed as members congregated at the door of the new Komitas meetinghouse, green tickets in hand, eager to experience their first temple dedication.

For weeks the Armenian saints had prayed that the satellite system would be installed in time to receive the blessing of seeing President Gordon B. Hinckley, and the unique privilege of watching a temple dedication.

Silently they filed in one-by-one, up the stairs to the new chapel where meetings were held for the first time a week before. Excitement filled their faces as many anticipated their first temple experience. After the dedication, they quietly filed out, then burst into enthusiastic descriptions of what they had just seen and felt. They talked with other members of the district who were waiting for their turn to view a session.

Anichka Harutunyan, 70, a new member from the city of Gyumri, said it strengthened her testimony of the prophet, of God, and of Jesus. It was shot luv (very good).

Virab Minasyan, 76, from the village of Artashat and one of the early members of the Church in Armenia, said, "I felt as if I was present at the ceremony — cut off from the world — in the temple in Nauvoo."

Newlyweds Aram and Miriam Matanyan, from the Nzhdeh Branch in Yerevan who recently returned from being sealed in the Stockholm Sweden Temple, reported that it gave them a very good feeling — like being back in the temple again. "There was a very strong feeling of the Spirit there. A wonderful feeling."

— Sister Lynn Gardner, CES Missionary, Armenia Yerevan Mission