Although Costa Rica’s official religion is Catholicism, many other other significant religious groups co-exist in the country. Methodists, Lutherans, Episcopalians, Baptists, Protestants, Jews, and Latter-day Saints all have centers of worship in Costa Rica. The Latter-day Saints in fact have one of the country’s biggest and most recognized centers of worship. The LDS church is very new to Costa Rica, having only arrived in the country in the mid 1940s. At this time it was a US ambassador who ran the first meetings out of his home. Missionary trips were popular in Costa Rica by 1946 but most missionaries left during the country’s civil war in 1948.
By 1974 the Costa Rican followers had grown enough that Costa Rica was granted its own mission. Land was purchased in 1977 and when Boyd K Packer dedicated the land for missionary work, membership increased exponentially. Today there are more than 23,000 members of the LDS church in Costa Rica.
The church announced in March of 1999 that they would be building a church in this Latin American country. More than 20,000 people attended the groundbreaking ceremony and site dedication in April of 1999. These two events are just as important as the inauguration of the site. The faith believes that the groundbreaking ceremony is symbolic of the start of a project. It is the strong concrete foundation of the LDS church that is needed to support the walls, beams and roof. The same applies to the church’s spiritual beliefs.
Temple opened to the public on schedule a year later in May of 2000. It was very important for the mission to build as quickly as possible to complete the Lord’s blessing. It gave the people very little time to prepare however.
This Temple is the first in Costa Rica and the second in Central America after Guatemala City’s Guatemala Temple, which was built in 1984. Before the Costa Rican Temple was built, members had to travel to the Guatemala Temple for worship sessions.
The San Jose Temple sits on 1.93 acres in La Riviera de Belen, Heredia very close to the Marriott Hotel. . It is the 87th operational Temple of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in the world. The temple’s exterior is made up of Blanco Guardiano white marble. This material was brought all the way from Torreon, Mexico to decorate this important house of worship. The temple has two ordinance rooms and two sealing.
The temple rest days are Sunday,m Monday and Tuesday. The temple is closed completely Mondays and Tuesdays. Services are held throughout the rest of the week: Wednesday 9am, 11am, 5pm and 7pm; Thursday and Friday 5pm and 7pm; Saturdays 7am, 9am, 11am and 12:30pm. Group visits to the temple should be scheduled by appointment.
If you have free time in Costa Rica, the LDS San Jose Temple is a very important religious institution in the country. Even if you just pass by and enjoy the structure and surrounding gardens, it is a worthwhile touristic stop.