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President Nelson shares story behind temple announcement in India

BENGALURU, India — President Russell M. Nelson traveled to India’s third largest city on his world tour Thursday.

Bengalaru has a population of more than 10-million and is the center of the country’s tech industry.

Today there are more than 13,000 Latter-day Saints throughout the nation in 43 congregations. President Nelson has come to Bengaluru to see them and to consider the site for a new temple.

President Nelson, the leader of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, said he looks forward to a time when there is an actual temple and not just the idea of one.

In a meeting with missionaries, serving throughout India, he said he received inspiration the day before General Conference about a temple here.

“It was a thrill for me to receive the real impression that I should announce that there will be a temple here in India, said President Nelson, “Because this will bless not only the people of India but in neighboring nations, who now have to travel so far.”

Elder Jeffrey R. Holland, traveling with President Nelson expressed his hopes for the new temple.  “What a gift not only to our members but what a gift to this city, what a gift to the nation and that’s what a temple does everywhere we have one.”

Punitha Amalaraj, who became a Latter-day Saint with her husband and two sons ten years ago, remembers the moment she heard the announcement during General Conference.

“The last talk that was given by President Nelson, he announced temples and the word Bengaluru.  And it took nearly five to six minutes for me… he is talking about Bengaluru, India?  Naturally, the tears are flowing.”

Russell M. Nelson, President of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, greets Nadine, Nathalee and their mother Stella Sunderraj after the devotional in Bangaluru, India on Thursday, April 19, 2018. Photo: Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News

President Nelson has traveled to India many times both as a doctor and as an apostle.  Now as church president, he believes it is an important time for this faith in this nation.

“I think it begins in 1966 when I first came to India, I felt something special here,” said Pres. Nelson. “They love God and I love them.”

Punitha Amalaraj said the first gift came with the announcement of a temple here.  The second was President Nelson’s world tour.

“For me, Prophet Nelson visiting India is like his visiting his other fold.  It’s like a resurrection of faith for me.”

She was one of a thousand Latter-day Saints gathered at a downtown hotel for a special member meeting with President Nelson.  It was broadcast throughout the country.

Asha Akula remembers her feelings when she heard about the Global Ministry Tour.

“It is very exciting to know that they’re coming here.  To see the prophet coming here to our land is something overwhelming.”

Gangadhar Muthavathula says it made the Saints here feel special.

“He announced the temple and after announcing the temple, the prophet is coming to India.  That made it more exciting for us.”

Many Latter-day Saints who live in Southern India drove for hours just to be in the presence of a man they revere as the prophet for their special Church member meeting.

President Nelson shared with KSL his message for saints in this area.  “The Gospel of Jesus Christ has only one purpose really, bottom line, and that is to make life better for people and that’s what we’re going to do.”

Saritha William was thrilled to be able to be with him.

“It’s amazing to listen to his words and work them out and prepare ourselves for the coming of the temple.”

Following a meeting, which was broadcast throughout the country, President Nelson said a personal farewell to some of the children.

Mary Sheren was grateful that Saints of all ages were able to hear him.

“It was exciting and thrilling to know that our prophet would be with us in India.  And this is the first time I have ever seen a prophet and listened to him in person,” said Sheren.

Earlier in the day, President Nelson met with more than a hundred missionaries. That meeting too was sent by Skype to others serving missions in New Delhi and Lahore, Pakistan.

Elder Dalton Thomas from Duchesne, Utah, has been serving in India for eleven months and has seen what he calls miracles with the announcement of a temple and the visit of the Prophet.

“We’re just seeing an increase of missionaries.  When I first came, there was 80 or 90, now there’s 133, so the work is increasing.  There’s so much good going on,” said Thomas.

Sister Wendy Nelson says the world tour has simply energized her 93-year-old husband.

“On this trip with him as prophet, with various congregations that will literally take us around the world, that clarity, that boldness, that focus, I’ve watched him become even younger at the pulpit.  I’ve watched the Lord move upon him in A most magnificent way.”

President Nelson and Sister Nelson and Elder Jeffrey R. Holland and Sister Patricia Holland left India early Thursday morning for his next stop in his Global Ministry Tour, Bangkok, Thailand.

KSL 5 TV Live