President Thomas S. Monson, president of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, rededicated the Laie Hawaii Temple Sunday after an extensive closure for renovation. The Laie Hawaii Temple has been the centerpiece of Latter-day Saint faith in the Hawaiian Islands since its initial dedication in 1919. ( See video story on Newsroom YouTube channel ).
"The beautiful Laie Hawaii Temple ... is the reason for this great celebration," said President Monson at a cultural celebration held Saturday inside the Cannon Activities Center on the campus of Brigham Young University-Hawaii. Two thousand performers danced, sang and presented a visual display of island history and culture.
President Monson was joined by President Henry B. Eyring, first counselor in the First Presidency, Elder Quentin L. Cook of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles and Elder William R. Walker of the First Quorum of the Seventy.
The Laie Hawaii Temple was the fifth operating temple in the world and the first completed outside the state of Utah. The temple serves Church members living in Hawaii and the Marshall Islands.
The temple has been closed for renovations on two previous occasions. This latest closure, which began 29 December 2008, was for extensive remodeling and refurbishing, including structural and mechanical upgrades to strengthen the temple and bring it up to code for disabled patrons.
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The Church has been a beacon to members living in Hawaii since the arrival of its first missionaries in 1850. As membership grew, the Church established BYU-Hawaii to provide higher education to thousands of students from across the Pacific Rim.
Extensive efforts have also been made to both preserve and share the art, language and culture of the Pacific Islands through the Polynesian Cultural Center (PCC).
“There’s no place like it in the world," said David Hennemann, who was the first full-time employee hired by the PCC. "We have the temple, the BYU-Hawaii and the PCC. They all work together. And this has become one magnificent campus. Isn’t that wonderful?”
Said Cy Bridges, “I feel the temple reopening after all this time is absolutely awesome. ... It’s a great landmark. It represents, looking at it, serenity and represents a standard that people believe. They live their lives in a certain way.”
The following broadcast-quality video b-roll is available for news media use:
Voiced video package: Downloadable file (.mov)
Laie Hawaii Temple exterior footage: Downloadable file (.mov)
Cultural Celebration: Downloadable file (.mov)
Remarks by President Thomas S. Monson at Cultural Celebration: Downloadable file (.mov)